Seeing Red: Marty Stresses Zone Precision

Saints cornerback Patrick Robinson (21) intercepts a pass from and returned it for a 99-yard touchdown during the first quarter. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

The Eagles' red zone results in New Orleans were stunning -- 0-for-5 on 19 snaps, including two penalties, one play that gained yardage, two turnovers, two field goals, the only TD the pick-six Michael Vick threw.

"Geez. I believe we were 4 for 6 in the two ballgames preceding this last one, so I thought we were going on that," Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said Thursday. "I think we ran the ball three times for minus-1 ... and then the passing game was worse. We gave points away, we gave them points. Very, very difficult to win ballgames when you get down in the red zone that many times and you come away with the points we came away with."

Mornhinweg said the Birds are "going to have to fight and scratch and claw for everything we get -- we're going to have to earn it" Sunday against the stout Cowboys defense.

Mornhinweg said the Eagles had some problems before they got to the red zone Monday night, but were able to overcome them. The tighter space inside the 20 is less forgiving, he said.

"If you're not playing with great precision down in the red zone, then you get into those types of situations," he said. "All 11 players have to play fast and precise down in the red zone. Things are happening quickly; they've got the 12th man (the end line) ... I will tell you players are working very, very hard to get that thing straightened out."


Special teams coordinator Bobby April talked about the kickoff return touchdown that wasn't, when Brandon Boykin's lateral to Riley Cooper actually was a forward pass. April called the result "exasperating." He explained that unlike an offensive trick play, where you know where the ball is going to be and where all the players are, a special teams trick play has more moving parts. He compared it to a pool table break.

But April said he didn't regret trying it. "You gotta be bold" he said. He complimented Eagles coach Andy Reid for choosing that moment, with the Birds down 28-13, to give it a try.


Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles noted that his unit has been better in the second half lately than the first; he feels maybe players are pressing early, play better after everyone calms down.

Bowles was asked if the idea that the defense has gotten worse since he took over is an unfair perception. He said he didn't know, but "I just know I have a job to do (to) get the guys better. We all have a job to do on defense, the players themselves, the coaches themselves. We all have to get better."