They say lightning never strikes twice. When Todd Herremans fought for those few telling extra seconds after the play to try to get up, coach Reid knew he had a problem.

Lightning never strikes twice.

The injury bug, however, has no such limits.

Todd Herremans was placed on Injured Reserve Wednesday, after getting hurt during Monday night’s game in New Orleans. On a 2nd & 10 with 2:36 to go in the first quarter, the Eagles were reeling and behind 7-0. The team beckoned for life after Patrick Robinson’s record-tying 99 yard pick-6 deflated the sideline. LeSean McCoy broke a 13 yard run, and seemingly the shakoes of a poor Saints defense destined to crumble.

Little did they know, this injury would change the course of the game and make the remainder of the game negligible.

Todd Herremans will not be walking in through the door, nor will the clones of Jason Kelce, and Jason Peters emerge out of the smoke of the Eagles laboratory as saviors of the season.

Many people choose to patch up these holes by weakening other areas of the offense: max protection.It cannot take up a significant amount of plays, as that leaves for 4 to 6 players to cover both DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin for a majority of the offensive snaps.

The Eagles were dealt a hand of cards, and now it’s time to make the most of them. All hope is not lost, as many teams have conquered the injury bug and come out holding the silverware, namely the 2008 Steelers, and the 2007/2011 Giants. Hopefully, we can add a third team to this list, by taking a negative situation and using it as a strength.

Eliminate the empty backfield sets.

The strongest teams using this formation in recent years are those with stable, synchronized offensive lines such as New Orleans and New England. However, those who use it most often are also those who are perceived to allow high sack numbers, such as Buffalo and Chicago.

The empty backfield sets simply serve to spread the field for offenses. With at most one fully-healthy week 1 starter set to step onto the field on Sunday, that should not be the priority for Marty Mornhinweg and Andy Reid. The fact that 7 sacks were repeatedly forked over to the last-ranked Saints defense warrants for a change in the playbook. Michael Vick can only reassign so many players pre-snap to help in pass protection. His job is impossible if there’s nobody to do the blocking.

Now, we can use the shotgun set with McCoy to our advantage by simply recalling the career of the great Brian Westbrook. Another problem with the empty is that it removes the Eagles’ best player, no, Philadelphia’s best athlete, from the field in LeSean McCoy. In the photo above, the offense is in the red zone with a goal-to-go situation. In an area as crucial as the red zone, why remove LeSean McCoy from the field?

Brian Westbrook had 30 receiving touchdowns in his chronicled career. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

By converting the snaps allocated for the empty backfield to the shotgun sets with McCoy alongside Vick, the Eagles can squeak out more time for Vick to throw in the heated battle that often faces the outnumbered Offensive Line. Even if all goes wrong, McCoy can serve as a last resort to add a minimum of 2 to 3 tenths of a second. This would increase Vick’s pocket time to 2.2 or 2.3 seconds. In addition, with more of McCoy on the field on passing plays, we can use his receiving abilities in new-look, creative, vintage Brian Westbrook routes, courtesy of Mr. Mornhinweg and Andy Reid.

This simple alteration can help add to the protection per play, but also strengthen the red zone passing game as well as the general passing game, by bringing in LeSean McCoy similar to the days of Brian Westbrook.

 

Photo: Buzz on Broad

 

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