Saturday, February 13, 2016

Eagles coaches looking for consistency

Marty Mornhinweg and Sean McDermott each said they want to see consistency from their units. Each had some optimistic assessments of some of their apparent weaknesses.

Eagles coaches looking for consistency

Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said consistency is needed throughout the offense. (Yong Kim/Staff file photo)
Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said consistency is needed throughout the offense. (Yong Kim/Staff file photo)

The Eagles offensive and defensive coordinators each said they need to see the same thing: consistency.

Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said it's needed throughout the offense, and particularly on the offensive line, while defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said his group has not played a full game yet with the required intensity.

Both had some surprisingly optimistic assertions about those short comings, though: Mornhinweg praised an offensive line that has looked shaky to most observers, while McDermott blamed the defensive let downs on his squad's youth, even though most of the defensive starters are veterans.

Start with Mornhinweg, who was asked about an offensive line that has given up a league worst 12 sacks in two games. Second worst, Carolina, has given up eight.

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"We didn't do a couple of things right right there," he said when asked about the line. "We did many things very well up front, many things. There were a few that we didn't do very well."

He said if you ignore some plays, the line had a strong game, and in fact, the running game was strong and it is hard to argue with 35 points. But there was significant pressure on the quarterback.

"You take out a big percentage of the plays and I think the offensive line played well. However you can't just do that, those plays were there and we have to be more consistent."

Quarterback Michael Vick was often rushed. At times it was due to blitzes, but in many instances linemen were simply beat one-on-one, and in others the offense had enough blockers to protect against a blitz, but left defenders free to take runs at the quarterback anyway.

Mornhinweg said the blitz should open up big plays.

"Our mentality is, they blitz we score."

McDermott was asked about a defense that is also last in the NFL in a key category:  points allowed.

"I think it's overall consistency that we're lacking right now, and that's going to happen with a young defense," he said. "We've been very emotional and physical at times, in particular when our back's against the wall or we've been faced with a great challenge ... from that standpoint, I'm pleased. From a consistency standpoint, we've got to be able to take the same approach and the same fire in your approach throughout 65, 70 plays in the game."

McDermott has evidence when he says the defense has had its moments: it shut out the Packers as the Eagles tried to rally in week one and held firm against Detroit in two key situations: a fourth-and-one in the fourth quarter and on the Lions final drive. But his group is not that young -- instead it has many new parts.

Yes, they have two rookie starters, but seven other starters are in their fourth, fifth or sixth year in the NFL. Two defensive starters are in the eighth years.

Among those veterans, though, four -- Stewart Bradley, Ernie Sims, Akeem Jordan and Ellis Hobbs -- were not with the team, injured, or playing different positions last year. Add in Brandon Graham and Nate Allen and you have six new pieces trying to come together.

We'll see if the Eagles can patch up their line and turn in a complete defensive performance against Jacksonville.

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Birds' Eye View is the Inquirer's blog covering all things Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL.

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