Eagles Wake-Up Call: Mornhinweg Adjusts Offense For Foles

Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.When asked if he’s consciously changed the play-calling to protect Nick Foles, Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg did not hesitate with his response.

“Absolutely. There’s no question about that,” he said.

Against the Cowboys, the Eagles turned in one of their best offensive performances of the season, coming away with points on six of 10 possessions. Foles dropped back to pass 35 times and handed it off 26 times for a 57 percent/43 percent split.

Of course, many of the same adjustments were made earlier in the season when Michael Vick was at quarterback. After the disastrous performance against the Cardinals, Mornhinweg and Andy Reid seemed to realize that the high-flying, big-play offense from past years would be unsustainable with this offensive line.

“Well, we’ve been able to run the ball pretty well,” said guard Evan Mathis. “I think that’s what helps make that balance is being able to run the ball.”

He’s absolutely right.

The methodical approach hasn’t worked for much of the season for a variety of reasons. Turnovers are probably the biggest one. But the inability to effectively run the ball on a consistent basis is another. LeSean McCoy averaged 3.3 yards per carry in a loss to the Steelers; 1.6 yards per carry against the Lions; and 2.8 yards per carry against the Falcons. He often had nowhere to go and was dodging defenders at or behind the line of scrimmage.

McCoy found more success against New Orleans (6.3 YPC) and Dallas (5.1 YPC). And as we pointed out with the All-22 earlier this week, right now, the Eagles’ offensive line is really doing a good job creating room for Bryce Brown.

“The easiest way not to put pressure on the quarterback is to stay out of 3rd-and-long, stay out of 2nd-and-long,” said right guard Jake Scott. “If you run the ball on first down, you get to 2nd-and-5, 3rd-and-5, 3rd-and-shorts. Those are easier plays for a quarterback. That’s our job is to help get him to those easy third-down conversions. Situations where you pass because you want to, not because you have to.”

The Eagles’ running game faces a huge test Sunday against Tampa. The Bucs are ranked second against the run, per Football Outsiders, allowing opponents to gain just 3.4 yards per carry (first).


In his latest mailbag, T-Mac talks Howie RosemanGeno Smith and Michael Vick.

Could Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski be a sleeper coaching candidate for the Eagles?

Todd Bowles said Jim Washburn was never a problem for him.

An All-22 look at Foles’ performance vs. Dallas.

Greg Schiano inadvertently answered a question about Chip Kelly’s chances for success in the NFL.


Mathis broke down specific plays from the Dallas game with Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus:

As you can see from the image, Mathis got himself into perfect position, and then had the power to drive his man off the line of scrimmage and eventually right to the ground and out of the play. “It’s fun when the block is dominating enough to take a guy to the ground. It’s not as fun when the defender trips and falls while you’re blocking him. This first play above, I don’t take credit for him going to the ground because he tripped on my left tackle’s long, giraffe legs.” Though he may not get full credit for the pancake on the play, everything else about this block is exactly as it is drawn up, ensuring that a player who had a real chance of shutting down that run was neutralized.

SI.com’s Don Banks has the Eagles 29th in his power rankings:

Seems pretty obvious at this point that Andy Reid knows he fired the wrong defensive coach back in October. Juan Castillo wasn’t the problem. But perhaps the class-less Jim Washburn was. Good riddance to that guy’s weak act.

And finally, Emily Leaman over at Be Well Philly has a suggestion for the Eagles’ pre-game routine. You’re going to want to see what she has to say here.


We’ll hear from Andy Reid one last time before Sunday’s matchup.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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  • 1972

    Why does it always take a disaster for these coaches to make changes?And the tampa bay stat against the run is the reason why this regime needs to change. because their excuse will be: Well they were a top team against the run so we thought we could make some plays in the passing game.. WRONG!!! how about putting what u do best up against what they do best and see how it turns out..Running has been what we do best offensively so i dont care about what the bucs do. But they dont see it that way so, get em outta here

    • johngiam

      Wrong! typically the problem with this regime is that they go at opponent strengths instread of attacking there weaknesses…specifically when opponents are week against the run, and we go on to pass 50 times. its going to be an intersting dynami to see how they call this game, being that they are weak against the pass. traditionally, that has meant 50 throws for the qb…hopefully, the find a way to maintain balance attack

