The Eagles offense was undone last week in San Diego by its inability to convert short-yardage and red zone opportunities. The Eagles were 0-for-3 when they needed 2 yards or less on third down. In the red zone, the Eagles scored six on their final two chances, but settled for field goals on their first three trips.
It's only fitting that the Eagles play in Chicago this week. Last season, the Eagles were denied three times from the 1-yard line, including on fourth down, in the fourth quarter in a 24-20 loss.
"We all remember what happened when we went up to Chicago, the problems that we had up there," left guard Todd Herremans said. "It's a new year, a new offensive line. Hopefully, we'll be able to knock those things out, especially after last week and not have those questions asked after the game."
There is debate over why the Eagles struggled last week. Is it personnel? Is it the playcalling? Is it the offensive scheme? Herremans explained the frustration of seeing the plays work in practice, but falter on gameday.
"It's not the scheme. It's just the consistency with your technique and knowing who he needs to block and where you have to go," Herremans said. "That's why it's frustrating because you go through practice, everything looks crisp and good. Then you get in stressful parts of the game, sometimes you get a little scatterbrained. You're thinking about your assignment so much that you slip up on your technique. We just have to go out there and practice and get the muscle memory going, so you don't even have to think about the steps you take and stuff like that. It's all about repetition."
And Herremans doesn't completely buy the idea that the inability to run block in certain situations comes from the fact that more pass plays are called than run plays.
"We practice run blocking all the time. Just because you don't do it 50 times in a game doesn't mean you don't know how to do it," Herremans said. "It's execution, technique and maybe not doing it so much in a game your technique isn't as crisp as you'd like it to be because you've been pass blocking the whole time. It's just something we need to tighten up ourselves."
The Eagles have rushed for over 100 yards as a team three times this season. In two of those games, the Eagles gained at least 180 yards (at Carolina, vs. Giants). Still, in both of those games, the Eagles passed more than they ran in the first half. It was a 65/35 split vs. Carolina and a 57/43 split vs. the Giants.
Last week in San Diego, the Eagles threw the ball 25 times in the first half and ran the ball eight times. The Eagles also trailed 14-0 at one point and were able to move the ball, but not in the red zone.
To Herremans, it doesn't matter how many times a certain play is called as long as it works.
"With the run-pass balance, whatever's working we're cool with," Herremans said. "If we're out there slinging the ball and things are working like Donovan (McNabb) was last week that's not a problem with us. Last week the pass was working, we just stalled out when we got down into the red zone."