Sunday, December 21, 2014

Mornhinweg: DeSean is "all in"

Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg praised the effort of star wide receiver DeSean Jackson, lamented his team's continuing turnover problem and sounded hopeful - but a bit skeptical - about Mike Vick's new found commitment to sliding.

Mornhinweg: DeSean is "all in"

Marty Mornhinweg said Eagles WR DeSean Jackson has been "all in." (AP Photo / Alex Brandon)
Marty Mornhinweg said Eagles WR DeSean Jackson has been "all in." (AP Photo / Alex Brandon)

Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg praised the effort of star wide receiver DeSean Jackson, lamented his team's continuing turnover problem and sounded hopeful - but a bit skeptical - about Mike Vick's new found commitment to sliding.

Mornhinweg, meeting with reporters for the first time since Jackson was criticized for his effort against the Seahawks, said he has been "absolutely" happy with the receiver's work ethic.

"For the last several weeks, he was just terrific. He was working hard and great preparation," Mornhinweg said. "He has never really faded from the hard work and preparation. He's been through a long year as well. He’s got a few things going on ... he’s growing as a professional, he’s certainly all in here."

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Mornhinweg also said he wants to see Vick slide under hits or duck out of bounds to preserve himself. It's something the team has tried to drill into the quarterback since signing him, Mornhinweg said.

"We’ve discussed that since day one, so we’ll see," he said. "(Quaterbacks coach) Doug (Pederson) has drilled that with him tiem and time again. I want to see it."

It shouldn't be hard, Mornhinweg said, if Vick adopts the right approach.

"The actual slide part is easy. It’s the mentality of sliding," he said. "Unless it’s a game winner ... with one other caveat if he thinks he can shake and bake and score without getting a hit on him. We’ll see what happens in a game. That’s a little bit of maturity so I’m certain that he’s maturing here."

Of course, Vick seems to always think he can score.

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Mornhinweg said turnovers -- the Eagles have a league-leading 29 -- are holding down the offense. 

"We’re ranked very highly in almost every category. The ones where we’re low ... are directly correlated with turnovers," he said.

In red zone offense, the Eagles rank 21st. "We’d be in the top five if we hadn’t turned the ball over eight doggone times," Mornhinweg said. "Our players know that, our players are proud guys."

"We’re third on offense (yardage), we’re first on not going three and out ... the biggest statistics that correlates with winning and losing is turnovers. Done."

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Under-fire defensive coordinator Juan Castillo said he is not concerned about rumors about his job security and is instead focusing on the Dolphins.

He said he is "optimistic" that Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie could return to the slot this week, ahead of Joselio Hanson.

Special teams coordinator Bobby April said he likes having the speedy Rodgers-Cromartie returning kick offs, but DRC said he won't do it this week.

"Bobby ain't putting me in that fire," he said.

Rodgers-Cromartie said he doesn't want to risk another injury after tearing ankle ligaments returning kicks Nov. 13. He later said he might be open to returning kicks in later weeks, after he's had a game back.

April said new safety Tom Nelson will step into Colt Anderson's role on each special teams unit. Middle linebacker Jamar Chaney will fill in for Moise Fokou on some special teams units after Fokou was sent to the injured reserve, April said.

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

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