On Monday afternoon, Eagles head coach Chip Kelly met with the media at the NovaCare Complex to discuss some of the findings from the film of Sunday's 40-17 loss to Arizona. Here are four quick takeaways from Kelly's media session ...
On The Eagles' Run Defense
Arizona's passing attack was the biggest topic among reporters inside the Eagles' locker room leading up to the game, but it was the Cardinals' running game that dominated on Sunday, as rookie David Johnson ran for 187 yards and three touchdowns.
According to Kelly, inconsistent tackling was the biggest reason for the porous run defense.
"I think we did not play well in that stretch when we played Tampa Bay, but I think after Thanksgiving we got things straightened out," Kelly said. "I thought we played really well in rush defense against Buffalo who had a really good rushing attack coming in here. We tackled better as a group. If you look at the last two games, we tackled better as a group. We didn't tackle very well yesterday against Arizona, and that hurt us.
"A lot of it is just fundamental – making sure you see your target, your heads up, you're bringing your feet, and you're tackling with your arms and wrapping up. There's a lot that's involved in it and it's frustrating to everybody because we've been good at it at times this year and then there are times where we haven't been good at it at all, the Tampa Bay game and the Arizona game, specifically."
On Eagles' Running Back Rotation
While the rushing defense was a key topic on Monday, so too was the Eagles' rushing offense. As a team, the Eagles only rushed the ball 19 times by design and averaged just 3.7 yards per carry. In order to get all of the running backs more involved, Kelly explained that the team needs to do a better job of rushing the ball as a team.
"We need to run the ball more consistently for us to be good on the offensive side of the ball," Kelly said. "When we get into those games where we're just throwing and we're not running the ball, obviously the numbers are going to not distribute the way that anybody wants it to happen. For us to be good, we need to run the ball better than that and we need to get more carries for all of our guys."
On Zach Ertz's Play
Two Eagles receiving targets, Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz, served as bright spots in an otherwise unimpressive performance by the Eagles on Sunday. Asked about Ertz's recent resurgence, Kelly pointed to the third-year tight end being more comfortable in the offense and healthier than he was at the beginning of the season.
"He started the season off with that core muscle injury and had surgery and literally wasn't cleared until late in the week of the first game," Kelly said about Ertz. "It's not something when you're cleared that you're 100 percent going to jump in, but I think you've seen him improve and seen him get stronger as the season's gone along."
On The Short Week Ahead Of Washington
In order for the Eagles to keep their playoff hopes alive, they need to turn things around and beat Washington on a short week. The Eagles must win on Saturday night at Lincoln Financial Field, but Kelly did explain that the short week does have an effect on the team's weekly schedule.
"A day changes everything, so tomorrow will be Wednesday for us and everything just gets accelerated a day for us," Kelly said. "Today is really like a Tuesday for us and tomorrow is Wednesday in terms of what our schedule will be and what we'll be on the field and meeting-wise and walk-through and all of that other stuff that we don't normally have two days after a game".