Eagles winning despite deficiencies
PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Eagles are far happier with their record than their performance.
A 4-1 start has the defending NFC East champions tied with Dallas for the division lead. But they're not satisfied with the way they've been winning.
The offense has been inconsistent. The defense has done a better job scoring touchdowns than preventing points. If not for their impressive special teams, the Eagles could be 1-4.
"I don't see anything as a quick fix. We have to continue to work," coach Chip Kelly said Monday. "The positive is we're working from a position of being 4-1 and trying to get better."
After building a 27-point lead against St. Louis on Sunday, the Eagles allowed 21 straight points and needed a defensive stand to secure the win. They had to overcome a 17-0 halftime deficit against Jacksonville in Week 1, a 17-6 halftime deficit against Indianapolis in Week 2 and a 17-7 second-quarter deficit against Washington in Week 3.
The offense didn't score a point in a 26-21 loss at San Francisco last week and managed two of the four TDs vs. the Rams. The defense and special teams already have seven TDs while the offense has 11.
"As a team, we're not there yet, but we're going to continue to grind because I know the guys in the locker room and we want to strive to get better each and every day," quarterback Nick Foles said. "That's why it's a good thing. Offensively we'll continue to improve. We'll look at the film and we'll improve on things."
The biggest problem on offense is the running game. LeSean McCoy, an All-Pro last year when he set a franchise record for yards rushing, has only 273 yards and is averaging 2.9 per carry.
Darren Sproles, however, has 172 yards and is averaging 6.9 per carry. Sproles got the ball late in the fourth quarter against the Rams while the Eagles were trying to run out the clock. But McCoy said he took himself out after a couple carries. That wasn't a big deal for Kelly, but he faced several questions about at it.
"I'm not concerned with who is in the game," Kelly said. "I'm happy with either guy in there. Both of those guys are good backs and our play-calling doesn't change."
Knowing they have areas for improvement has players approaching the season with optimism. If they still haven't put things together and are winning, the team's future could be bright once all three phases -- offense, defense and special teams -- play well collectively.
"There is always room to get better," wide receiver Jeremy Maclin said. "I feel like we have been saying the same thing week in and week out, but we will get it fixed. I think the bigger picture here is just wins and right now we are 4-1. We will learn from this and move on."
Next up for the Eagles are the New York Giants (3-2) in a nationally televised home game on Sunday night. The Giants have won three straight games after a rough start.
NOTES: Kelly had no update on LB DeMeco Ryans, who injured his right groin vs. the Rams. Defensive coordinator Billy Davis said after the game he expects Ryans to return quickly. ... If Chris Polk's hamstring keeps him out this week, Kelly plans to use rookie Josh Huff on kick returns. Huff had a 102-yard TD return in the preseason. ... The Eagles signed S Jordan Kovacs to the practice squad and released WR Cobi Hamilton.
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