Reid and Eagles should pass the ball

By John McMullen  |   Friday, November 14, 2008  |  Comments( 2 )

Philadelphia Eagles
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Even casual observers of the Philadelphia Eagles know that Andy Reid loves the forward pass.

Of course, Reid refuses to admit that to his detractors and himself.

So, I'm here to play Dr. Phil to the embattled Eagles mentor.

There's nothing wrong with loving the passing game. Heck, every rule change in the NFL over the past 20 years has been designed to help make it easier to throw down the field.

Yet, on fourth-and-1 with the game on the line against the Super Bowl champion New York Giants last Sunday, Reid called an unimaginative running play to the undersized Brian Westbrook, who had 13 carries for all of 26 yards in the game.

The rest is history. The G-Men easily snuffed it out, stuffed Westbrook and secured the game.

Needless to say, the armchair quarterbacks were all over Reid on Monday, ripping the coach for everything he was worth.

They bemoaned the team's lack of a conventional fullback.

They pointed out that the team's best run blocker, All-Pro guard Shawn Andrews, was on the sidelines with an injured back and Reid's reluctance to bring in a Brandon Jacobs-like bruiser for short-yardage situations.

But everyone was missing the point; that includes Westbrook, who complained Wednesday about the Birds' lack of a consistent running game.

Most understand it revolves around the team's lack of commitment to running the football. You can't spend the majority of your practice time perfecting the passing game and carrying that over on Sunday, before turning tail at the last minute and wishing you had a power running game.

"We don't always have it, no," Westbrook said of the team's commitment to the running game. "At some points in some games we have it, at some points in other games we don't. I think that there are situations at times when we probably should have more commitment to the run.

"You have to have patience and you have to have belief in it," Westbrook added. "Of course in the running game there is going to be some plays where you're not going to have too much of a gain.

"You might have a couple yards here and there, but then you might have plays where you get 12, 20, 30 yards. You have to be patient, you have to believe it's going to work. You have to have that commitment to it."

That might make some sense when you consider that Westbrook is the Eagles' best offensive player, but running the football is just not Reid's forte.

"Like I said, it starts with the scheme and you make sure that you are doing the right things, and two, the execution," Reid said.

So how about using a scheme you have confidence in and executing that?

Just a thought.
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About John McMullen

John is the managing editor of The Phanatic Magazine, the assistant managing editor of The Sports Network and the co-host of the highly rated 'Johns on Sports' radio show on WTBQ in New York. Every Saturday from 6:30-9 p.m. (et) you can hear John along with his co-host, John Gottlieb, talk to the...
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