Tonight the Jacksonville Jaguars are hosting the offense they hope to emulate. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew said this week that the Jaguars hope to run 85 offensive plays per game. Considering the team’s offensive woes, we find that mark highly unachievable, but if the Jaguars hope to accomplish it, they better have their notebooks out while the visiting Eagles are on the field.
Last week, while the Jaguars’ starters were still on the field, the team didn’t show that they can at least run a high-tempo offense to some extent. With Blaine Gabbert in as quarterback, the Jaguars were able to move the ball through short passes with runs after the catch. Tonight will be the team’s second true test running such an offense, although Blaine Gabbert won’t be playing. Backup Chad Henne will be in charge of the offense.
The Eagles, by contrast, may get a sense of how difficult their offense can be to both operate and defend. There’s a great chance the Jaguars won’t be able to orchestrate coherent drives, further driving home the point that the Eagles are running a unique brand of football.
At this point, the Eagles are less concerned with installing their offense and more concerned with actually fine-tuning it. That will be a work-in progress, but if they’re successful, they’ll be one of the best teams in the league.
Running such an offense isn’t necessarily about doing something that’s difficult to defend, although in this case that’s true as well. At its core, the Eagles’ offense is successful because teams rarely see it. It’s easy to plan to play against a run-of-the-mill offense that nearly every team runs. Sure there are some variations, but teams still get heavy doses of practice throughout the year.
Planning for the Eagles’ offense is unique, and that may be why the Jaguars are intent on running something similar in tempo. By adding the element of surprise, the Jaguars may be able to score a few more points. In tonight’s game, however, expect the Eagles to look on top of their game, and look for the Jaguars to struggle with an offense they’ve never ran in the past.