Eagles In Need Of Changes Before NFC East Slips Away
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By Kevin McGuire
A two-game losing streak heading in to the bye week has the Philadelphia Eagles rushing to make changes before returning to the field against the Atlanta Falcons. Sitting at 3-3, Andy Reid knows the status quo is not good enough.
“I want to be the best football team we possibly can be,” Reid said Tuesday after announcing the dismissal of defensive coordinator Juan Castillo. “Right now we’re sitting here at 3-3. That’s not good enough for what I think we have here. It’s not good enough.
For the Eagles, the bye week gives the team and coaching staff an opportunity to reassess where they stand in the NFC East and focus on figuring out what else needs to be changed in order to make a run after the bye week.
“Now we happen to have a bye right here, so I have a period of time here to make sure I evaluate it and try to make it as right as I possibly can,” Reid said. “And then I don’t care about anything else. That’s what I want to do. I want to make sure that gets done. I’m not going to lose focus on that.”
The Eagles still have five division games remaining on the schedule, and there is little reason to be overly concerned about the NFC East race right now, sitting just one game back of the Giants. But if the Eagles want to remain in the thick of the division hunt, protecting the football will need significant improvement. Philadelphia has a league-high 17 turnovers and only three teams in the league have created fewer turnovers.
The team enters their bye week tied for second place in the division with the Washington Redskins, led by rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. The New York Giants, who lost in Philadelphia three weeks ago on a late missed field goal, have taken over the top spot in the NFC East with a 4-2 record following a two-game winning streak. The Giants made short work of the Cleveland Browns at home following their loss in Philadelphia and dominated the San Francisco 49ers on the west coast on Sunday. This week the Giants will host the Redskins in their third division game of the year. It will be the first division game of the year for the Redskins. The Giants and Redskins are tied for the NFC lead with 178 points scored, and only the New England Patriots have outscored them with 188 points.
Then there are the Dallas Cowboys, sitting at the bottom of the NFC East standings with a 2-3 record and second fewest points score din the NFC with 94 points. Like the Eagles, the Cowboys have lost two straight games. Still, owner Jerry Jones is not backing down in suggesting his team should not be counted out as a possible championship contender.
“We don’t have time to have a bad time here,” Jones said on a CBS Sports radio station Tuesday. We’ve got to have some wins to make sure we’re in the hunt,” Jones said. “We know that you want your team as healthy and as in sync as it can be as we get on into the end of the season.
“We know that we’ve played one division game and won it. We’ve got those guys, the Giants, coming back in here. We know that’s going to be a big game for us,” he said. “All of those things give us a chance to take a team that is evolving into, if you look at this plusses (Sunday), evolving into a team that can compete for the championship. Not next year, this year.”
After last season Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said 8-8 would not be good enough for his team, suggesting Reid has to deliver this season. Reid knows where his team sits now in the NFC East is not acceptable.
“Three-3, obviously, puts you as an average football team and right now, I think we’re better than that,” Reid said. “I’m going to do what I think is right to make us better and at this particular time, this is what I feel.”
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Kevin McGuire covers college football for Examiner.com and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow him on Twitter (@KevinOnCFB). His work can be found on Examiner.com.