The offensive coordinator’s decision-making has come under heavy fire following a 27-6 loss in Arizona, in which he called 25 passes to five runs in the first half. Mornhinweg conceded that he would have approached the game a little differently if he could do it over again. But he also took up for himself, and believes the heavy imbalance in the run-pass ratio was somewhat justified.
“It’s not out of whack for us,” said Mornhinweg. “It was kind of a different game there and you kind of get into those if you don’t have many plays. And many of your plays were in a two-minute situation, so the numbers get out of whack a little bit. I believe we’re right where I kind of like to be overall — 62 percent pass overall [on the season]. I think we’re somewhere around 50-52 percent on first down run or pass. Overall it’s pretty good. I know on paper — because that’s the first thing I did, ‘Holy smokes!’ — it looks really odd. But if you go through the situational part of it, it balances out just a little bit.”
Those looking for a humbled Mornhinweg vowing to change his ways are out of luck. This is an offense that is going to attack, and attack primarily with the passing game.
“We are going to be aggressive. And I want them to be aggressive. And I want them to play without fear of a mistake. And if you make a mistake, we find a solution, we correct it and we move on fast,” said Mornhinweg. “And once you get that thing motoring pretty good — and I think we’re closer than it appears — then you’re in pretty good shape, both run and pass.”
Michael Vick, playing behind a patchwork offensive line, dropped back 46 times against Arizona, while LeSean McCoy received just 13 carries. As Mornhinweg correctly noted, part of that is a result of trying to play catch-up in the second half. (The other side of that, of course, is they were playing catch-up partly because of the imbalance.) This offensive approach is to get the lead through the air and protect it on the ground. No lead, then likely no heavy dose of McCoy. The numbers aren’t going to balance out a lot of the time in this offense. It is not something Mornhinweg appears to lose sleep over.
“Normally, many of your runs come in the second half when you are close, or even or you’re up with us. Most of the time, not all the time. Philosophically, I don’t care as much about balance in any particular game,” he said. “If we have to run the ball 50 times in a game that’s what we’ll do. If we need to pass the ball 50 times in any particular game, that’s what we’ll do. Now, if you take the whole season then you’d rather be somewhere around 60-40. It’s usually a little bit higher, it’s usually 60-65 percent passing.”