Led by LeGarrette Blount, Eagles Have Turned Into a Run Team

By ROB MAADDI, AP Pro Football Writer

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Smash-mouth football is back in Philadelphia.

After relying heavily on Carson Wentz’s arm in the first two games, the Eagles (3-1) have become a run-first offense.

“Pound and ground,” coach Doug Pederson joked on Monday. “Every week you try to establish you’re run game. That’s the first thing you try to do. If you can do that, it’ll open up play-action pass, it’ll open up shots down the field. That’s where you want to start.”

LeGarrette Blount ran for 136 yards, Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement combined for 64 and the Eagles racked up 214 yards rushing in a 26-24 win over the Chargers on Sunday.

Last week, they had 193 yards rushing in a 27-24 win over the Giants.

Pederson called just 13 run plays out of 69 plays in a 27-20 loss at Kansas City in Week 2. Blount didn’t get one carry in that game.

Now, he’s become a focal point of the offense.

“It takes all 11 guys on the field to get it done,” Blount said about his bruising 68-yard scamper in the fourth quarter at Los Angeles.

Blount led the NFL with 18 rushing TDs last season in New England and earned his second Super Bowl ring with the Patriots. But he remained unsigned as a free agent until the Eagles gave him a one-year contract in May.

“I know what I can do,” Blount said. “I know I’m one of the better backs in this league as far as running the football. I’m always going to run with that passion and with that confidence. There’s no chip on my shoulder. I know what I can do.”

The Eagles have run the ball 50 percent of their plays over the past two games. The running backs have carried 69 times and Wentz has three quarterback sneaks. Pederson has so much confidence in the run that he tried it a few times on third-and-long.

“The last couple weeks our running game has been a combination of great game-planning by (offensive line) Coach (Jeff) Stoutland, the desire and the will and the want to by the offensive line and the tight ends and the quarterback being a part of that and then execution on game day,” Pederson said. “We want to go in and establish that run. That’s the direction our offense needs to go in.”

The Eagles host Arizona (2-2) on Sunday.

NOTES: Pederson said he’s hoping two-time Pro Bowl DT Fletcher Cox (calf) can practice on Wednesday. Cox didn’t play against the Chargers. It’s possible he can sit out another game because the Eagles have short rest next week before a game at Carolina (3-1) on Thursday on Oct. 12.

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For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP_RobMaaddi

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