Saturday, August 04, 2007

Bloom and the Eagles Run Game

Lots of stuff on Jeremy Bloom, who has basically been annointed the Eagles return man since Bethel Johnson (who signed a 1-year tender) was cut because he could never get on the field for mini-camps. And if what I've read it any indication, we've made the right choice. Little dribs and drabs from camp saw Bloom has been catching everything that has come his way, and it looks like he's ready to be a football player and not a skier. I tell you, having a guy with a bit of explosiveness back there will be a breath of fresh air after a few years of dependable, but god-awful-slow Reno long as he doesn't fumble....

Now here's a question: Bloom looks good now, but what if he doesn't pan out? I wouldn't go so far as put on him on any sort of "indispensable Eagles" list, but dang, it'll be awful nice if he can stay healthy...

Another thing I've noticed, local writers questioning whether or not the Eagles will remain committed to the run this season. As in, now that Donovan's back, will the coaches forget to run (or in some cases it comes off like, will Donovan be so selfish that he all but demands they go pass-happy again).

Here is how I see it: even with Jeff Garcia in there, the Eagles remained a predominately passing team, they just ran a bit more and found that a better balance really benefited both the run AND the pass by keeping teams honest. Let's not kid ourselves: the Eagles did not suddenly morph into a 3-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust K.C. or Pittsburgh team. (weird deja vu moment: I dreamt I typed this into my blog months ago, this exact paragraph, heck before Garcia had even left the team....eerie). I hope and expect the Birds to maintain that better balance because of two things: 1) It gets the ball in Westbrook's hands more often, and the Eagles have a really powerful O-line to pave the way and 2) A bit more running will keep defenses honest and not just let them throw caution to the wind and just rush McNabb (AND his knee) pell mell.

And another thing: I think the Eagles will remain a team that passes to get the lead and runs to keep it. In the past, they've passed to get the lead and then sorta gave the run a half-hearted attempt and then resorted to passing again. I think a good mixture early on, in which AR and MM use runs to step up certain passes, will go a long long way to keeping the offense unpredictable and McNabb out of harm's way.

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