Everyone knows all about the struggles the Eagles have had converting in the red zone. They have been an ongoing problem and something the Birds have tried to improve since Training Camp. I’m sure it’s something every team practices on a weekly basis, and although it might not seem that way I’m sure the Eagles practice it regularly as well. I don’t follow any other team as closely as the Eagles, but it should be easy to say that they have the most explosive offense around that consistently struggles when they get in the red zone. Part of this is due to their short yardage woes, but a lot of it continues to be based on poor play calling. For how long we’ve had these problems, you really have to ask when will the Eagles finally figure it out?
You’re supposed to learn from your failures, right? This doesn’t appear to be the fact for the Eagles offense. On three separate occasions last week, the offense had to settle for field goals within 25 yards. This is like driving all the way down the field and kicking an extra point. David Akers could throw the ball through the uprights from where he was forced to kick last week. It’s pathetic. We saw the Eagles fail on three consecutive occasions from the one yard line to get six points. First down they run it and get stuffed. That’s the right play call, you just have to execute better. Next, we try a little roll out and fail miserably. Did it look like anyone on the field was surprised? Absolutely not. You bring Eldra Buckley into the backfield on third down to have a go. This guy hasn’t seen the field on offense the entire year, of course he’s going to try and get the ball to bust in. So predictable.
So who do we blame here? It has to be the play calling. I think just about anybody watching the game at home knew what the play was going to be when the Birds approached the line. You finally have a legitimate option at fullback, why not let him pound it three times from a yard out? Use the big boys up front. If they can’t push the defense back one yard to allow Leonard Weaver to get in, they don’t deserve to call themselves an offensive line. Want someone in front of the runner to provide an extra push? Line up an extra guard at full back and let him crash the line in front of Weaver. How can you not pick up one yard in three tries? This should take one attempt, two at the maximum. Why do we try to get cute?
Weaver was asked after the game if he thought he could pick up that yard given three attempts. His answer? “Yea.” No kidding. C’mon Andy, give the big guy the rock. We’re not dealing with a Tony Hunt fullback here, we’ve got a real fullback now. How many touchdowns did Mike Alstott pound in from the one yard line? It works, give it a try.
Another thing I’d like to see the Eagles try when in the red zone is using Michael Vick. Sure I’ve complained recently about how Vick is used it games but I think the main reason he’s so ineffective is because of the situations he’s given the ball. He had a chance for a big play in the only snap he saw last week on a bad drop by DeSean but the Eagles picked him up for his legs. I’d like to see the Eagles spread the field and use Vick when they get just inside the 20 or have a long first and goal. This is where I think he could make a play or two. Maybe I’m wrong, but with the failures we’re having right now I don’t see why you don’t give it a try.
All I know is that these current red zone failures are very frustrating, so figure it out Andy.