      • 1972

        My apologies for the all caps its way too early in the morning for that lol.. anyway, they do both john, if a team has a good run d and bad pass d they pass, and if the d has a bad run d and good pass d they pass.So it doesnt really matter. Usually they pass heavy regardless of the defenses strentghs. thats the problem

        • JOHNgIAM

          soo TRUE! basically what I wrote goes out the window for this game…but take for instance the Cleveland game..it drove me insane. They have a decent pass D, and are horrific against the run. Vick hadent played in weeks, so what do we do..throw the friggin ball 600 times and barely squeek out a win. SO FRUSTRATING! how about the Lions game or 1st dallas game, both those games there was a cornerback on the field that couldnt STOP ANYONE…how did we not attack that pigeon cornerback 20 friggin times? Too much fighting against the grain…to much trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. I just want some friggin common sense from my coaching staff…You know, not always out smarting ourselves! sometimes you have to stop trying to be cute, and just lineup and punch someone in the mouth!
          WHATS SAD IS, that obviously Marty is capable of calling a decent game. Not once this season did he call a game like this for Vick…as soon as they are stopped on 2 run plays, the conveniently abandon it. Im so tired of trhis style of cute, gimicky football!

          • johngiam

            no worries 1972. I appreciate a good respectful debate around here. To many people cant get into a respectful debate without attacking each other. Im always down for a respectful exchange of ideas…

  • Kimbafuzz

    Is Jake Scott really the difference maker in the running game? I see the holes that Bryce has to run through, and I know Shady *HAS* to be envious, even if he is happy for “the kid”. And while the Eagles definitely adjusted the game plan offensively after the Cardinals disaster, this level commitment to the run was not evident before Vick and Shady were knocked out.

    • 1972

      well said Kimbafuzz

      • JohnGiam

        so true… shady woulda had a career year, had the line blocked like this, and marty actually not abandon the run midway thru the opening drive….I just hope we invest heavily in the defense in this draft. even the greatest offenses will struggle at times. a great defense that will keep you in every single game is what wins championships. Cant wait for this month to be over so we can actually start getting some real Intel about the direction of the franchise. Right now, we are all just blindly speculating. The saddest thing I ever saw, was our season being dead before november! months of meaningless football. I hope to never see this again…Cant wait til the season is over, and we finally learn who the real coaching candidates are… I just wanna know are we gonna keep the 4-3, or switch to the 3-4… blind speculating is getting annoying! wish this damn season would just end, and I really pray that we dont win another game. Just kep seeing improvement from Foles and Bryce and the young lineman…while our secondary keeps blowing games! Thats my IDEAL scenario for the remainder of the season. If we get another FOOLS GOLD win, Im going to be Furious!

  • Andy

    Great stuff in the PFF Mathis piece. Thanks for the link. Danny Watkins should move in with Mathis to learn as much as he possibly can.

    • JohnGiam

      look, watkins has been horrific! but we also need to keep in mind, that this cockamamie blocking scheme that the grumpy old man brought in, is really unorthodox and drastically different then anything watkins has ever had to do before. It doesnt help that he despises MUDD either. who knows, maybe a new coach brings in a traditional blocking scheme and watkins flourishes! Long shot, but not impossible!

  • T

    I think Mathis and Scott (like Kelce, Herremans, and Peters) are just smart, which leads to good, confident decision-making. Watkins doesn’t seem to have that (neither do Kelly, Dunlap, or Bell). What do you expect from a guy who’s only been playing football a few years.

    • daggolden

      Dunlap has done just fine. He is playing well. You have to remember he is gonna get beat some times. He is usually going up against the other teams best player. They get paid to.

      • The Guru

        King Dunlap has absolutely 100% NOT been fine. The fact that you think that proves I was right in my assessment you just don’t know football.

        • daggolden

          Ah i see your riding my jock again. Let me explain this to you slowly. Dunlap is backup LT. Dunlap faces best pass rushers every week. The last 2 weeks your offensive line has opened holes for Brown and given Foles good protection. So Dunlap is included in that. He is a Backup not Jason Peters. WTF do you want from him. Demarcus Ware gets sacks vs everyone genius.

