Eagles Film Review: Run game struggled early against Bengals

Eagles Film Review: Run game struggled early against Bengals

Carson Wentz threw 60 passes on Sunday afternoon in Cincinnati. Sixty!

That's an incredible number, but it came from the fact that the Eagles got down in the 32-14 loss very early. At one point, they were down 29-0, so they needed to pass to get back into the game. 

But, believe it or not, they tried to establish the run early. Of their 16 called rushing plays during the game, nine of them came on their first three drives. They were wildly unsuccessful running the ball early. 

On those nine carries, they picked up just 14 yards (1.56 yards per attempt) and lost yardage on three of them. Six of those carries belonged to Wendell Smallwood, who did break off a nine-yarder, and three belonged to Darren Sproles. As you'll see, the Bengals didn't simply just stack the box on every play early. The Eagles had opportunities and they didn't make the most of them.  

Perhaps the Eagles really did miss Ryan Mathews in this game. In the two games without Mathews, the Eagles rushed for 81 and then 53 yards. 

Here's a look at what went wrong early for the Eagles' run game against Cincinnati: 

The Eagles came out ready to run. This is the very first play from scrimmage on Sunday afternoon. Carson Wentz is in shotgun with Smallwood lined up to his left. Brent Celek is on the left side of the line. Smallwood is about to run off the left end. 

Linebacker Vincent Rey clearly saw where this play was going; it was pretty clear it was going left. Had this been an inside draw play, or if he cut it upfield, Smallwood might have had a hole. 

Instead, the linebacker pushes him wider and eventually Jason Peters loses his block. This play was a loss of two yards and helped expedite a quick three-and-out. 

On the next drive, after the Bengals went up 3-0, the Eagles are sticking with the run. It's still early, Smallwood is in the backfield and the Eagles have a hat for a hat in the box. 

Off the snap, right guard Brandon Brooks does his job and opens up a hole. At this point, Smallwood is probably thinking he has a nice gain coming his way. 

But Domata Peko, who seemed to disrupt the Eagles for much of the afternoon, sheds his block from Stefen Wisniewski and quickly fills the hole. 

Smallwood is swallowed by Bengals defenders after a short two-yard gain. Now, the next run did go for nine yards, but eventually the Eagles' drive stalled and they punted away. 

Now, the Eagles are on their third drive of the game and they're already down 10-0. But they still don't want to give up on the run just yet. In fact, on their third drive of the game, they ran the ball five times. 

By the time this play happens, early in the second quarter, they have already picked up three first downs on this drive and they're moving. Doug Pederson is going to stick with the run. It's 1st-and-10 from the Cincinnati 33-yard line. 

On this play, Wentz is in pistol with Sproles behind him. They have Celek off the right tackle at the snap. 

The Eagles have Brooks pull to the left side of the line, which briefly creates a hole up the gut. And the little misdirection at least gets linebacker Karlos Dansby leaning the wrong way and is about to get picked up by Peters. 

But safety Shawn Williams doesn't get fooled by the little misdirection. He's there to fill the hole and stop this play for a 1-yard gain. 

The Eagles followed this play with an incomplete pass and then a run that went for a loss of one before Caleb Sturgis doinked a field goal off the right upright. 

On the ensuing drive, the Bengals went up 13-0 and never really looked back. The Eagles showed that they wanted to establish the run on Sunday, but they failed. And then they had to try to pass to get back in the game. 

Eagles in contact with White House about possible visit

AP Images

Eagles in contact with White House about possible visit

After winning Super Bowl LI, the Patriots visited the White House on April 19, 2017. 

You might have noticed that April 19 has come and gone this year and there hasn’t been much talk of the Super Bowl champion Eagles visiting the relatively new home of President Donald Trump. 

But on Monday, the New York Times reported that discussions about a possible Eagles trip to the White House have begun.

The Eagles confirmed that report with the following in a statement: “We have been in contact with White House representatives and are currently discussing the logistics of an upcoming visit to Washington. We are honored to receive this invitation and view this not only as an opportunity to be recognized for our on-field achievements, but also as an opportunity to engage in productive dialogue with the leaders of our country."

This is the first time the Eagles have publicly spoken about a trip to the White House and the first time they’ve revealed they have been invited. When asked about the possible trip last month at the annual league meetings, Eagles owner Jeff Lurie didn’t seem very eager to speak about the topic. 

“We just won the Super Bowl,” Lurie said in Orlando last month. “I haven’t had any of those discussions. I have no idea. It’s just … I haven’t had those discussions.” 

The idea that the visit to the White House could be an opportunity for dialogue is an interesting one. Normally, these things are pretty much photo opportunities, but perhaps that’s part of the discussion. 

As you might guess, an Eagles trip to the White House is a pretty tricky trip to figure out. 

The Eagles have several players — Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Long, Torrey Smith — who have already said publicly that they wouldn’t attend. And last year when the Patriots won, Long and LeGarrette Blount were not among the group that went. Aside from that, Lurie, who donated money to Hilary Clinton’s presidential campaign, is considered one of the more liberal owners in the league. 

“We have been in conversations with the Eagles about timing and are working with them to make it happen,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, via the New York Times. “We hope to have something finalized in the next couple of weeks.”

According to the New York Times story, Lurie had strong criticism for Trump at a private league meeting last October as owners, players and executives met weeks after Trump scolded the NFL and players, which brought more league-wide protesting during the national anthem. During those meetings, Lurie described Trump’s presidency as “disastrous” and reportedly used a vulgarity to emphasize that opinion. 

This is not the first time an Eagle has had harsh words for Trump. Last September, Jenkins said Trump was “no different than a troll on social media.” 

The Eagles are the first Super Bowl-winning team after Trump’s attacks on the league and its players who had chosen to demonstrate during the national anthem. Last September, Trump said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’”

The week after Trump made those comments, protests became more wide-spread throughout the league, with entire teams demonstrating and showing unity. The Eagles — players, coaches and executives, including Lurie — locked arms as the Star-Spangled Banner was performed. 

Former Eagle Daryl Worley signs with Raiders

USA Today Images

Former Eagle Daryl Worley signs with Raiders

A week after the Eagles released him, Daryl Worley has reportedly found a new home.

The 23-year-old cornerbacks signed with the Raiders Monday afternoon.

Worley was arrested early on the morning of Sunday, April 14 when he was found passed out in his vehicle near the NovaCare Complex. Less than 12 hours after being arrested, the Eagles released Worley, who is being charged with six different offenses. After being released, Worley cleared waivers.

Despite the Eagles’ abrupt decision to cut Worley, the Raiders obviously feel comfortable enough to sign him.

Worley’s new home will be in Oakland, but he does have a preliminary hearing set in Philadelphia for May 1.

Worley was the return from the Panthers in the trade for Torrey Smith earlier this offseason. He grew up in North Philadelphia and the trade was a chance for him to play for his hometown team, but Worley lasted just one month and one day with the Eagles.