Philadelphia Eagles: How the Eagles Can Still Save Their Season
Just as Jeffrey Lurie stated that 8-8 would not be enough to save Andy Reid's job, 3-3 is also an unacceptable start to the season. The Eagles lost winnable games and easily could be 5-1, but turnovers, poor O-Line play and defensive collapses have dug the Eagles into a hole.
Still, they remain only one game behind in the NFC East. The season is by no means over, but there are ways that the team can still save the season and make the postseason. If the Eagles follow these four steps, they could still find themselves in the playoffs in January.
1. Win Their Divisional Games
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The Eagles have won their only divisional game so far against the New York Giants. 1-0 is a good start, but that success must continue to give the team much-needed tie-breakers in the playoff hunt.
Dallas is always a challenge, the Redskins are no pushovers with RG3 leading the way and the Eagles barely beat the Giants, winning by two missed field goals. But it is still a very winnable division for the Eagles, especially considering the Eagles are the division's most complete team on paper.
Last season, the Eagles were just one win away from making the postseason because of their 5-1 NFC East record. If the Eagles can still finish 10-6 or even 9-7, it may be enough to contend for the NFC East crown.
2. Cut Down on Turnovers
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This slide may sound generic, but it is possibly the most important one. Vick is currently averaging over two turnovers a game. Many of those turnovers have been drive-killers as well, taking away much-needed points.
Vick must protect the football at all costs. When he has kept the interceptions down, his fumbles go up. And when he keeps the fumbles down, his interceptions seem to go up.
If Vick can find a way to limit himself to just one turnover a game, as he did in Atlanta, the Eagles would be in much better shape to win ball games.
3. More Blitzing
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Under Jim Johnson, the Eagles defense was feared, and this was largely because of Johnson's use of creative blitzing schemes. But ever since Johnson's death, the Eagles have blitzed less and less every season.
Especially this season. The Eagles rarely blitzed under Juan Castillo and instead relied upon coverages to limit opposing quarterbacks. This usually can only hold opposing offenses for so long. It allowed Matthew Stafford to lead the Lions to a fourth quarter comeback and overtime win as the Eagles gave him far too much comfort in the pocket.
The Eagles' upcoming schedule includes the likes of Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, Eli Manning, Tony Romo and Robert Griffin III. The Eagles cannot sit on their hands and hope that they throw into coverage.
When the D-Line is struggling to generate sacks, you have to dial up the pressure through the blitz. If opposing quarterbacks can get into a rhythm, the Eagles will be hard-pressed to finish with more than an 8-8 record.
4. Get the Ball to DeSean Jackson
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It has often been said that the Eagles need to run the ball to win games. But what is just as important as that is to get DeSean Jackson into the end zone.
When Jackson scores one or more touchdowns, the Eagles win the majority of the time. But this season, Jackson has only one touchdown after six games.
While Vick has certainly missed him on deep passes on a few occasions, there seems to be fewer plays designed around him this season. This might be partially the poor O-Line play, but it's up to the offensive coordinator to devise ways to get Jackson involved.
When Jackson makes big plays, the Eagles usually win. At this rate, Jackson will finish the season with just two or three touchdowns, which is not a good trend.