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Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Eagles' Reid in no rush to talk ground game

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

 
  Don Wright/US Presswire
  Rookie LeSean McCoy should be a solid addition to the run game.

We're going to catch you up on what took place at the Eagles' and Redskins' minicamps over the weekend. As many of you know, we've focused our efforts on the tragic situation at Valley Ranch since Saturday afternoon. But I did manage to catch up with Brian Orakpo on Sunday and Jeremy Maclin is set to check in with the Beast later this week.

For now I'm sort of interested in this Rich Hofmann column on the Eagles' running game. Philly certainly appeared to strengthen its running game with the additions of rookie tailback LeSean McCoy, fullback Leonard Weaver and left tackle Jason Peters.

But for whatever reason, Andy Reid is squeamish about admitting the emphasis on the ground. As Hofmann points out, it's not like the Eagles are suddenly going to become a 50-50 run/pass team. The hope is that the 40 percent devoted to the run will become more efficient.

"There are a handful of things," Reid said. "We talked about the red zone, short yardage and goal line. Those are things we need to do a better job at. That's not the reason why we brought in the personnel that we brought in. We needed to change some things on the offense, maybe in some spots where we were getting a little older and we needed to get a little bit younger, and we did that."

The good news for the Eagles is that McCoy should be ready to contribute immediately. He doesn't remind me of washouts from the past such as Ryan Moats and Tony Hunt. In fact, McCoy is the type of back who could adequately fill in if Brian Westbrook gets banged up, which happens from time to time. He's an instinctive runner who will hopefully adjust quickly to the speed at the NFL level. If McCoy is in the Chicago game last season, I think the Eagles win. Despite Correll Buckhalter's fearless attitude, Reid never completely trusted him. And don't bring up the blocking thing. If a guy's talented enough in the backfield, you should find a way to cover up some of his deficiencies. Especially if he's a backup.

The Eagles have to become more proficient running the ball in short-yardage situations. Perhaps McCoy and Peters can make a big impact there. Donovan McNabb's season was almost derailed last season, in part, because he didn't have a running game to lean on. Reid would never admit that publicly, but the Eagles' moves suggest they agree with that theory.

It's not like Reid's Eagles are about to become three yards and a cloud of dust, but he'd settle for 4 1/2 about 40 percent of the time. The Eagles had become too dependent on Westbrook breaking a big play. Now, they have the opportunity to be more balanced.

Will that happen? I'm not betting on it.