October 6 Camden Courier-Post:
“Maybe they weren’t ticked off about the 27 points Green Bay scored against them in the season opener since they outscored the Packers by three after halftime.
Maybe they looked beyond the early 17-7 hole to Detroit and the Lions’ two fourth-quarter touchdowns because of the Lions’ dry spell of more than 32 minutes without scoring a single point.
Perhaps they believed all troubles were behind after holding Jacksonville to a pair of measly field goals in their most complete effort to date.
Whatever the team believed before Sunday’s 17-12 to the Redskins, the Eagles now understand painfully that their Jekyll-and-Hyde defense is letting them down.
“Obviously, you’ve got to come out there and you want to start fast. That’s definitely a concern. That’s a problem,” middle linebacker Stewart Bradley said after Sunday’s loss. “Seventeen points down, first three possessions.
It doesn’t matter if you shut them out for the rest of the game.”
The Eagles’ rebuilt defense, with new starters at five of the 11 positions, has shown flashes of dominance in each game. It’s also shown a strange inability to start the game with energy and purpose — especially against the run.
Opposing teams are averaging six yards per carry against the Eagles in the first quarter. The Redskins and Lions each had touchdown drives against them without putting the ball in the air.
“Well, we have to start better, and that’s part of it,” coach Andy Reid said Monday, when asked if his team needed to man up in the trenches. “You have to win the battles with the guy you’re going against, make sure you set the tempo early, and all those things we talk about.”
The early breakdown against Washington was the most baffling one. The “Skins had entered the game with the NFL’s fourth-worst rushing attack and a league-low average of 19 runs per game.
They had a reserve at left tackle and an offensive line that, in general, hasn’t blocked well. This is the same team that ran 17 times for 18 yards two weeks earlier against the Texans, at home.”
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