Donovan McNabb joined the Farzetta & Tra morning show today as he does every Monday following a game during the football season & Donovan hit on a theme he touched on last week with the guys, establishing the run game early on in hopes of opening up the passing attack.
Donovan mentioned last week that starting the Week 1 game vs. Washington in an empty backfield was something he didn’t agree with because he feels as though you’re letting the defense know that you’re passing the ball. There’s certainly something to this team starting slow right now. In 2017, the year the Eagles won the Super Bowl, the Eagles led the NFL in 1st quarter scoring & they pounced on teams early & often. Last year, the Eagles were only ahead of the Jacksonville Jaguars in terms of 1st quarter scoring in the entire league; they ranked 31st overall. There is something to this teams slow start affecting the team. Is it on Frank Reich’s impact on the game-plan? Is it Carson Wentz? Is it the imbalance of the offense? Something needs to improve if this team has real Super Bowl aspirations again.
Donovan feels as though they’re forcing the pass too early & too often & believes that if they establish the run game early on, it’ll make their life in the passing game that much better. Donovan doesn’t think the play-action, their base offense, has had a chance to be affective since they haven’t established the run game early in games yet. Especially in a game where the offense was sputtering early, relying on the run & lulling the defense to sleep would’ve really opened up something over top. The RB rotation early on seems a bit puzzling as there’s no doubt that Miles Sanders is this teams RB1 early on in the season.
Donovan thinks they need to get the ball in Sanders hands on the outside, via the screen game more often. “When you have someone as elusive as Sanders, who reminds me a little bit of a young Brian Westbrook or Lesean McCoy in open space, you want to get him out of the screen game with the chances to make people miss in some open spaces”. Marc Farzetta agreed, said he had the same exact thoughts last night while the game was in progress. The Eagles historically have been a team over the last twenty years that have thrived in the screen game & with as athletic of linemen as Lane Johnson & Jason Kelce, give them opportunities to thrive in the screen game. He’s correct in that something with this offense needs to change early in the games because the Eagles won’t be successful if they’re always playing from behind early in games.
Overall Donovan isn’t worried about the team…
“Everyone relax, it’s just one game.” the former Eagles great said as the interview came to a close & as tough as it is to remain calm after Eagles losses, he’s absolutely correct. It’s just one game, that was on the road & that some Eagles played some truly bad football that you still had a chance to win at the end. Hopefully for Doug & the game-plan design, they’ll learn from this experience & improve upon it. Donovan thinks it could start with as simple as getting the run game going early on in games, we’ll see what Doug Pederson has up his sleeve for the Detroit Lions coming to town this Sunday. Donovan will join the Farzetta & Tra morning show again next Monday following the game!