Outside of the NovaCare Complex on Tuesday, a couple of Eagles fans held a non-violent protest that would make Mahatma Gandhi proud:
A man wearing a "ROLL THAT BLOUNT" shirt holds a "RUN THE BALL" sign at the NovaCare Complex.
— SPORTSRADIO 94WIP (@SportsRadioWIP) September 19, 2017
Marijuana and football, that’s what South Philly does.
Inside the NovaCare Complex, Offensive Coordinator Frank Reich answered actual questions about the Eagles’ Sunday play-calling, which he doesn’t do. That’s Doug Pederson’s job. But Reich works on that side of the football, so he was pressed by the Eagles media corps on the hottest topic of the week.
The relevant chunk of Tuesday’s presser is a series of six questions regarding offensive balance.
Were there a number of run calls that Carson Wentz may have checked out of? Or is that just how the game played out?
“No, I think it was just how the game played out. That’s sometimes said. We came out and schemed some things up – I’ll be honest with you – we schemed some things up in the pass game and hit a few things early, a few chunk plays that we felt good about. We tried to keep the mix. Of course, you get late in that game – and I know the ratio was probably a little bit (more passing) than you ideally want – but then you’re down 14 points, so we throw what, 10 or 15 passes straight at the end of the game because we’re down two scores. You have to throw because we’re trying to win. Even if it was a little out of proportion at that point, it ends up looking worse. My experience is, that when you look around the league, it happens every week to at least one or two teams, where they find themselves in the same situation.”
Context: None from me, because Reuben Frank asked a very good follow up:
The pass/run split was 43-13 before they went up 14 points.. Throw out those last two drives, and 43 out of 56 were pass plays. Is that too much?
“I’ll assume you’re right. I remember getting the number at halftime and I think we were 18 to 9, or something like that. We go out and hit a couple of plays in the passing game. All I can tell you is, as a play caller, you’re calling what you think is going to get the team down the field in that situation. So that’s what we were doing.”
Context: I mentioned in a couple of previous stories that they had a few successful runs on the third quarter touchdown drive, then only ran it two times in the final 19 minutes.
When you did run the ball, how do you think you did?
“There were some good things in the run game. We had a few nice runs. Darren (Sproles) is Darren. He made some plays and the offensive line did a good job at times. So yeah, there were some good flashes.”
Context: Sproles was good. The other three backs were nonexistent.
As far as the ratio goes, do you have to keep running to (stay offensively balanced) and keep Carson upright for 16 games?
“Yea, I think every play caller and offensive coaching staff goes in and says, ‘we have to be patient with the running game.’ Every staff says that you have to be patient with the running the game. But like I’ve said, and this is the best analogy I can come up with, but it’s like a boxing match. You get hit a few times, you’re in the middle of a fight, you’re trying to win the fight. you’re dialing up what you think is the knockout blow or the play you think provides the best chance for success. Is there a balance? Do you want to keep calling runs even when they don’t always work? (pauses) Yes, but it has an asterisk next to it. The overriding factor as the play caller is that you’re doing what you think is best for the team to win the game.”
Context: Kansas City was patient with the running game. Kareem Hunt hadn’t done much of anything before breaking off that 53 yard score.
Doug said that he’s in communication with people upstairs regarding run/pass ratio during the game. Is that you, and how do those communications go on Sunday?
“The people upstairs, I talk to the people upstairs for the most part as far as that kind of thing. Coach, he’s worried about calling the game and thinking about that, and managing the defensive side a bit and listening to what’s going on over there. I’m gathering information in between each series and then from up top, and then I’ll talk to (offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland) on the sidelines as far as the run game, hear what he’s talking about with his guys with the offensive line, I’ll talk to (wide receivers coach) Mike Groh on the pass game. What are the receivers saying? Is there one corner (we can target)? Are we feeling anything down low, that hands-on approach? We have a thorough process that we go through after each series where I’m talking to the offensive line coach, the receiver coach, the guys upstairs for stats. It’s my responsibility to filter that information and give coach what I feel is necessary for the next drive.”
Would that include the pass/run ratio? (follow up question)
“It would. We have that conversation all the time. Sometimes the conversation is a specific number. Sometimes the conversation is, ‘hey, here’s our runs for the next series.’ It varies every time.”
Context: Here’s video of the prior quote for nuance: