Discussing play-calling as a fan is a really tricky thing to do. I hate criticising play-calling because normally you just judge the play by its result. If the Seahawks pass was complete for a TD in the Super Bowl, no one would have questioned the call. It would have still been a stupid play-call though even if it was complete in my opinion.
So when discussing Chip’s play-calling I’m going to try and not just say: good play = good call and bad play = bad call. In fact I’m not interested in looking at what particular play Chip called, I’m focusing on simply whether it was a pass or run.
Watching the game back this morning I became frustrated with some of Chip’s calls. Below I will go through each of the Eagles drives in the first 3 quarters of the Bucs game and see if anything stands out.
One reason why I have a problem with Chip’s play-calling is I do not understand what we are doing with Murray. We didn’t pay him a ton of money because he’s a very talented back, we signed him because he’s a workhorse back and he can take a lot of carries.
So you’d think, considering Mark Sanchez is at QB and we have terrible receivers, Chip would try and pound the ball with his big money running back and mix in Sproles and Barner. Here’s what happened:
1st drive – Touchdown. Such a nice drive and a good mix of passing plays and runs. The Eagles had 5 passing plays and 5 running plays, no complaints here.
2nd drive – Punt. Murray starts the drive with a 2 yard run followed by a 16 yard run. The next play was another run but this time with Barner who picked up 5 yards. The next two plays – incomplete pass, incomplete pass.
So after Murray picked up 18 yards on the first 2 plays, he doesn’t get another carry? Another thing, with the Eagles 2nd down play, they went to a 5WR set. Surely after 2 good runs in a row, you’d use play-action if you’re going to throw it?
3rd drive – 3 & out. Murray 4 yard run, incomplete pass, incomplete pass. I think Chip needs to remember that Sanchez is his quarterback.
4th drive – 3 & out. Pass for 1 yard, Sproles runs for 2 yards then incomplete pass. No carries for Murray despite him looking good early on. How is the guy supposed to get into a rhythm?
5th drive – 3 & out. Pass for -1 yards, Murray 0 yard gain, incomplete pass. Murray finally gets a carry!
6th drive – Touchdown. Murray runs for 4 yards, then runs for 5 yards, then for 10 yards. Then Barner runs for 4 yards, Sproles runs for 3 yards. On 3rd and short, screen pass to Sproles that goes for a long touchdown.
Wow, running with Murray 3 times in a row actually worked?! We ran 5 plays in a row too. Why were we not doing this more? We were running the ball pretty well all game but Chip just wasn’t pounding it despite having Sanchez as his QB. Murray’s first carry for 4 yards was hardly spectacular but we kept pounding it still.
7th drive – Doesn’t really count as it was the end of the half. Moving on.
8th drive – Punt. Murray runs for 1 yard, pass for -1, pass for 18 yards on third down to Cooper. Sproles runs for 7 yards, pass for 6 yards. Sproles for 0 yards on a run, incomplete pass, incomplete pass.
I’ll stop looking at the drives now as the 4th quarter doesn’t really count, the game was over by that point.
It’s quite obvious that if we run the ball on first down and it isn’t successful, Chip doesn’t stick with it. I’d like to see him stick to the running game and commit to it. Especially when the receivers aren’t good and Sanchez is at QB. You will always have bad running plays, not everyone will go for 5+ yards.
So let’s break it all down. Here’s how the first 7 drives (not including the 7th as it was near half time) went:
On two drives the Eagles ran the ball more than they passed. On those two drives, they scored 1 touchdown and punted once.
On 1 drive the Eagles ran as many times as they passed, that drive resulted in a touchdown.
On the other 4 drives, the Eagles threw the ball more times than they ran. The result? 4 punts. Anyone else seeing a trend?
I really hope Chip sticks to the running game Thursday. If it isn’t working and you keep trying it but it still doesn’t work then you’ll have to change. I really think the Eagles should have ran the ball more against the Bucs.