          • The Guru

            I see you’re still spouting diarrhea. He is quite possibly the worst LT in the league right now. It’s completely irrelevant who he’s facing. He won’t be in the league in 2 years. But “he’s done just fine”….moron.

  • daggolden

    Those comments alone should have Marty fired immediately. You see a struggling oline, you see a struggling Vick and you dont change the game plan for Vick? Are you kidding me? You mean you could of used this game plan 6 weeks ago but chose to drop your QB back 50 times a game with a pathetic offensive line? Wow.

    • The Guru

      It wouldn’t matter. Vick has shown he can’t win in a run based offense or a pass based offense.

      • Capt. Undapants

        It is not a true thread until Matt Jacobs finds a way throw Vick under the bus.

      • aub32

        What the hell did Vick run in ATL when he got to the playoffs consistently. They were nicknamed DVD based off the 2 RBs and Vick. I swear you just have it out for Vick.

        • The Guru

          Just trying to educate people that he is an absolute fraud and a terrible QB. Remind me, how many rings did they win with the DVD offense?

          • aub32

            You said he couldn’t win in a running offense. When in fact he got to an NFC Championship game in a running offense. No he did not win a ring, but he certainly won games. Dan Marino never won a ring either. Am I to surmise that you think he was a failure at the position. MM quotes clearly show how Vick was not “put into a position to succeed”. Vick’s flaws are real and known by fans and coaches alike. He has a cannon for an arm, still very mobile, below average at pre-snap reads, and can sometimes be inaccurate. However, he can still win games in this league is a better option, in the right offense, than anyone who will be available this offseason, barring some crazy and unexpected release.

          • ” Vick’s flaws are real and known by fans and coaches alike. He has a
            cannon for an arm, still very mobile, below average at pre-snap reads,
            and can sometimes be inaccurate.”

            Exactly…so if WE all know this – who thinks it’s a good idea to have him air it out 40/50 times a game. Who wouldn’t see the BEST thing to do is to establish a solid running game to open up the pass, make defenses honest AND open up the down field throws letting Vick use his cannon of an arm.

            Marino was a great QB and he doesn’t have a ring. Farve leads the league in interceptions and has one. And let’s not forget about the Dilfer’s and Eli’s of the world. So can we please stop with who can and can’t win an SB. If folk play to the strengths of the players they have a team can be successful a fact MM and Reid routinely forget this.

          • The Guru

            Three coaches tried….and failed. Could it be that Vick just flat out sucks?

          • The Guru

            In a WEAK NFC, he got the NFC title game once. Know how many playoff games he’s won in his career? Two. Three coaches fired too. He is and never has been an answer at QB. I don’t understand why people think he’s this great player. He had one 7 game stretch in 10 yrs. Now he’s slightly better than Mark Sanchez.

            Dan Marino had every passing record by a QB at one time. When Vick has ANY passing record, let me know.

          • Vick holds several records. Last I check passing records aren’t the only records for Qbs

          • The Guru

            Rushing records? Bahaha That’s like stolen bases for Ryan Howard. 47 Super Bowls….47 non rushing QB winners. BOOM

          • aub32

            “In a WEAK NFC” Your points are getting more and more ridiculous. The Bucs who were in his division won the SB the year before he made the NFC title game. To compare him to Sanchez is ridiculous. Sanchez won based off a great defense. Everyone knows that. Vick carried his teams. I do not think he is the best QB in the game or even amongst the best. However, in 2013 he looks like the best option at this moment. Maybe Foles will prove me wrong, and if so I am on board.

          • The Guru

            Sanchez has been to two titles games….in half the time. Facts can’t be ridiculous genius

  • daggolden

    Tampa is #1 vs the run because nobody chooses to run against them. Thier pass defense is that bad. Thats the real reason. Marty should keep the same damn game plan he had vs Dallas.

  • 85

    I can only imagine the “WTF” text messages Vick and Shady are sending each other while watching Marty’s play-calling lately.

    “Look at all those guys blocking!”

    “Dude has 18 carries… it’s only the 3rd quarter.”

    “Why doesn’t he have to throw 80-yard TDs?”

    “This Jake guy… where the hell was he all year?”

    • Sensei

      You have just made my day

    • UncleCarm

      Best comment all year.

    • TPZ


  • EaglefaninAZ

    Apparently, Jake Scott should be our next head coach. :-)