Staley: ‘We Won’t Have Any Problems’

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

The members of the original three-headed monster had to swallow their pride. Playing for a pass-happy coach like Andy Reid, carries were hard to come by anyway. Now they were being asked to divide those limited touches three ways. Correll Buckhalter led the team with 126 rushing attempts (only 7.8 carries per game) in 2003. Brian Westbrook got 117 carries. Duce Staley toted the ball just 96 times.

More than a decade later, Chip Kelly has assembled his own talented three-man group. The question is worth asking: are there enough carries to go around?
Read more »

Wake-Up Call: How Will Eagles Split Up Carries?

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Today’s question comes via Twitter:

For the purpose of this exercise, let’s assume that you mean carries, not touches.

Chip Kelly has said he felt the run game relied too heavily on LeSean McCoy the past two seasons. Last year, Eagles running backs totaled 415 carries, and 312 of those (75.2 percent) were McCoy. Only DeMarco Murray (392) had more carries than McCoy in 2014.

In 2013, McCoy had 314 of the 400 carries by Eagles running backs, or 78.5 percent.

Obviously, when you sign two guys like Murray and Ryan Mathews, you expect to spread the carries around a little more, but I don’t see this as anything close to an equal time share. Read more »

Duce: We’re Getting Back To Running the Ball

DeMarco Murray.

DeMarco Murray.

Duce Staley has seen a three-pronged rushing attack work before.

In 2003, he, Correll Buckhalter and Brian Westbrook combined for 1,618 yards, but no back had more than 126 carries. The Eagles ranked third in rushing DVOA that season and finished with a 12-4 record.

Now Staley, the Eagles running backs coach, will be in charge of spreading the carries around among DeMarco MurrayRyan Mathews and Darren Sproles.

“Yeah, it’s similar,” Staley said Wednesday afternoon. “When you look at ‘em, when you go back and check the pedigree of these three, these guys are all proven. These guys have definitely been successful throughout their career. So we brought ‘em all here, one big pot of gumbo. And I think we plan on running the ball.” Read more »

Matthews To Watt: ‘Why You On A Knee, 99?’

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

NFL Films has released field-level footage from the Eagles’ win over the Texans.

It’s not embeddable, so click here for the link.

Among the highlights:

* Running backs coach Duce Staley sending a message to LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles late in the game.

“We’re gonna finish this game pounding the [expletive] out of the ball,” Staley said. “That’s how we’re gonna finish the game. Alright?” Read more »

McCoy On Being Pulled: ‘I Wasn’t Pissed About It’

Photo Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Three days after the Eagles notched their fourth victory of the season, some in the city are still wondering why LeSean McCoy was on the sideline when the offense was trying to ice the game against the Rams.

Today, the Birds’ starting running back tried to set the record straight.

“What happened was after the game, they asked me do I take myself out when Darren [Sproles] comes in the game, yeah,” McCoy said. “The majority of the times, I take myself, I’m tired, I come out. Sproles can take over and do his thing, and we’re confident in him to do that. But the last drive, [running backs coach] Duce [Staley] pulled me out.” Read more »

Inside Zone: The Foundation Of the Eagles’ Offense

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Before the drill begins, Jeff Stoutland shouts out a two-digit number, signaling the call to his offensive linemen.

He sets up a couple yards behind the line of scrimmage as Jason Kelce prepares to snap the ball, flanked by guards Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans. With 16 offensive linemen in camp, Stoutland is in charge of the largest positional group on the roster. But that can be a good thing on days like this. Before it’s their turn for reps, a couple backups hold orange blocking pads and set up as down defensive linemen. Two more stand behind them imitating linebackers.

It’s an 81-degree day in early June, and the Eagles are on the practice fields at the NovaCare Complex working on the blocking scheme for a familiar call: the inside zone. It’s a play Stoutland ran frequently at his previous stop, Alabama. And it was Chip Kelly’s go-to-work play during his time at Oregon.

When Kelly made the jump to the NFL last year, the inside zone served as the foundation for an offense that set franchise records in yards and points. So there’s a good reason why Stoutland yells the same number for the same call over and over again during practice. The pre-snap communication has to be mastered. The footwork has to be flawless. The combination blocks have to be executed. And the second-level linebackers have to be driven down the field with authority.

“It’s something we work on every day,” said offensive tackle Lane Johnson. “It’s always gonna be our bread and butter.” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Fewer Touches For McCoy?

USATSI_mccoy-eagles-cowboys_940x540

The usage numbers for LeSean McCoy from the 2013 season are eye-popping.

The Eagles’ running back played 873 snaps, second-most among all ball-carriers behind only Chicago’s Matt Forte. McCoy’s 314 carries were tops in the NFL, as were his 366 touches.

Yet there were no real signs that the heavy workload slowed him down in the short-term. McCoy carried the Eagles down the stretch, piling up 519 yards and averaging 6.3 YPC in the team’s final four regular season games. In fourth quarters, he led the NFL with 441 yards and averaged 6.0 YPC (fifth-best), according to STATS, Inc. Read more »

The Matchup: Eagles Vs. Raiders

mccoy_400102713Editor’s Note: This feature will post every Friday. We’ll bring you nuggets from the locker room, scouting reports on the upcoming game, reader e-mail and more.

***

LeSean McCoy took heavy breaths in between sentences, his forehead glistening with sweat from extra conditioning work after practice.

On the surface, everything is good for the 25-year-old running back. At the halfway point of the season, he’s the NFL’s leading rusher (733 yards). He’s carrying the ball more than ever (19.5 times per game). And he’s averaging a healthy 4.7 yards per carry.

Yet McCoy is in the midst of a mental tug of war in his fifth NFL season. In the past four games, he’s averaging 3.4 yards per carry. The Eagles’ offense has scored just three points the last two weeks, failing to hit on explosive plays and finding difficulty in sustaining drives.

“Just more attention to really try and contain the backs, keep everything in front of them,” McCoy said when asked this week about opposing defenses. “The backers are way more into the line than usual. And everything just seems so cluttered, seems so packed. That’s probably the biggest difference I’ve noticed. Even on some of the fakes, if it’s a half-fake or an average fake, they’re all on it. So that’s probably the biggest difference I’ve noticed from just early in the season to the last couple weeks.”

Defenses game-plan for the Eagles and make No. 25 their first priority. With a shaky QB situation and one true dangerous threat in the passing game in DeSean Jackson, it’s really a no-brainer. But that has led to tough times for McCoy, who has been critical of himself after each of the last two games. Read more »

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