It was a refrain repeated far too often in the DBC (Days Before Chip), so relating anything from previous seasons to the 2013 preseason is something that Chip Kelly doesn't care to discuss. He isn't happy that the Eagles committed two turnovers on offense and another on special teams to mar the comeback 31-24 win over the Jaguars, and the head coach knows his team must stop the miscues.
"Our own worst enemy," is how Kelly termed it.
"It has to stop, and it's up to us," said wide receiver DeSean Jackson, offering a player's perspective. "Chip can talk about it, and he does, but it's up to us. We have to tighten it up, because turnovers hurt us so much last season."
A Damaris Johnson fumble on a punt return, a Michael Vick interception when he tried to throw the ball away, and a Bryce Brown fumble that went through the end zone to put a damper on a brilliant 70-yard drive early in the third quarter were the plays that the coaches will harp on in film review, because they were the ones that cost the Eagles points, that forced the team to play catch up in the fourth quarter
"We know we can move the football, but we can't move the football if we keep shooting ourselves in the foot," said Kelly. "We've got to stay out of the penalty game and we have to stay out of the turnover game."
Jacksonville's defense went after Vick with a series of movement up front -- slanting at the line of scrimmage and calling some twists and stunts -- and the high-octane offense took a couple of series to get going. Once it did, the Eagles moved the ball up and down the field, with drives stalled only by mistakes.
Buoyed by the return of left tackle Jason Peters, the Eagles controlled the line of scrimmage after the sluggish start.
In the big picture, there was a lot of yin and yang taken from the third preseason game. Once again the Eagles rolled to more than 400 yards of offense, gaining 452 total net yards, but Kelly said he isn't a "stat guy." What he wants is points, points and more points.
"It's going to come with hard work and practice," said Jackson. "We're going to take it upon ourselves to make it right. We can't keep doing this to ourselves."
Vick wasn't as sharp in this preseason game as he was in the previous two, but he still completed 15 of 23 passes for 184 yards and a touchdown, a bullet to Riley Cooper. Vick also ran 7 times for 53 yards in a half, plus one series. This go-go-go offense works and it decimates defenses if the Eagles stay out of third-and-long situations and if they protect the football.
"We all have to be cognizant of it and if we do that, the sky's the limit. It's better for it to happen now," said Vick.
Teams are going to put their pressure packages in to try to hurry Vick and force mistakes, so he has to keep his cool and live for another play. A key to the entire equation is to keep conditioning at a supremely high level to keep up with the pace of the offense. Vick is the quarterback and Kelly knows that in Vick he has a quarterback who brings the kind of multiple skills that drives defenses crazy.
All of that matters only if the Eagles take care of the football. Two weeks remain before the opener at Washington. What can the Eagles do to work on their ball security between now and then?
"It's something to work on every day and it is something we have to take upon ourselves," said wide receiver Jason Avant. "We certainly can't expect to win games if we give the ball away. It's a priority to improve here."
- Defensively, the Eagles had some goood moments -- 6 quarterback sacks and a Connor Barwin interception that the offense turned into seven points -- but they also missed too many tackles and allowed Jacksonville to gain 184 yards of offense in the first half. This is a work in progress.
- Did you notice, dept: Nate Allen and rookie Earl Wolff alternated series at safety, so the competition there is very much open.
- Damaris Johnson has a 62-yard punt return, a 37-yard punt return and a 61-yard kickoff return in the three preseason games. His fumble was costly on Saturday night, no doubt about it, but the kid has great big-play skills. He is averaging 21.3 yards on punt returns and 27.2 yards on kickoff returns in the preseason.
- Nick Foles was outstanding, completing 10 of 11 passes for 112 yards and leading a 99 1/2-yard drive in the fourth quarter to score the winning points. Terrific outing. The Eagles no doubt have two quarterbacks who can win games.
- Jason Avant made a spectacular, one-handed grab on a screen pass that was tipped, and he was totally nonchalent about it after the game. "I just kept my eyes on the ball and reached out and grabbed it," he said. "It was concentration." Avant has 10 catches, a team best, for 120 yards in these three games.
- He's on the roster bubble, but end/linebacker Everette Brown has a couple of sacks, good pressure and a nice burst off the ball. He's stated his case to make the roster.
- Bryce Brown is an extraordinary talent who has to find a way to keep the football high and tight. He rushed for 92 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries, but had that fumble that went through the end zone.
- The Eagles ran for 172 yards on 34 attempts. They attempted 34 passes. Not bad balance. I know it's just the preseason, but is this the most excited you have been about the offense since, well, 2004 and the Terrell Owens season?
- Jason Babin got him once early, but rookie Lane Johnson did a nice job against a veteran Pro Bowl defensive end. Johnson is the real deal, folks.
- Cornerback Brandon Hughes suffered a fractured left hand, and combined with the hand injury suffered by Curtis Marsh, leaves the Eagles a bit thin this week and potentially for the opener, at the cornerback position.