The Eagles’ final play of Sunday’s 13-7 loss at MetLife Stadium is a microcosm of the entire miserable afternoon.
The Eagles’ first option on the play was DeVonta Smith, the second option was Dallas Goedert. Instead, the play was broken, the ball went to Jalen Reagor and the Eagles lost the game.
Because the Eagles didn’t set out on Sunday planning for Reagor to have as many targets as Smith and Goedert combined, but that’s exactly what happened.
And it can’t happen again.
“Definitely when you put the ball in the air you definitely always want it to start with 88 and 6,” Nick Sirianni said on Monday. “That's definitely been our priority. Again, that doesn't always mean it's going to happen that way. You can't just tell the quarterback to force feed it there no matter what.”
That’s true. You don’t want your QB forcing the ball into double and triple teams and the opposition is going to give Smith and Goedert more attention.
“Now, they definitely can switch it up and there were a couple things they did late in that game that did switch it up,” Sirianni admitted. “We wanted to get some other guys some touches as well.
“That doesn't mean everything doesn't run through 6 and 88, but you still want to get (Reagor] some touches here and there and (Watkins) some touches here and there and (Kenny Gainwell) some touches here and there. Again, you want to be a balanced offense.”
The problem is that the Eagles don’t really have a legitimate third receiving option. Reagor caught 2 passes on 7 targets Sunday, Watkins had one spectacular catch but was otherwise quiet, JJAW and Greg Ward aren’t the right option. So instead on Sunday, the Eagles spread the ball around, trying to find a third option by committee and it didn’t really work.
In the wake, Smith caught just 2 passes on 4 targets for 22 yards. Goedert caught 1 pass on 3 targets for 0 yards.
No matter what an opposing defense is presenting, the Eagles can’t afford to have that limited of production from their two biggest receiving threats. Not in any game. Especially not in a division game with playoff implications.
Sirianni knows that.
“Everything we do starts with those guys,” he said. “I'll take responsibility for them not getting the touches that they needed yesterday, because that's my job to see everything and adjust as the team is playing us.
“Again, it wasn't — they kind of did some different things near the end of the game that they had shown, but any time you don't get the ball to those guys the way you want to, I'll always take the blame on that first.”
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