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The Read-Option: Alonso's Progress


Good afternoon, Eagles fans. We're now just three days away from gameday, and the Eagles are hard at work preparing to face the Bills. Take a look at the latest content ahead of this weekend's game in the December 10th edition of the Read-Option ...

More Offense Needed In Final 2015 Quarter - Dave Spadaro

"This isn't a micro concern for the Philadelphia Eagles. It isn't about how many carries this running back gets or how many receptions that receiver has. It's about total offensive productivity and, frankly, the Eagles haven't had enough of it in this 2015 season.

That's what head coach Chip Kelly expressed during his press conference prior to Wednesday's training session at the NovaCare Complex, one that centered on reports that running back DeMarco Murray went to Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie after the win in New England and expressed frustration over his inactivity in the game and, perhaps, the season.

Murray is the micro story, and with all due respect to him and to every other player who wants the football more - what players don't want more touches? - the macro story needs to be the focus. The Eagles rank 29th in the NFL in yards gained per play with 5.12. They are 20th in the NFL in red zone touchdown efficiency, 53.13 percent. There have been too many giveaways, 22. The team has averaged 23.2 points per game, 15th in the league.

'We're not exactly where we want to be offensively from any aspect,' Kelly said. 'I don't think anybody feels we're where we want to be offensively. I'm frustrated, alright? But when you look at that game, it was a unique football game. We scored 14 points in the third quarter with an interception return and a punt return, and we're not having success on the offensive side of the ball, so be it. I'm pretty jacked up about that because we just scored 14 points.'

Kelly has the big picture in mind with the final quarter of the season ahead. He has his team in the mix in the NFC East with sights set on Buffalo and the aggressive, attacking defense that Rex Ryan brings to Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday. If the offense is functioning as Kelly and the Eagles want, there are plenty of touches to go around and plenty of points to be scored."

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McCoy Previews His Return To Philly - Max Rappaport

"LeSean McCoy vividly remembers the cheers from the Philadelphia faithful, he remembers the tight-knit bond he established with his teammates and he remembers with pride the success he had during his six years as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.

A native of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, McCoy grew up rooting for the Eagles. He attended the University of Pittsburgh, where he rushed for 2,816 yards and 35 touchdowns in two seasons. After foregoing his final two seasons of college eligibility, he was selected by Philadelphia in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft. Once in the pros, he quickly established himself as one of the best running backs in the league, rushing for a franchise-record 6,792 yards and 44 touchdowns in six seasons.

But after tying his worst mark in rushing efficiency (4.2 yards per carry) since his rookie campaign in 2014, McCoy was traded in March to the Buffalo Bills, the team the Eagles will host this weekend. On Wednesday, the three-time Pro Bowl selection spoke to members of the Philadelphia media via teleconference about his thoughts on returning to the city where his NFL life began.

'I had a blast, man. I really did. The fans were excellent, my teammates, I played with some great players, learned from some great players,' said McCoy, who has 792 yards rushing and five total touchdowns in 2015. 'Being in that City of Philadelphia, the fans are cool and there's so much to do there, I really had a blast there. ... And the media's always good.'

That last part, soaked in a thick coat of sarcasm, garnered a hearty swell of laughter from the reporters huddled in the media room at the NovaCare Complex."

Conference Call: Rex Ryan

Other Views

Eagles Happy With Progress Of Alonso - Zach Berman,* Philadelphia Inquirer*

"It might be remembered as the 'LeSean McCoy trade,' but the deal that sent McCoy to Buffalo also brought linebacker Kiko Alonso to Philadelphia.

The two will meet Sunday when the Bills visit Philadelphia. And there will likely be times when the player the Eagles traded must be tackled by the player the Eagles acquired.

'The fact that I got traded for him has no relevance at all,' Alonso said. 'It's really that the guy's a great player, we're going to have to be on top of our game, run to the ball and play sound football to stop that guy.'

The Bills might not have as easy a time offering praise for Alonso this season. The linebacker missed most of training camp and the preseason with a knee injury. He missed five games this season with a knee injury. And since his return, Alonso has been inconsistent while working his way into a larger role.

He has just 21 tackles in seven games. Other than a highlight-worthy, one-handed interception in the season opener, Alonso has not been involved in any turnovers. He was in coverage on one of New England's touchdowns during the past week.

'I think I did alright,' Alonso said of his performance to date. 'Obviously, I gave up a touchdown this past week. But that's how the game goes. You give up some plays. You've got to keep grinding, keep getting better.'

Building A Secondary - Tommy Lawlor,

"You usually build a secondary over time. The guys need to play together to get comfortable in the scheme. The Eagles are showing some positive signs this year. The first thing is that the team made wholesale changes and brought in a lot of bodies to compete for jobs. Nobody was handed anything.

Byron Maxwell got off to a bad start, but in retrospect it wasn't as bad as we thought. Julio Jones ate him alive in the opener. We were shocked. Jones then proceeded to light up every DB for the first half of the year. He was on pace to set records before the Falcons started slumping. Maxwell was shaken by that game and it has taken time for him to improve, but he has gotten better.

Nolan Carroll is the ultimate try-hard guy, but teams started to really target him in recent weeks. His injury may have been a blessing in disguise for the Eagles. It forced Eric Rowe onto the field. He did well in his first start.

To be fair, there were some drops in there. It wasn't like Rowe was Troy Vincent/Eric Allen. But he battled all game and never looked overwhelmed. The more he plays, the more comfortable he should get. And confidence is huge for DBs. They all get beat. The best DBs are so delusional they won't acknowledge getting beat and think they are perfect.

Rowe has big time potential because of his size, speed and athleticism. He could develop into a very good CB. Or time may show that he's only so-so there and his future is really at FS. We'll see how that goes. The key is to get him on the field and find out."

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