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Eagles confident order will be restored

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Oct 21, 2005.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a href="http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/sports/12960418.htm" target="_blank">The Mercury News

    PHILADELPHIA - All is well.

    "I don't feel that we're struggling to run the football," Eagles offensive coordinator Brad Childress said on Thursday. "I think we've been in some games with different dynamics where you weren't comfortable standing there thinking, `I'm going to run it between the tackles,' which probably wouldn't be a good thing to do if you're down 17 or 20 points."

    Confidence is high.

    "I do believe we have good players," special-teams coach John Harbaugh said. "I think they can play well. It's just a matter of getting them to play well. You look at the special teams, and I think there have been a lot of good plays. What we haven't been is consistent."

    Improvement is on the way.

    "The thing that is a bit out of whack is that we gave up too many points, and we are going to correct that," defensive coordinator Jim Johnson said. "Everything else is about the same as it was last year at this time."

    There you have it.

    The Eagles, at least for now, have been knocked off their perch in the NFC East, but coach Andy Reid's top three lieutenants remain convinced that this team will be fine.

    You can conjure counter arguments to all of the above statements and the coordinators won't argue with you.

    The Eagles are running a lot less and a lot less effectively this season after five games than they were a year ago.

    Proof: After five games last season, they were averaging 23 carries and 106 yards per game rushing. This season they are averaging 17.6 attempts and 64.2 yards per game.

    "I just think it's something you have to continue to work at," Childress said. "You end up getting judged on the whole body of work, not just the five games. You go through and you really attack people where you think they can be attacked. We've obviously had some success throwing the football, but that doesn't mean you completely forget about the run."

    Harbaugh's special-teams units may have some good players, but they have made more bad plays than good ones this season.

    Proof: The Eagles rank 31st among the 32 teams in punt-return average, 25th in kickoff-return average, and 32d in kickoff coverage.

    "I think we have set the tone the other way, in a negative way," Harbaugh said. "We need to get back to helping our team win. Special teams will have a huge impact on the football game this week."

    Johnson's defense isn't just giving up more points per game, it also is getting fewer sacks.

    Proof: A year ago, the Eagles had 20 sacks after five games. This year, they have 11. They didn't have any against Dallas.

    "We are down in sacks," Johnson said. "We didn't pressure well the last game. That is partly me, too. We have to pressure the quarterback, and we will get that."

    The only way to find out whether the Eagles and their coaching staff truly made the most of their bye week is to watch what unfolds Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.

    Despite their 3-3 record, Reid referred to the San Diego Chargers earlier this week as "a Super Bowl-caliber team." He's right, too. The Chargers already have posted a lopsided road victory over the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots and are coming off a 13-point road win over the Oakland Raiders, a team the Eagles didn't put away until the final nine seconds at the Linc.

    San Diego's three losses - on opening day to Dallas at home, in Week 2 at Denver and in Week 5 at home to Pittsburgh - have been by a combined total of nine points. All of the Chargers' wins have been by double-digits.

    The Chargers have arguably the best player in the NFL in running back LaDainian Tomlinson.

    "First of all, he has great vision," Johnson said. "He sees the hole and he knows when to cut back or take the ball to the outside. He ... is one of those natural running backs like Emmitt Smith and Barry Sanders. He's one of the best you'll ever see."

    Tomlinson is complemented nicely by quarterback Drew Brees and tight end Antonio Gates, which is a big reason the Chargers average 29.3 points per game, making them the second-most explosive scoring offense in the NFL behind the New York Giants.

    Johnson called Brees "savvy" and "intelligent." He compared Gates to Kansas City's Tony Gonzalez.

    "He's a wide receiver playing tight end," the defensive coordinator said.

    The Eagles are 3-2 and coming off a bad loss at Dallas. But they obviously still believe they are a good team that played a bad game at Texas Stadium. Playing the Chargers gives them a great opportunity to validate that opinion.

    "Everybody is talking about Dallas like they are so great now," quarterback Donovan McNabb said. "We go out and we beat San Diego and ... then maybe they'll talk about us again."

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