Philadelphia Eagles: Run on WFT regardless of who starts at QB

(Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
(Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

On Monday, the Philadelphia Eagles placed Quez Watkins on the COVID list, marking in the fourth player over the regular season sidelined by the communicable virus.

Unfortunate? Yes, as Joel Embiid will tell you, even professional athletes can get very sick from COVID but in terms of lost playing time, the Eagles have been fairly lucky that they’ve largely kept their players healthy both at the Novacare Center and in their regular lives.

The Washington Football Team, the Eagles’ Week 15 foes, have not been so lucky.

No, as things presently stand, Washington has 18 players on their COVID list, with 11 more players on IR. Barring a surprise turnaround, the team could potentially be without Kendall Fuller, Cornelius Lucas, and five of their top six defensive linemen when they take the field for the first time this season against Philly’s phinest.

Could this be the week the Philadelphia Eagles finally leave their losing ways behind and finally claw their way back to .500? If so, they’ll need to commit to running the ball early and often.

The Philadelphia Eagles need to carve up the beltway.

Through the first 14 games of the regular season, Washington’s nameless football team has held up very well against the run.

While Week 14 was a bit of an aberration, as an undermanned Dallas Cowboys team ran for 122 yards on Washington’s defensive front, on the season, Football Team has only allowed an average of 93.6 rushing yards per game, which ranks fifth league-wide behind only Baltimore, Tennessee, Tampa Bay, and Cincinnati.

All in all, pretty good stuff.

If Washington was at full strength in Week 15, seeing how Ron Riviera’s defense would fare against Nick Sirianni’s offense would have been a fun test of two teams’ talents but fortunately, that isn’t the case. No, Washington’s front is incredibly undermanned while the Eagles’ offensive staters are fully stocked and ready to rock… sort of.

That’s right, after having an expected green light to go in Week 15, Jalen Hurts‘ ankle still isn’t at 100 percent, which has left the coaching staff to split their first-team snaps between their assumed QB1 and Gardner Minshew, who played admirably versus the New York Jets before the Bye.

Does Minshew present a different look for the Eagles if Hurts can’t go? Yes, unlike Hurts, Minshew likes to check down the ball a whole lot more and run the ball a whole lot less, but that doesn’t matter all that much if the Eagles commit themselves to controlling the tempo, dominating the clock, and giving Washington the business both between the tackles and in the open field.

Yup, assuming Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders are back to full strength, which is up in the air, as both were limited participants at practice on Wednesday, the Eagles will be able to pretty much call their shots against Washington’s front, with a steady dose of play-action and a few deep shots targeting Kendall Fuller’s replacement for good measure.

And hey, even if the Eagles are without Sanders and/or Howard fear not, as even the dynamic duo of Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell should be able to pick up yards with ease, especially with Jeff Stoutland’s offensive line opening holes for them.

Next. Meet Philadelphia Eagles practice squad wide receiver KeeSean Johnson. dark

Whether Jalen Hurts plays in Week 15 or he takes one more week to get back to full strength, it’s clear the Philadelphia Eagles offense will be semi-limited heading into their first of two games against Washington, as they’ll all but surely be without the QB runs they relied on earlier this season and will be missing their deep threat to take the top off of opposing defenses. But one thing they will unquestionably still be able to do is run the ball, which is a good thing since Washington’s front looks to be a clear weakness heading into Week 15.