Faced with a short week coming off of Sunday's 45-17 loss to the Buccaneers, the Eagles will look to put that deflating performance behind them and notch a much-needed win on the road against the Lions Thursday afternoon on Thanksgiving. Before practice on Monday, head coach Chip Kelly addressed the media to talk about the state of the team.
Here are a few key takeaways ...
Tampa Bay Adjusted Their Defense Early
On their opening drives of the game, the Eagles recovered from an early gaff – fumbling the ball away on their third play from scrimmage but knocking the ball loose from the recovering Bucs player's grip moments later to regain possession – and drove down the field and score on a 39-yard catch-and-run by Josh Huff. But after that play, the second-year wideout wasn't targeted again and finished with just 17 snaps played on the day.
On Monday, Chip Kelly noted that after that early touchdown that Tampa Bay's defense switched up its defensive strategy, moving away from man coverage and relying more upon cover 2. That change prompted the Eagles to move away from using Huff and the rest of their outside wide receivers the rest of the day.
"They had guys up in the face of our outside receivers, safeties high over the top, so obviously you're going to work the ball inside a little bit more against that coverage," he said. "To make a concerted effort to throw a ball to an outside receiver when they're in cover 2 is not very smart."
Kiko And DeMeco Coming Along
The Eagles entered this season with one of the deepest inside linebacker rotations in the NFL, and that was *before *rookie Jordan Hicks burst onto the scene as one of the best young defensive players in the league. But injuries to Hicks, who was put on injured reserve on two weeks ago, Mychal Kendricks, who missed three games with a hamstring injury earlier this year, and also to Kiko Alonso (knee) and DeMeco Ryans (hamstring) have tested that depth tremendously.
Kelly talked about the status of Alonso and Ryans, noting that while both are making progress neither is ready to play a full game yet. Kendricks was in on 56 of the Eagles' 78 defensive snaps against the Bucs, while Ryans played just 41. Alonso notched a season-high 54 snaps against Tampa Bay.
"I still think we're bringing [Alonso] along in terms of him progressing. Same with DeMeco," he said.
The Disappointment Of 4-6 Is Real, But Nobody's Giving Up
Coming into this season with Super Bowl aspirations, the Eagles have been sobered by their 4-6 start to the year. Sitting just one game out of first place in the NFC East, though, they know that there's still time to turn things around.
"No one's happy about what our record is right now," Kelly said. "All we can do is prepare and get ready to play Detroit… We lost two games [in a row]. I think sometimes people panic and throw the baby out with the bath water. I think we have a really good football team, and I'm very confident in those football players."
Still No Update On Sam Bradford
Sam Bradford missed his first game as an Eagle on Sunday after suffering a concussion and injury to his non-throwing shoulder the week prior. He participated in individual drills on Monday for the first time since the injury, but his status for Thursday's game remains uncertain. As the week progresses, that situation should be clarified.