By Ed Benkin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As the preseason continues, the Eagles are hoping to adjust to the recent flag-fest.
The NFL has tightened the rules in the preseason, and contact which was legal in the past is now a league-wide no-no. The Eagles have seen their share of penalties in the first two preseason games, and Safety Malcolm Jenkins says he and his teammates will have to continue to adjust with the regular season fast approaching.
“We have to learn how to adjust to the rules,” said Jenkins. “They’re going to call it that way. We can’t complain every day. We’ve just got to adjust. We’ve got to do a better job of getting those quality reps in practice and make it an emphasis in practice so we don’t go into a game with bad technique.”
While most believe the penalties will have a greater effect on the defensive players, the amount of stoppages because of flags could hurt the Eagles offense. For a team used to a fast-paced style, the extra amount of stoppages could slow down Chip Kelly’s attack. However, Quarterback Nick Foles doesn’t think anything will change offensively.
“The penalties have always been called throughout games,” Foles said. “When a penalty has been called, we’ve had a good next play in the past. It doesn’t mean if a penalty is called that we slow down and we can’t execute. We just have to execute our offense and control what we can control.”
Receivers will have more freedom to get off the line of scrimmage before dealing with contact from defensive players. Tight End Zach Ertz knows that will work in his favor when he begins running his route, but realizes offensive players will also have to deal with their own set of restrictions.
“The defense isn’t allowed to touch me,” said Ertz. “It is going to be an advantage for an offensive player. At the same time, we have new rules as well. We’re not allowed to make a lot of contact at the top of our route, but I think it’s fair for both sides.”
No matter how frustrating the new rules have become for both players and fans, Linebacker DeMeco Ryans says the players have no choice but to deal with the new guidelines.
“We can’t complain or get mad when we see a flag,” Ryans said. “They’re coming, and we know that’s the emphasis this year. We had officials come in and talk to us about the new emphasis this year. As players, we just have to go out on the field and play by the rules.”
Wide Receiver Riley Cooper returned to practice on Sunday. Fellow Wide Receiver Jeremy Maclin sat out practice on Sunday, but is expected to be back during the week.