Frank Reich

10 things Eagles need to revive inconsistent offense

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10 things Eagles need to revive inconsistent offense

There are a lot of reasons the Eagles are 4-4 a year after winning the Super Bowl.

Tops on that list?

Points. Not enough of them.

Defensively, the Eagles have had their issues, especially late in the Titans and Panthers games, but the bottom line is, they've allowed the exact same number of points this year after eight games (149) as last year.

The offense, however, has dropped from 26 points per game a year ago to 22. That's a 15 percent decrease.

If the Eagles had scored 26 points in each game this year, they'd have one loss. Their losses have been by 6, 4, 3 and 2 points.

"The reality is we're not getting killed by these teams," Jason Kelce said. "It's three or four plays ultimately making the difference and the more we can stay disciplined and the more we can eliminate mistakes, we're going to win more of these close games. Hopefully, we can start to develop some momentum and make them not close at all. Our defense really isn't paying bad. I'm sure if you asked them they'd say there's things they need to improve on. At the end of the day, we need to put up more points to help them out."

What has to happen for the Eagles' offense to start rolling again?

1. Pass protection

The Eagles ranked 13th last year in the NFL in sacks allowed at 6.4 per 100 pass plays. They're down to 22nd this year at 8.4. Halfway through the season, the Eagles are on pace to allow 52 sacks, which would be their most in 20 years. They've got to sort out their O-line issues, which won't be easy with Lane Johnson out for a few weeks.

2. Running game

The Eagles are averaging just 4.1 yards per carry this year (22nd in NFL) after averaging 4.5 last year (fourth-best). There've been flashes, but they haven't been able to find any consistency with the ground game. No Eagle has had 40 rushing yards in back-to-back weeks all year.

3. Play-calling

Maybe it's the loss of Frank Reich, but Doug Pederson's play-calling magic has been missing, and too often the offense simply has been unable to find its rhythm early. The Eagles are 30th in the NFL with just 21 first-quarter points and 22nd with 77 in the first half. Not easy to recover from those slow starts.

4. Converting 3rd-and-Long 

The Eagles got themselves out of some tough spots last year by converting 29 percent on 3rd-and-10 or longer, third-best in the league. They've tumbled all the way to 12 percent on those plays this year, 28th-best in the league.

5. Scoring at home

The Eagles have failed to score more than 21 points in their first four home games for the first time since 1998, and they've lost two of those games despite allowing 21 and 23 points. They need to get back to dominating at the Linc.

6. Field position

The Eagles' average drive started at the 29.8-yard line last year — third-best in the NFL — but has started at the 25.9-yard line this year — third-worst. This has a lot to do with the lack of takeaways by the defense as well as the return game.

7. Carson on 3rd down

Wentz was best in the NFL on third down last year, with a 123.7 passer rating and 65.3 percent accuracy, and he converted 50 percent of the time. This year, he's down to 59 percent accuracy with a 99.1 rating and 44 percent conversions.

8. Red zone

Wentz last year completed 65 percent in the red zone and converted 60 percent on third down. This year, he's at 53 percent and 23 percent on third down. As a result, the Eagles have dropped from first in the NFL in red-zone scoring last year (66 percent) to 17th (55 percent).

9. Big plays

Last year the Eagles hit on 16 plays of 40 yards or more, including the postseason. This year, they have four. Just in the running game, they had 24 running plays of 20 or more yards last year, including the postseason. They have three this year, none over 21 yards.

10. Turnovers deep in opposing territory

The Eagles committed only three turnovers in 19 games inside the opposing 40 last year. They've already committed six in eight games this year and they probably cost the Eagles the Panthers and Vikings games.

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Eagle Eye Podcast: Does Frank Reich give Colts an edge?

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Eagle Eye Podcast: Does Frank Reich give Colts an edge?

On this edition of Eagle Eye, Derrick Gunn and Barrett Brooks preview the Eagles' game against Colts. Does Frank Reich's history with the Eagles give the Colts any kind of advantage Sunday? What the guys are expecting from Carson Wentz and Jordan Matthews.

How will the NFC East standings look Monday?

Also, the Browns win a game! And Baker Mayfield has some Carson Wentz in him.

1:00 - What to expect from Carson Wentz?
5:00 - Problems Colts may provide.
9:00 - Expectations for Jordan Matthews.
13:30 - Predicting Monday's headlines today.
15:00 - Taking a look at the NFC East games.
18:00 - The Browns win!!!

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Preseason opener 1st chance to see how Eagles adjust to coaching changes

Preseason opener 1st chance to see how Eagles adjust to coaching changes

A first preseason game provides many opportunities.

For the fans (open practice aside), it’s the chance to see their team back on the field in a game setting for the first time in six months. Naturally when you're coming off a Super Bowl title, that anticipation is heightened.

For the players, it all depends. The starters who play will make a brief cameo and get a chance to reacclimate themselves with game speed and work on execution. For the long shots to make the roster, it’s their first shot to make an impression and a name for themselves.

The grouping we tend to forget about in this setting is the coaches.

The Eagles' coaching staff had a pretty significant shake-up this past offseason. These things tend to happen when you get a ring. Out are offensive coordinator Frank Reich (Colts head coach) and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo (Vikings offensive coordinator). Mike Groh is now offensive coordinator, elevated from wide receivers coach, and Press Taylor moves up the food chain from offensive quality control coach to quarterbacks coach. Duce Staley is also taking on a bigger role as the assistant head coach, while still coaching the running backs.  

While Pederson called the plays, Reich and DeFilippo played major roles in the construction of the high-octane Eagles' offense. Reich was an excellent game planner and sounding board for the head coach. DeFilippo was the quarterback whisperer and noted red-zone schemer.    

Fortunately, all three that were promoted are from within, so there is a level of continuity. But change nonetheless. So this first dress rehearsal against another team has an added importance. 

“Obviously you got used to those two guys the last couple of years, and you know for them to take big roles, with Press with the quarterbacks and how he’s worked with them and his involvement now on game day," Pederson said Tuesday. "Mike on the sidelines still being more of a voice in my ear like Frank was, sometimes being the voice of reason. It will be a great working environment. These are all reasons for these games, obviously, now with a couple new coaches in position to work these things out."

The role changes also impact the players.

“You’re really just getting to know each other every day," Nick Foles said. "You’ve heard me talk a lot about football is special because of the relationships, teammates and coaches alike. That’s where you see the bond. It’s not just players, you have to enjoy being around your coach and trust them and I think you got that from the mic’d up stuff from last year when we’re talking to coaches.

"I use the 'Philly Special' play as a great example. Doug and I have a lot of trust in each other, we’ve known each other for a long time, where that conversation if you don’t know each other probably didn’t go that well. But because we know each other, we’re like, 'Let’s do it.' And I use that conversation as an example because that is so important to be a winning team. It’s not just players, it’s everyone in this building getting along."

So maybe Thursday’s first tune-up versus the Steelers holds a little more significance than we thought?

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