PHILADELPHIA -- When the Philadelphia Eagles' running game isn’t working, their offense isn’t working.
Two games into the 2015 season, the Eagles’ offense is not working.
“It obviously doesn’t get any worse than this on offense,” Eagles center Jason Kelce said after the Dallas Cowboys' 20-10 victory Sunday. “That was the worst rushing attack I have ever been a part of here. I don’t know. Obviously, missed blocks are huge. I’d like to say they did something different than what we expected, but I don’t think they did.”
The Eagles finished the game with exactly seven rushing yards. They had 17 running plays -- just one more than last week in Atlanta -- and averaged 0.4 yards per carry. Six of their running plays, more than a third of their total, went for negative yardage.
“There was nothing surprising about what they did at all,” right tackle Lane Johnson said. “We knew they were going to slant and stunt. That is what they do. They try to create confusion in the running lanes. That is what they did.”
The performance was particularly discouraging because of all the changes coach Chip Kelly made to the offense in the offseason. Kelly traded running back LeSean McCoy to Buffalo and signed free agents DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews because, he said, they were “one-cut, downhill runners” who would pick up positive yards. McCoy, for all his explosive ability, occasionally lost yardage because of his elusive running style.
Two games into this new era, the running game has not been effective.
“Very disappointing,” Kelly said. “Couldn’t get anything started. I don’t think the running backs even really had time to assess if there was a hole. Too much penetration up front. Too many guys in the backfield. ... We just could not block the defensive line tonight.”
The new line and the new backs were supposed to add up to a powerful running game.
“Running the ball the way we’re running it right now, we’re not going to win any football games,” Kelly said. “We’ve got to get back and get that figured out.”
Johnson said the players had already called a meeting in order to get themselves on the same page.
“It’s going to come down to this week,” Johnson said. “This week is really going to define our season. We can’t point fingers at each other -- who’s wrong and who’s doing this. We’ve got to come together collectively or it’s going to go downhill from here.
“We’re going to have a team meeting, a come-to-Jesus meeting. We’ve got to figure something out and come together and communicate better.”
The Eagles are 0-2 for the first time in Kelly’s three-year tenure. The last time they started 0-2 was 2007. The last time they started 0-2 and reached the playoffs was 2003, when they went 12-2 after the poor start and won the NFC East title.
Kelly knows there is a lot of work to be done.
“It’s execution and it’s coaching,” Kelly said. “We’re not doing a good enough job.”