Welcome to Other View, a perspective from members of the media, celebrity Eagles fans and Eagles alumni on the state of the 2014 Eagles that runs here weekly during the season. Today: Howard Eskin, who has been a fixture in the Philadelphia sports media landscape since 1982. He is currently the sports anchor at FOX 29, a host on SportsRadio 94WIP and the sideline reporter for the Eagles' radio broadcasts. You can follow him on Twitter @howardeskin ...*
I look at the Eagles with a 5-2 record and think they are positioned in pretty good shape, but also feeling that if they cut down on the mistakes, specifically the turnovers, they could be a 7-0 team right now. The Eagles are better than every team they've played, but that doesn't mean you win the games. They are better than San Francisco – a team that is not as good as many felt they would be coming into the season – and they are better than Arizona, a team that struggles to score offensively.
So this is a 5-2 team right now and the NFC East race is tight. Dallas stumbled on Monday night against Washington and the Cowboys will be good this year, but I don't expect them to maintain the pace they've had to this point in the season. It's going to come down to the Eagles and the Cowboys in the division, and it's going to be a lot of fun with those two games, with Seattle in between, in a span of 17 days.
The talk of the town, as always, is the quarterback. Nick Foles needs to continue to grow and cut down on his mistakes. That's an obvious statement. This is his first full season as a starting quarterback in the league, so let's remember that. The Eagles aren't going to change quarterbacks. Nick is the guy.
That said, it's important that his play improves. The Eagles can't live with all of the turnovers. We were spoiled by last year and the 27 touchdowns and two interceptions. That is never going to happen again. And we can live with a bad throw here and there, but the poor decisions are concerning. When you say, "I'm going to learn from that," and then turn the ball over twice the following week, it's fair to ask questions.
Nick knows it. He's a hard worker. He's a smart guy. I'm still convinced that he is the quarterback here and that he's the quarterback for the future, but only if he gets better – and shows it each week – and cuts down on the giveaways.
The other problem has been the red zone offense. The numbers are very poor. The coaches say that it's a combination of things as to why the Eagles aren't scoring more touchdowns, and that's probably true. Somehow, Chip Kelly has to find a way to remedy the offense in the red zone. I was torn on Sunday in Arizona about whether to kick the field goal at the end of the game or go for it on fourth down near the goal line. I wondered just how aggressive Chip would be, and as it turned out, the strategy didn't work.
I wonder if it's mental at this point in the red zone. I don't know what the problems are and I don't know what the answer is. The receivers are big enough. It's about making plays. It's about execution. And if the Eagles score some touchdowns moving forward, they are going to be awfully hard to beat. The defense is improved and the special teams are outstanding. All the Eagles are missing is better ball security and touchdowns in the red zone.
The schedule isn't easy. I think the Eagles will win in Houston and then beat Carolina at home. If they can steal a game in Green Bay, then you can kind of forget about the loss in Arizona or at San Francisco a little bit.
In the end, I think the Eagles can win 11 games and win the NFC East. And if the Eagles win the division, and clean up some things along the way, they can play their way into the Super Bowl, because there isn't a dominant team in the NFC this season.