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Rested Eagles shoot for 14-0 after bye under Reid

Rested Eagles shoot for 14-0 after bye under Reid

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Whether they're cellar-dwellers or Super Bowl contenders, the Philadelphia Eagles don't lose after a bye.

Under coach Andy Reid, the Eagles are 13-0 after a week off since 1999. Stretching that streak to 14 won't be easy, however. The Eagles (3-3) host Atlanta (6-0) on Sunday.

``I think the coaches use the bye to figure out what works and what doesn't, what are we excelling at and what we can get better at,'' quarterback Michael Vick said, trying to explain the team's success. ``That is just coaches and their philosophies and the way they think. It definitely helps and it's something that you have to do. Hopefully, we can get this thing turned around and I'm optimistic that we will.''

While some coaches hold a few practices during the bye, Reid always give the Eagles the entire week off. Some players stick around the practice facility, work out and get treatment. Others stay away for the whole week, spend time with family or take a short vacation.

There's no second-guessing Reid on his approach. His formula has certainly worked well through the years.

``I definitely feel refreshed,'' All-Pro running back LeSean McCoy said. ``It's a whole week to just relax. I'm feeling better.''

Winning their first game after a bye has usually kickstarted a strong run for Philadelphia. Since 1999, the Eagles are 84-39-1 after their bye and only 45-45 before it. They've had a winning record after the bye 12 of the last 13 seasons.

``You just have to come out fresh and start fast,'' said Vick, who is 11-4 as a starter after the bye over the last two years. ``You just have to get better. I can't attribute it to anything. It's just me trying to play good football.''

Coming off consecutive losses on the final play after blowing fourth-quarter leads, the Eagles' coaching staff had plenty to work on the past two weeks. Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo was fired and replaced by Todd Bowles, who was the secondary coach.

Bowles didn't have time to make major changes or install a new system, so he used the extra time to tweak a few things. The defense is ranked 12th in total yards and 11th in points allowed, which is better than average in both categories. Their biggest problem has been protecting leads late in games.

``It was more or less, in your bye week, you get to self-scout a lot and you get to see a lot of things that you're doing wrong and right and you try to fix the things you're doing wrong,'' Bowles said. ``I don't think it was more or less of us being unpredictable. It's just more or less of us correcting the things that we need to correct that people are taking advantage of.''

On the offensive side, the problem is simple. Turnovers have hurt the Eagles, especially inside the red zone. They have 17 giveaways, including five inside the opponents' 20.

That's why the Eagles are 30th in scoring - their worst ranking under Reid - despite being seventh into total yards.

``You make adjustments every week in this league. Every week. The bye week gives you some time to spend on some of the fine details,'' offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said. ``There was a host of fine details, virtually with every player and then as a unit and as an offense, to certainly try and help, most of which was focused on the turnover ratio.

``We want to try and help there just a little bit.''

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NOTES: RG Danny Watkins is doubtful for Sunday's game because of an ankle injury. Watkins missed practice the last two days. Rookie Dennis Kelly, a fifth-round pick out of Purdue, would start in his place. Reid called Watkins' injury a ``chronic'' one. ... If Kelly starts, the Eagles will have two new starters on their offensive line. King Dunlap is replacing Demetress Bell at LT. ``Any player who is playing at this level, you have to have confidence in him,'' Vick said.

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Brian MacLellan got his day with the Stanley Cup over the weekend

Brian MacLellan got his day with the Stanley Cup over the weekend

Washington Capitals GM Brian MacLellan finally got his day. 

Over the weekend, MacLellan played host to the Stanley Cup, taking it home to his offseason house in Minnesota. 

MacLellan brought the Cup to Powderhorn Park, where a youth hockey tournament was being put on by the Herb Brooks Foundation. 

MacLellean talked with local media about the experience:

"It's a fun day, a fun day to see people react to the Cup," MacLellan told FOX 9 TV. "You know, it brings a lot of smiles to people's faces, people that sometimes don't get a chance to get close to it are getting an opportunity and it's fun to watch them enjoy it."

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10 Questions for 10 Days: After Josh Norman, what's the plan at cornerback?

10 Questions for 10 Days: After Josh Norman, what's the plan at cornerback?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold before the team heads to Richmond. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

No. 8: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

No. 7: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

No. 6: Is Shawn Lauvao the concern, or is the issue bigger on the O-Line?

No. 5: What can the Redskins expect from Derrius Guice?

No. 4: After Josh Norman, what's the plan at cornerback?

In a way, the Redskins are quite lucky. Not every team in the NFL has an unequivocal No. 1 corner. Washington has that in Josh Norman

His interception numbers in 2017 did not get the job done, but he still played quite well. Norman got targeted significantly less than the league average, which means NFL quarterbacks actively chose not to mess with former All Pro. 

Still, Norman needs more interceptions than last year. He grabbed none, and he will admit that he must create more turnovers. 

Regardless, Norman is not the Redskins question mark at cornerback. What happens after Norman is the question. 

Washington moved quick this offseason to lock up Quinton Dunbar off restricted free agency. Dunbar has size and range, and has looked quite capable, in spots. He doesn't have a ton of experience, however, and will be asked to start this fall. The team also signed veteran Orlando Scandrick - from the Cowboys - as a likely nickel/slot corner. 

Second-year man Fabian Moreau will be expected to take a significant step forward this fall. The Redskins would like very much to be able to primarily rely on Norman, Moreau and Dunbar while asking less of Scandrick. 

Don't forget Washington lost Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland this offseason. Fuller got moved to Kansas City as part of the Alex Smith trade, and Breeland remains a free agent.

Redskins coaches won't tell the exact truth, but the the team would love for Moreau to emerge opposite Norman and let Dunbar play in the slot. Or maybe let Moreau emerge in the slot, like Fuller did in 2017, and Dunbar opposite Norman. Scandrick hasn't played a full season since 2013, and the 'Skins brass can't expect that in 2018 for the 31-year-old corner. 

Josh Holsey, Adonis Alexander and Greg Stroman will provide depth at the bottom of the roster. That's two seventh-round picks and a supplemental sixth round pick. While each player provides reasons for optimism, it's hard to think any of the three young players will provide immediate help. They're better focused fighting for a roster spot than a starting spot. 

In 2017, cornerback ranked as a strength for the Redskins. 

In 2018, it's a big question. Elite play from Norman could change much of that equation. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

— Contract years: Redskins face 5 tough decisions 

— Dead Money: Trades, misses and mistakes hurt Redskins salary cap

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