Philadelphia Eagles News

Much To Like About These Eagles

Win or lose, good game or otherwise, the rule in Chip Kelly's locker room, adapted by every man, remains the same: We move on together. The next game is the focus.

In light of the absolutely awful Sunday experience at Lambeau Field, the Eagles applied the same approach on Monday: They were thoroughly beaten by the Packers, up and down and in every phase. They acknowledge it. They absorb it. They learn from it.

And they move on.

Fans, of course, hold on to the outcome for days and the media discuss what happened and the conversation between now and the end of the week isn't going to be very pleasant. But that's all outside the NovaCare Complex. That's all external chatter.

Inside, the Eagles have six games remaining in the regular season and, at 7-3 and tied for first place in the NFC East, they're in a good spot. The Eagles control their playoff fate. They incurred no new injuries in Sunday's loss.

The present and the future is bright.

I'm taking the optimistic approach here. It's just the way it is here, from my perspective. The Eagles lost in every way at Lambeau Field to a team that was decidedly better on that day. And there is a ton to work on with this football team. Improvement is needed in every area.

Still, though, 7-3 is 7-3 with a lot to play for between now and the end of December.

"We're not going to stop working, or quit, or anything like that," wide receiver Jeremy Maclin said after Sunday's loss. "It's just one game. Things didn't go our way, but we'll be back on the field on Tuesday looking to correct things and we'll move on."

The reality is that the Eagles can improve in every phase of their game, so let's discuss a couple of areas that took a step back on Sunday and that will need to play well this week against Tennessee.

1. Pass Coverage

The Eagles change up their coverages all the time and they move their personnel around as coordinator Bill Davis does an excellent job in deception, but the bread and butter here is a single-high safety look, with another safety in the box and the cornerbacks close to the line of scrimmage in single coverage. That puts a lot of responsibility on the cornerbacks, and that's just the way it is.

To improve the pass coverage, the Eagles must generate the pass rush. It's something they did very well in the six games prior to Green Bay, and not coincidentally the pass coverage was pretty darn good. It all goes hand in hand here. The Eagles need to get to the quarterback. With Tony Romo (twice) and Russell Wilson ahead, the Eagles face quarterbacks down the stretch who have quick releases and who can also stand in the pocket and beat defenses.

"The name of the game is disrupting the quarterback and getting to him, and any defense that doesn't do that, no matter how good you are at cornerback, is going to have trouble," linebacker Connor Barwin said. "We've been getting after it pretty well. We'll keep coming."

2. Ball Security

After a blemish-free game in the win over Carolina, the Eagles turned it over four times in Green Bay. This is a season-long topic of conversation and it's a daily focal point in the training sessions.

Can the Eagles hold on to the football for the next six games?

"It's obviously an important part of the game," center Jason Kelce said. "We work on it all the time. We talk about it. It's got to improve for us."

The Eagles had a poor handoff exchange, a snap from Kelce to quarterback Mark Sanchez that was off target and not handled and a pair of Sanchez interceptions to add to the miserable day in Green Bay.

It's also important to include the entire offense in this matter. The Eagles gave up too much pressure in Green Bay, stunting drives with quarterback sacks on three early drives when the offense was moving. The Eagles have moved the ball all season, but they've sure left a lot of points on the field because of mistakes, poor red-zone execution and giveaways.

3. Getting Off To Fast Starts

We see what a difference it makes for teams to play with early leads. The Eagles controlled Carolina, for example, from the start of the win at Lincoln Financial Field. In Green Bay, the Packers went up 17-0 and the Eagles just couldn't get anything going to close the gap.

Fast starts are critical, indeed. To stave off a Tennessee team that has struggled all season, the Eagles need to get points on the board early and play sound defense. The Eagles rank second in the NFL with 71 first-quarter points scored (Green Bay has 107 points scored) this season, so they've done a good job of it overall and it's one of the reasons the team is 7-3 and tied atop the division.

A real problem earlier in the season when the Eagles came back from halftime deficits against Jacksonville and Indianapolis to win, it hadn't been much of an issue (the Eagles are tied for the ninth in the NFL with 78 second-quarter points) as the team won four of its previous five games before heading to Lambeau Field.

There, of course, it all fell apart. In every phase.

The Eagles don't want to play catch-up football down the stretch, particularly on the road against NFC East rivals.

Life goes on here after the loss to the Packers. The Eagles have a lot at stake in this 2014 season and the goal remains the same as when the year began. Tennessee is next, coming to town on Sunday, and the Eagles must get their focus right to get back on the winning side of things as the one-week-at-a-time season continues.

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