Philadelphia Eagles News

Mornhinweg Explains Key To Red Zone

INDIANAPOLIS -- It's no secret what the Eagles must do to improve their offense in 2012 - reduce turnovers.

The Eagles had 38 total turnovers last season. Only one team - Tampa Bay with 40 - had more. Even more disturbing is that the Eagles turned the ball over a league-high nine times in the red zone. The Eagles, despite the red zone turnover issues, ranked 14th in the league in red zone offense with a 51.5 percent touchdown rate. However, the Eagles actually ranked fifth in the league in red zone scoring with 298 points. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg points to the turnovers as the way to improve the red zone offense.

"If we just minimize that to a normal amount, we'd be dynamic in the red zone," Mornhinweg said at the Scouting Combine. "We'll continue to work on taking care of the football in all aspects, but especially in the red zone."

Quarterback Michael Vick turned the ball over 18 times in 2011. That was nine times more than in the 2010 season when he was the AP Comeback Player of the Year and the runner-up for the Offensive Player of the Year Award. If there's a reason for hope, Giants quarterback Eli Manning was turnover-prone in 2010, but reduced that total by 10 this past season as New York won you know what. Mornhinweg can't wait for Vick's first full offseason as the starting quarterback with the Eagles.

"We're excited. He's been in the building virtually every day in the offseason," Mornhinweg said. "He's excited. It's not only important for Michael, but for all of our players and especially some of those younger players that have been with us for just one or two years this offseason."

Mornhinweg was also impressed with Vick's performance in the final four games of the season - all wins for the Eagles. Vick posted a QB rating of 100-or-better in each of the final three games. It was the first three-game streak as a starting quarterback with a QB rating of 100-or-more in his career. Mornhinweg noted that Vick was also impressive early in the season, but it just didn't show in the team's record.

"He was pretty hot early. He was on track at one point to throw for 4,000 and rush for 1,000. That's unique," Mornhinweg said. "Early in the season, he got better at many things. You couldn't see it because of the score. Certainly, it paid off those last four games. Our whole football team played very well and Mike managed the game beautifully."

The Eagles agreed to terms Thursday with veteran quarterback Trent Edwards, who will battle Mike Kafka for the backup quarterback position. Mornhinweg liked Edwards' arm strength.

"He can really throw the football," Mornhinweg said. "We remember him coming out of Stanford a few years ago, got beat up there pretty good in college. He did a nice job with Buffalo when he had the opportunity. He, again, can really throw the football. Good decision maker. A pocket guy. Really smart, so we're excited to have him."

Kafka, however, is one of those young players who have not yet had a full offseason with the team. Mornhinweg praised Kafka's progress from his rookie season in 2010 to 2011, which is when he got his first taste of live in-game action.

"He's got some qualities that are important - decision-making, accuracy, timing," Mornhinweg said. "His decision-making process has been pretty good with most of the opportunities that he's had. He's a diligent worker and he's got a high level of skill and ability. I think the future is bright for Mike Kafka."

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