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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Eagles finished 2017 with a 13-3 record and eventually won the Super Bowl. Carson Wentz lit up opposing defenses and looked headed to win an MVP award. That team rushed for 2,115 yards, which was third overall in the NFL, with a cumulative team average of 4.5 yards per carry, which was tied for the third-best average.
Last season, the Eagles’ offense struggled. Wentz couldn’t move like he usually did, as he was still recovering from the surgery to repair the torn LCL and ACL in his left knee in December 2017. Making matters worse was the lack of balance the Eagles had on offense.
The Eagles ran the same amount of plays in 2017 as they did in 2018, 1,037.
But here’s how it broke down:
In 2017, they ran the ball 473 times (sixth overall in the NFL), which amounted to 45.6 percent of the offensive plays, and passed 564 times (13th overall in the NFL), which amounted to 54.3 percent of the offensive plays.
In 2018, they ran the ball 398 times (20th in the NFL), which amounted to 38.4 percent of the offensive plays, and passed 599 times (seventh overall in the NFL), which amounted to 61.6 percent of the offensive plays.
It pretty much made it easy to decipher what the Eagles were going to do last year.
If the season were to begin tomorrow, here’s what the Eagles’ running back depth chart would look like: Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement and Darren Sproles, all three coming off injuries at one time of another last year, Wendell Smallwood, whose blocking improved considerably, still-unproven Josh Adams and Boston Scott.
Does that look like the backfield corps of a Super Bowl-contending team?
Of the top-10 teams that led the NFL in rushing attempts last season, eight made the playoffs — Baltimore, Seattle, New England, Houston, New Orleans, Chicago, Los Angeles Rams and Dallas. The two that didn’t were Tennessee and the Buffalo, and Tennessee finished with a 9-7 record.
There are quality running backs available at 25, where the Eagles pick, in Alabama’s Josh Jacobs (more likely taken in the first round) and Damien Harris (more likely the second round), Memphis’ Darrell Henderson, Iowa State’s David Montgomery, Penn State’s Miles Sanders or Georgia’s Elijah Holyfield, the son of heavyweight great Evander Holyfield.
The Eagles need help here. Wentz needs help here.
Without anything close to a balanced attack and a go-to back, the Eagles place Wentz in harm’s way and jeopardize any chance of a deep playoff run, considering the tatters the NFC East is in.