3 Things Philadelphia Eagles Must Fix to Make the Playoffs
The Philadelphia Eagles were on their bye week in Week 7 and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
The Eagles are currently on a two-game losing streak after starting out 3-1 and now have to prepare for a tough matchup at home against the Atlanta Falcons.
The Giants have a game lead of 1.5 in the NFC East. The Eagles have a lot to work on if they plan on catching the Giants. If the Eagles continue playing the way they are, they won’t make it to the playoffs and the Andy Reid era in Philly will be over.
In order for the Eagles to presumably save Reid’s job, the offense and defense must come out of their bye week more explosive than ever, and that starts with handing the Falcons their first loss.
Pressuring the Quarterback
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The 2012 Eagles defense is not the same defense fans saw during the 2011 season.
The team racked up 50 sacks, 29 of them coming from Trent Cole and Jason Babin.
This year, they only have seven sacks, which is tied for 30th in the league. After six games, Babin and Cole only have four total sacks.
New defensive coordinator Todd Bowles has an extra week to either change the current defensive scheme or help the players understand the current one.
The blame isn’t solely on the defensive line, but getting pressure on the quarterback can certainly change the outcome of a game. A sack or two early in the game will have the opposing quarterback on the edge of his feet and will force him to throw the ball sooner than he would normally want to.
Protecting Michael Vick
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It’s no surprise that the Eagles' biggest problem is holding on to the ball.
The Eagles are missing a key piece on their offensive line, center Jason Kelce. The sixth-round draft pick is the anchor of that line and keeps Michael Vick off his back.
In 2011, the offensive line allowed 32 sacks, tied for ninth in the league. However, this year is a much different story. In only six games, the line has already allowed 17 sacks.
As a result, Vick has been under a lot of pressure. He’s forced to either throw the ball when he shouldn’t or run away from pass-rushers. Vick has thrown eight interceptions and lost six fumbles.
You could put all of the blame on Vick and his decision making, but the offensive line needs to step up the protection for their quarterback. If not, Vick will be turning the ball over a lot more and could end up seriously hurt.
Change the Offensive Scheme
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Along with better protection from the offensive line, the Eagles need to have a more balanced offense to keep the pressure off Vick.
Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg has an interesting way of calling plays. He runs play-action before fully establishing the run. Because of this, Vick has less time to read defenses and he ends up on the grass or the ball is intercepted.
An even dose of run and pass will make the Eagles a much more explosive offense. LeSean McCoy is an All-Pro running back who has seen his carries decrease over the past three weeks.
Reid and Mornhinweg need to change their offensive scheme. Everyone knows Reid loves to throw the ball, but look where it has got them.
The Eagles need to balance the offense a lot more. LeSean McCoy is an every-down back. He’s not in a timeshare with another player like other starting running backs. Handing the ball off to McCoy will relieve some of the pressure felt by Vick and keep the defenses guessing.