Turnovers con­tinue to plague Philly

Rookie RB Brown still given an op­por­tu­nity af­ter numer­ous fum­bles.

Austin American-Statesman - - NFL - By Zach Ber­man The Philadel­phia Inquirer

PHILADEL­PHIA — The Ea­gles com­mit­ted five turnovers in their first game of the sea­son. They com­mit­ted five turnovers in their 14th game of the sea­son. In be­tween, this habit was rarely in­ter­rupted.

The Ea­gles were lead­ing the NFL with 34 turnovers be­fore Sun­day’s games. Their 12 take­aways were among the fewest in the league. The mi­nus-22 turnover mar­gin was tied for the worst in the NFL. The list of rea­sons the Ea­gles are 4-10 could stretch from Franklin Field to Lin­coln Fi­nan­cial Field, but there is lit­tle ques­tion about what would be at the top of the list.

“Turnovers de­stroy you in this league. There’s one thing that if we didn’t know it be­fore the sea­son, we surely know it now that we’re sit­ting there at mi­nus-22 in the give­away/ take­away area,” coach Andy Reid said. “You have 123 points scored on 34 turnovers, and you’re only get­ting 33 points on your 12 take­aways. That’s a bad stat.”

Some teams have bad weeks. The Ea­gles have had a bad sea­son.

In Thurs­day’s 34-13 loss to the Cincin­nati Ben­gals, they com­mit­ted turnovers on three con­sec­u­tive plays, and had four in five plays. Yet the play­ers within the locker room do not con­cede that the Ea­gles are undis­ci­plined.

When mid­dle line­backer DeMeco Ryans was asked if they were, he re­sponded by won­der­ing why such an idea would even be sug­gested.

“We’ve got to hold onto the ball, but I don’t think that’s dis­ci­pline,” Ryans said. “Dis­ci­pline is be­ing where you’re sup­posed to be, do­ing what you’re sup­posed to do. Now when it comes to ex­e­cu­tion, that’s up to that player. Hold­ing onto the ball, catch­ing the ball, be­ing in the right gap.”

The youth on the ros­ter is not the only ex­cuse for the team’s record, but it at least helps ex­plain why there are so many turnovers. Bryce Brown’s fum­bling habit is partly the by-prod­uct of so few years play­ing foot­ball. Cedric Thorn­ton, who is in his first year on the ac­tive ros­ter, muffed a short kick­off Thurs­day when he should have called for a fair catch.

The Ea­gles want their young play­ers to play, and they are get­ting a chance in a sea­son in which the play­offs are im­pos­si­ble and the front of­fice must make eval­u­a­tions about many play­ers on the ros­ter. So Reid isn’t ban­ish­ing a turnover-prone player such as Brown to the bench. In­stead, he’s get­ting a chance to de­velop. But play­ers need to un­der­stand the im­por­tance of pro­tect­ing the ball - es­pe­cially re­peat of­fend­ers.

“When you’re car­ry­ing the foot­ball, you’re rep­re­sent­ing the Ea­gles’ fans, Mr. ( Jef­frey) Lurie, and the coach­ing staff,” wide re­ceiver Ja­son Avant said. “I think it has to be­come more than just about you, and when you carry that foot­ball, you rep­re­sent a whole bunch of peo­ple, and I don’t think that we have that mind­set all of the time.”

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