The run game conundrum was addressed Tuesday afternoon by offensive coordinator Frank Reich.
For starters, Reich clarified that the disparity between the amount of pass attempts (46) and the number of carries by the running backs (13) against Kansas City was in large part due to the flow of the game. The offense was clicking early and often to start Sunday's contest. The coaching staff had a hard time peeling away from what was working.
"I think every playcaller, every coaching staff, offensive coaching staff goes in and says, 'We have to be patient with the running game.' I mean, every staff, you have to be patient with the running game. This is literally the best analogy I can come up with: It's like a boxing match. You get hit a few times, you get in the middle of a fight, and you're trying to win the fight, and so you call - you're dialing up what you think is the knockout blow or what you can - the play that you think will give you the best chance for success," Reich said.
"And yeah, is there a balance of you want to keep calling runs even when they don't always work? Yes. But that has an asterisk next to it. The overriding factor as the playcaller is you're doing what you think is best for the team to win the game."
Guard Isaac Seumalo received a fair share of criticism following Sunday's loss. Wentz was sacked a career-high six times with a few of those coming off some broken-down blocking by the second-year lineman. An improvement in performance is certainly needed but Reich affirmed that Seumalo earned the starting job during Training Camp because of his intellect and versatility at the position. Reich has confidence in his guard moving forward.
The Eagles will take on division rival New York Giants in the Week 3 home opener. Check out their key players to watch.
"I think the way we look at it is one thing every player knows and every coach knows, you line up in that environment against really good players on the other side of the ball, and you're going to get beat every now and then. At every position, and not just at guard or at tackle or at center or corner, receiver getting beat up by a corner. It happens. So when we look at stuff like that, when you see an individual get beat once or twice in a game, you don't like it, but it happens to literally everybody who suits up and goes out there and plays," Reich said.
"Now, if that happens over five, six, seven games and it becomes a problem, then you evaluate it. When it happens in one game, you say, 'OK, we take note of it, but we've got a lot of confidence. We've been working hard.' We believe in our guys. Whether it's Isaac or whether it's another guy, it happens in this league. We fight to get better, and then you evaluate over the long haul."
Despite being placed in quite a few arduous situations thus far this season, Wentz has been fairly remarkable on third down. He's converted 14 first downs off of 23 third-down opportunities. The issue is that the Eagles are facing too many third-and-long situations. Only two of the successful attempts have come within 2 yards.
"Well, you don't want to have to sustain it for sure, but the obvious answer is just be more productive on first and second down. Avoid penalties, avoid negative plays. Looked at the Detroit game last night against the Giants, it was crazy how they overcame - they were in third-and-11 plus something like nine times, somewhere - an inordinate amount of third-and-11 plus last night, and they were able to overcome it. So as an offense, to win, and that's all that matters is to win, so you've got to overcome it, but we've got to find a way to stay out of third-and-long."
Next up on the schedule are the Giants coming off their second straight loss to open their season. Although the team is off to a sluggish start, New York orchestrated one of the top defenses in the league a season ago and split last year's series with the Eagles.
"I think the Giants' defense probably has the best or one of the better pressure packages that we face," said Reich. "They do a good job of disguising. They do a good job of presenting a similar presentation and have multiple looks off of it. Safeties do a very good job disguising. They'll be all the way down one way and kick back the other way. They make a lot of things look the same. They'll give you a pressure look and bail out. I mean, it's nothing that you don't see every week. I just think that Spags (Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo) does a particularly good job coaching his guys and having the full complement of pressures that go with the different presentations that he gives you."