HomeDa Birds NewsEagles Fans Rally Outside Facility, Urging Coaching Staff to Run the Ball

Eagles Fans Rally Outside Facility, Urging Coaching Staff to Run the Ball

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PHILADELPHIA – Whenever things go wrong in Eagles land, many fans and some media believe three magic words can fix things on offense.

Those words – run the ball.

A small group of fans lined up outside the Philadelphia Eagles’ South Philly training complex shortly after the sun came up on Wednesday morning holding a sign saying that very thing.

Head coach Nick Sirianni joked later that the team served them coffee.

“I love our fans,” he said. “I love their passion and their energy. It’s not the first time I’ve heard run the ball. And we do need to continue to try to run the ball … I appreciate their energy, because I know that same energy from those guys sitting out there this morning when I drove in, they’re going to have that same energy when they’re cheering us on.”

Once such as much a Philly staple as Rocky Balboa, running the ball has become a bit of a slog for this team.

Eagles Fans Request to “Run the Ball” So Nick Gave Them Coffee

It’s really not a case of running the ball versus fixing the running game.

It’s obvious Jalen Hurts isn’t running as effectively as he did last year, when the Eagles were fifth in the league in rushing, averaging 147.6 yards per game, and scoring a team-record 32 rushing touchdowns, led by Hurts 13 and Miles Sanders’ 11.

Hurts has been slowed by a knee contusion and is intent on playing all 17 games this year and developing more as a pocket passer.

Fans sending a message to Philadelphia Eagles – “run the ball” – outside the team’s South Philly complex on Wednesday morning.Contributed photo

Without him as the so-called “plus-one” in the run game, running backs haven’t found as much open space to roam before being contacted by the defense.

After being ranked first in the league in running the ball for the first four weeks of the season, the Eagles hit a lull. Some of that lull had to do with right guard Cam Jurgens going on injured reserve for five weeks, during which time the Eagles used Sua Opeta and Tyler Steen at that spot.

Jurgens will play his fourth straight game since returning when the Eagles visit the Dallas Cowboys in a Sunday night primetime game.

The run game appeared to be getting healthy again the past three weeks when it ran 33 times for 109 yards against the Cowboys, 114 on 27 runs versus the Kansas City Chiefs, and 185 on 32 rushes in the overtime triumph over the Buffalo Bills.

The yards per carry steadily increased in that three-game run, going from 3.3 yards per rush vs Dallas to 4.2 in KC, to 5.7 in the overtime win against Buffalo.

The run game, however, was nonexistent in Sunday’s 42-19 demolition at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers. There were just nine total carries for the running backs in that game and Kenny Gainwell played more snaps (39) than D’Andre Swift’s total of 30.

Granted, the Eagles fell behind 28-13 in the third quarter and then 35-13 in the fourth quarter, where, disregarding two QB scrambles, they ran only once, and that was a tush push from Marcus Mariota.

“The circumstances of the game started changing that,” said Kelce when asked about the run game following Sunday’s loss.

The Eagles led 6-0, but even on those two opening-scoring drives, they ran the ball just four times each and not with much success.

“If you don’t have success running the ball, the play caller isn’t going to keep doing something that’s not working,” said Kelce. “I think that’s very understandable. I think we were doing some good things in the pass game at times. The first two drives, Jalen and the receivers moved the ball really well down the field.

“I think obviously they felt confident continuing to do that. For the most part, I thought it wasn’t consistent, but they made some plays and allowed for some efficiency offensively. Whenever you end up one dimensional, a lot of it ends up being you’re not having success in that area then also the situation on what’s unfolding throughout the game dictates that as well.”

Still, the Eagles are averaging less than 21 yards per game than they did last year at 126.0, which puts them eighth in the league.

“We know we have to establish the run game and we have to be better in the run game,” said head coach Nick Sirianni. “We just have things where … there were a couple times where we got behind the sticks. Doesn’t mean you still can’t run in that situation.

“But we have to be better as coaches devoting ourselves to the run game to take pressure off everybody. So, yeah, as we looked at it (Sunday), there is no doubt that we have to do that.”

Offensive coordinator Brian Johnson said as much on Tuesday when asked about the run game.

“It always starts with being able to run the ball efficiently and effectively,” he said. “We’ve got to continue to do a better job at that. Part of it, too, is just finding that balance of patience, you know what I’m saying? Of just being able to continue to hammer attempts and try to get the guys in a good rhythm and a good flow.”’

Related: Eagles ‘Gotta Put on Big-Boy Pants’ as Cowboys, Tough Road Trip Loom

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