I’m going to shock you a bit. The Eagles are closer to being a good team than you think.
Turnovers have killed us. We lead the league with 15 giveaways. Part of that is on us, but part is on our opponents. The teams we’ve lost to are among the league leaders in takeaways. They aren’t just doing it to us. They’re doing it consistently. BUF, SF, NYG, and ATL are in the top 7 in the NFL in takeaways.
How many tipped INTs have we seen so far this year? There was the non-catch INT vs Atlanta that cost us dearly. We saw Jason Avant stripped, which doesn’t happen often. We saw a DL chase down Jeremy Maclin and strip him. How often is that gonna happen? I won’t even get into the Ronnie Brown insanity.
I’m not excusing the Eagles for the turnovers. However, it takes 2 to Tango. Our guys are being sloppy, but you also have to factor in that we’re playing teams that right now are doing a great job of creating turnovers. These guys are making tough catches when the ball is in the air and they are getting to loose balls. Not every team does this. We can look in the mirror and know that.
The turnovers won’t last at the same rate. We’re on pace for 48 right now. The high in the Reid era is 39 and that was in his first year, with a porous OL and QB being split by Doug Pederson and rookie Donovan McNabb. Next up is 2005 with 34, with Mike McMahon at the helm for several games. We’re going through a rough stretch turnover wise, but the numbers tell you it isn’t likely to continue like this.
That will make a huge difference. Even if we’re not great in the Red Zone, we move the ball well enough to kick a lot of FGs and that can win games. Turnovers are what really kills us. And I was encouraged by the Red Zone play on Sunday. If we quit turning the ball over and also score more TDs, the offense will really be back on track.
As for the defense, I think we’re heading in the right direction. The LB shuffling is over. Brian Rolle has proven to be a solid WLB. He is making some rookie mistakes, but also makes his presence felt. I’m happy with what we’ve seen from him so far. Jamar Chaney was awful vs SF, but played better last week. Maybe getting that INT will boost his confidence. His presence at least seems to stabilize the LBs. And Moise Fokou doesn’t play a ton because we’re in Nickel so much, but he’s been solid in the past couple of games. We need him on Sunday. The Skins will want to run the ball a lot.
Nate Allen is coming off the best game by a Safety so far this year. He didn’t do anything that can’t be repeated. Really, he just looked healthy, confident, and aggressive. Kurt Coleman came off the bench in the 4th and played with a spark. That was the Kurt Coleman from late last year. The guy from the first 3 weeks this year didn’t look like the same player. If he keeps the job and plays like that again, suddenly I’m feeling a lot better about the Safeties.
Juan Castillo has done a lot of different things with the CBs this year as he tried to figure out what to do. He seemed to finally get the best out of Nnamdi on Sunday. The 3rd down defense was awful early on, but Buffalo was 0 for 8 after that. That wasn’t all blind luck. The coverage was more aggressive and that’s something we all want to see. Whatever changes were made…worked.
Getting Darryl Tapp and Juqua Parker closer to 100 percent will help the defense this week. Our DL needs a rotation to be at its best. Parker played last week, but didn’t have much burst. Going against a QB with a quick release meant he wasn’t very effective. Rex Grossman will hold the ball. If JP’s ankle heals a bit more, that will help him be more of a factor this week. Obviously getting Trent back after the bye week will give us a huge boost.
I’m not delusional. We’re still 1-4 and that’s reality. However, we’ve adjusted the lineup. We’ve done some different things schematically. We’re going through the trial and error process and it appears we’re figuring some things out. Some of the answers seem to finally be pointing in the right direction for us. Proof will be in the pudding and that means winning on Sunday. A win wouldn’t make us suddenly a good team, but it would be a start. We just need to eliminate turnovers and build off Sunday’s positives.
As for the Skins and turnovers…they’ve forced just 6 this year, which has them ranked down in the 20s. We face Dallas after the bye. They’ve got just 6 takeaways. The next 2 games will give us a good chance to show that we aren’t addicted to giving the ball away.
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Regarding the whole Wide-9 discussion, Derek put up a post at Iggles Blog about that. He’s not writing every day. Follow him on Twitter for updates when he does post.
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We aren’t going to hire a defensive consultant. Nice topic for a day, but isn’t going to happen.
A couple of people asked me if it even should. Is there any proof it does help? The track record certainly isn’t great. As much as we aren’t happy with Castillo right now, we’re a few tackles by Jarrad Page away from Sunday being a different game. No coach or consultant is going to solve that. Okay, wait. If he told Juan to cut/bench Page I guess that would help.