Flashback Friday: A Look at the Eagles Rushing Attack Through 8 Games
2 November 2018 Opinion
The Philadelphia Eagles head into the bye week at 4-4, after a big win in London against the free-falling Jacksonville Jaguars. The Eagles lost 3 of their last 4 heading into the London game, and a big part of that was their lack of ability to close out games. The Eagles blew a 17-3 lead against the Tennessee Titans week 4, and a 21-0 lead heading into the 4th quarter week 7 against the Carolina Panthers.
If the Eagles win both or even 1 of those games, the public opinion on this team would be drastically different. Closing out games is something a championship team should do, and this team has struggled with it mightily so far this season. A big reason they have struggled late in games is due to their lack of running attack.
The Eagles are ranked 17th in total rushing offense this season, averaging 106.6 rushing yards per game. The Eagles in 2017 finished 3rd ranked in total rushing, averaging 132.2 yards per game.
The injury to Jay Ajayi might be a bigger loss than people think. Ajayi was a big part of this offense down the stretch last season, and opened up the passing game for Wentz and Foles dramatically. Ajayi also allowed Clement to get more looks in the passing game out of the backfield, keeping the defense on their heels. Corey Clement has simply not been the same player he was late last season, and a big part of that can be attributed to Jay Ajayi’s injury.
In the 4 games the Eagles have lost this season, they have averaged 86.7 rushing yards per game. That would be good for 29th in the NFL. For this team to succeed, they need one of their running backs to step up and take the role Ajayi had last season.
It looks like the Eagles will be relying heavily on Smallwood and Adams to take that role. Adams was running well against the Jaguars, and has that power-back style that Ajayi has. Through 8 weeks, it seems Doug Pederson sees Clement strictly as a 3rd down back, as he has yet to get a look as a workhorse back this season. When Sproles comes back from injury, he will primarily be used as a 3rd down back as well.
It is clear this team needs a steady running game to have success the rest of the season. In the Eagles 4 wins this season, the Eagles average 126.5 yards a carry, good for 10th in the NFL. It is no coincidence that when this team succeeds on the ground, they succeed on the scoreboard. It is time for Doug Pederson to get more creative in the ground game and get the Eagles rushing attack going.