Look­ing at what’s ahead, not be­hind them

The Morning Call - - SPORTS - Morn­ing Call reporter Nick Fierro can be reached at 610-7782243 or [email protected]

PHILADEL­PHIA — On Mon­day, Philadel­phia Ea­gles coach Doug Ped­er­son’s rea­son­ing for not look­ing back on Sunday’s abysmal 27-24 loss at home to the Detroit Lions was that there sim­ply is not enough time dur­ing this short week in prepa­ra­tion for their next game Thurs­day night.

Tues­day, the mes­sage was altered a bit, first by of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Mike Groh and then by the play­ers. Now, it’s more like, “What’s the use?”

It’s as if movie di­rec­tor Quentin Tarantino’s best prob­lem-solv­ing char­ac­ter,

Win­ston Wolf, has been called in to fix the sit­u­a­tion “like it never hap­pened.”

“I mean, that’s all you can do,” run­ning back Miles San­ders said. “I mean, we’re only, what, three games in?

We’ve got a lot more left, so we don’t have no choice but to keep mov­ing on. It’s a long sea­son.”

In keep­ing with his tun­nel vi­sion, San­ders re­fused to talk about any ad­just­ments Groh ad­mit­ted the Ea­gles have made to the way the rookie car­ried the ball at Penn State. San­ders fum­bled twice in Sunday’s loss, one set­ting the Lions up for a field goal.

“Nope,” San­ders said, “But like I said that’s be­hind me. The fo­cus is on Green Bay.”

For the record, here’s what Groh had to say about how they train all their backs: “We give a pre­sen­ta­tion ev­ery year on ball se­cu­rity. [Run­ning backs coach] Duce [Sta­ley] does a great job of that, talk­ing about how we want to grip the foot­ball, you know, with our fin­gers over the point the ball and wrist above the el­bow, el­bow locked against the rib cage, get the fore­arm locked on the front of the ball — all the things that we em­pha­size out there.”

Groh even­tu­ally grew tired of talk­ing about the past.

“Ob­vi­ously, we’re on to Green Bay and we’re still talk­ing a lot about last week,” he said. “The guys know that [they have to be bet­ter]. These are pro guys that made a lot of plays.

“We ob­vi­ously point out the things we need to im­prove on … and our guys

ur­gent. They’re ready to re­spond.

“This is a re­silient group. We haven’t lost any con­fi­dence in our­selves and we’re ex­cited to go out there and play on Thurs­day night.”

Bot­tom line: The Ea­gles all un­der­stand they’re in a jack­pot now at 1-2 and on their way to face the 3-0 Green Bay Pack­ers on Thurs­day night. Look­ing back on what hap­pened or what could have been is a waste of en­ergy.

Or per­haps more ap­pro­pri­ately, as Franco demon­strated in

The Gum­ball Rally, “What’s a

be­hind me, it’s not im­por­tant.”

But enough of the movie analo­gies al­ready. Be­sides, the re­al­ity pro­gram the Ea­gles are star­ring in now doesn’t al­low for re­takes.

Their mar­gin of er­ror has been re­duced to nearly zero. No more room for los­ing games they’re sup­posed to win.

Now they have to fig­ure out a way to win a cou­ple games they’re sup­posed to lose, start­ing Thurs­day against the host Pack­ers, who are sur­pris­ingly fa­vored by just 4 1⁄2 points on the frozen tun­dra of Lam­beau Field.

That won’t be easy for a team that’s com­ing off a his­tor­i­cally poor per­for­mance Sunday.

Ac­cord­ing to ESPN Stats and In­for­ma­tion, the Ea­gles on

Sunday dropped seven Car­son Wentz passes for a 19.4% drop rate, which was the fourth­high­est for any NFL quar­ter­back since the start of the 2006 sea­son.

Worse yet, their run­ning backs have fum­bled seven times since the start of last sea­son. Only the San Fran­cisco 49ers’ backs (10) have fum­bled more over that span.

What the Ea­gles will have go­ing for them is a lit­tle bet­ter health than the week be­fore.

Line­backer Kamu GrugierHil­l con­firmed Tues­day that he ex­pects to play for the first time since suf­fer­ing an MCL sprain dur­ing train­ing camp. And wide re­ceiver Al­shon Jef­fery, still out of breath from an aer­o­bic workout af­ter Tues­day’s walk-signed through prac­tice, sounded op­ti­mistic that he would play, even though he wouldn’t ac­tu­ally guar­an­tee it.

Ped­er­son also said in a con­fer­ence call with Green Bay Pack­ers beat re­porters that he’s ex­pect­ing Jef­fery to play.

Jef­fery (calf ) and GrugierHil­l were not avail­able for last Sunday’s game, nor was wide re­ceiver DeSean Jack­son, who is al­most cer­tain to re­main out for a cou­ple more weeks with an ab­dom­i­nal in­jury.

How­ever, the Ea­gles will be with­out cor­ner­back Ron­ald Darby (ham­string), prompt­ing a ros­ter move Tues­day to re­place wide re­ceiver Greg Ward with prac­tice-squad cor­ner Craig James on the ac­tive ros­ter. Ward al­most cer­tainly will be reare to the prac­tice squad, where he was be­fore switch­ing places with James prior to last Sunday’s game.

This in­jury ad­ver­sity will not de­tract from their prepa­ra­tion, the Ea­gles prom­ise. They like their chances at Green Bay.

So is it re­ally like last week never hap­pened?

“I mean, it’s not like it never hap­pened,” cor­ner­back Avonte Mad­dox said. “There’s just no point in think­ing about it when you’ve got an­other game in a cou­ple days.

“You just move on, you know?”

Yes, like it never hap­pened.


Ea­gles of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Mike Groh ad­mits im­prove­ments must be made on that side of the ball, but he is not wast­ing time re­hash­ing any of his unit’s past mis­takes.

Nick Fierro

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