The Value of Changes

Posted: June 11th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 2 Comments »

I was watching an old Eagles game and saw an amazing stat. The team once went 31 games without scoring a first possession TD. That streak covered the final 12 games of 1992, all of 1993 and the first three games of 1994. Not one TD on an opening drive.


The Eagles offense was second in the league in first quarter points in 2017. They fell all the way to 31st in 2018. Last year they climbed up to 20th, hardly a strong figure.

When Rich Kotite was running the show in the early 90’s, the Eagles kept the same skill players, had basically the same OL and had the same coaching staff. I guess Kotite figured the problem would magically solve itself.

Doug Pederson saw the drop from 2017 to 2018. That didn’t lead to major changes. One year can be an anomaly and injuries did affect the team in 2018. When there were still issues in 2019, Pederson decided to take action.

Pederson came under criticism for his handling of the coaching situation (No changes…I mean several changes). Pederson drew flak for not hiring someone with the specific title of offensive coordinator. People weren’t thrilled with how the hiring search happened or how fast it happened.

The real key there is that Pederson was willing to change. He’s got a Super Bowl win on his resume. He’s considered a good offensive mind and innovative coach. Pederson could have tried to fix the situation on his own. Instead, he swallowed his pride and went looking for some outside help.

Pederson knew he had a good playbook and solid staff. He also knew that football is constanly evolving. You can’t dig your heels in and act like you’ve got all the answers. You must seek new ideas.

The Eagles hired Rich Scangarello, Andrew Breiner and Marty Mornhinweg to bring in new ideas. They are getting some Kyle Shanahan ideas from Scangarello. Breiner will bring a college outlook to things. Mornhinweg is a West Coast Offense guru and knows the pro passing game. He also spent time with the Ravens and saw their creative running attack.

I’m sure there will be an emphasis on first quarter points. The Eagles had a great formula in 2017, scoring early and playing with the lead as much as possible. That hasn’t happened enough over the past two years.

We’ll have to wait and see if the ideas work, but it is a good sign that Pederson acknowledges the issue and is willing to take action. Not all coaches do that.

Mike McCarthy let his offense get stale the last few years he was in Green Bay. He relied on the magic of Aaron Rodgers for things to work. Seattle is still built around the running game, despite the fact they have a great QB and do not have a great RB. That almost seems like criminal negligence. Good coaches make adjustments. They make changes.

Schematic changes can only do so much. You need the right players. Pederson and the Eagles made sure to add offensive talent this offseason. There is a lot more speed at receiver and that should make a difference. Jalen Hurts could give them a gadget player to mix in at times. The team is still considering adding a veteran RB to the mix.

It really will be interesting to see what all of this means in reality. Do the Eagles score more points early in games? Do they get more big plays? Does the offense move back toward the top of the league?

So how did the 1994 Eagles end that long, miserable streak? Rookie Charlie Garner made his NFL debut and ran for a TD on the opening drive. Speed and quickness to the rescue.


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