I remember people being up in arms when Pagano made a similar statement. People were saying we'd be wasting a generational QB if we became a running team. Obviously, that never happened.
The difference now is that we have the Oline to be a better running team, which opens up the pass even more.
I won't say it's Frank's coach speak, but every team in the NFL wants to run the ball and play good defense.
I don't know if they will be forcing it, but it certainly sounds like improving the run game is one of the main focuses according to Reich's stated objectives. He keeps repeating it in pretty much every public appearance he's made this off-season. He also keeps repeating that the improved run game will help the play action game and the passing game in general. Every single piece of statistical analysis I've seen says there is zero evidence to support that old-time narrative. Better run game does NOT improve the play-action and passing success. It goes the other way around - better passing game improves the run game.
If you normalize for when Mack was out early last year, we would have been pretty close to top 5. Given the OL improved quickly last year and gelled, and the RBs appear to all be healthy (as far as I know), I don't think it will be to much of a task to be top 5 if we really commit...
Not really sure we'll commit to the point we'll be stubborn though. I am also one of the guys who believes you take what the D gives you, and you don't have to be a top 5 rushing team to run a successful O. Top 10-15, absolutely, but not necessarily top 5.
Reich also said the same thing when he was with the Chargers. Their running game was pretty meh. The year after they fired him, it was top 5 lol...