Mornhinweg, McNabb Add Spice To Offense

With the Eagles' offense stagnating, Andy Reid decided that perhaps a change at the top was the way to go. As he did last season, he gave up control of the offensive reins in an effort to rejuvenate the Birds' lackluster offense.

After watching his offense put up seven or less points in four of its previous five games, coach Andy Reid felt it was time for a change. During the Eagles' bye week, he decided to turn the bulk of the play-calling over to offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and quarterback Donovan McNabb.

The change paid immediate dividends. The Eagles scored on their first two possessions Sunday against Washington and jumped out to a 17-0 first-half lead en route to an easy 27-3 win over the Redskins.

"They did a fine job," said Reid. "I have a lot of confidence in Marty. If I'm stinking the place up, I let him take over and he's done a nice job and he deserves the opportunity to do that."

Reid did the same thing in the second half of last season with his previous offensive coordinator, Brad Childress, after the Eagles' pass-run ratio got way out of whack in the first half of a disastrous 6-10 season.

"Reid said there's a "good chance" he'll have Mornhinweg continue to handle the play-calling, including Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans.

The Eagles ran the no-huddle offense a lot against the Redskins, with McNabb, like the Colts' Peyton Manning, being given the option of calling several different plays depending on what he sees on the other side of the line.

Reid said he has a lot of confidence in his long-time friend Mornhinweg, who initially was brought in as an offensive consultant in 2003 after getting fired as the Detroit Lions' head coach. He replaced Childress as the offensive coordinator this season after Childress left to become the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings.

"I've got somebody that I think is very good at (calling plays)," Reid said. "If I'm in a rut, I feel very comfortable turning it over to him. It gave me an opportunity to see both sides of the ball and evaluate it a little more. Marty's track record is proven. He's one of the best in the business at what he does."

For the most part, Reid has done his own play-calling since he became the Eagles' head coach in 1999. He has said in the past that it's the "one fun thing" about the job.

Through the first eight games, with Reid calling the plays, the Eagles were first in the league in total offense and fifth in points scored. But as he has in the past, he was becoming too obsessed with the pass at the expense of the run game. And the Eagles' offensive difficulties in the first half, when Reid was scripting in many of the plays beforehand, was putting the defense in a bind.

Mornhinweg was reluctant to discuss his play-calling role.

"We don't talk about all that stuff," he said. "I'm not getting into any of that. Our players did a heck of a job. We don't care who gets the ball, who does what. We'll do the things that we think we need to do to win the game. That's all. It's as simple as that."

Notes from the 'Nest...

  • RB Brian Westbrook notched his second highest touch total of the season against the Redskins. He had 22 rushing attempts and 3 receptions for a total of 25 touches.
  • WR Reggie Brown left Sunday's game with what coach Andy Reid described as a cramp in his hamstring. But he returned to the game and should play this week against Tennessee.
  • LB Shawn Barber suffered a stinger against Washington, but he returned to the game and should be fine this week.
  • WR Donte Stallworth, who missed four of the Eagles' first eight games with a hamstring strain, said he still isn't 100 percent. But that didn't prevent him from catching six passes for 139 yards and a touchdown against Washington.
  • The Eagles' game against Indianapolis has been moved to a Sunday night contest. The NFL instituted "flex scheduling" this season to help insure that the best games would be played in prime-time. The November 26th game with Indianapolis was moved into the Sunday night slot and will be televised by NBC.

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