Giants' positive approach rewarded

September, 21, 2014
Sep 21
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Observed and heard in the locker room after the Giants' 30-17 victory over Houston:
  • Tom Coughlin said the team talked all week and all day "about being positive, including me," and several players made mention of the coach's effort this past week to keep things light and upbeat in spite of the 0-2 start. He played music during practice and held a punt-catching contest Friday. "That's just a prime example of him being able to adjust to the team that he has," defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka said. "He's constantly making adjustments to try and get his team motivated, and this group responded."
  • Right tackle Justin Pugh said the offensive line was sick by the end of the week of hearing questions about how great Houston defensive end J.J. Watt was and how the Giants could stop him. "It's more fun with you guys here asking what we did to stop him," Pugh said.
  • Center J.D. Walton smiled and declined to answer when I asked him what happened with him and Watt after that one play in the second half when they were jawing at each other after the whistle. "Football," Walton said, smiling. I'd never seen him smile before, for what it's worth.

Rapid Reaction: Philadelphia Eagles

September, 21, 2014
Sep 21

PHILADELPHIA -- A few thoughts on the Philadelphia Eagles' 37-34 victory over the Washington Redskins at Lincoln Financial Field:

What it means: The Eagles remain undefeated and in first place in the NFC East. This game presented even more adversity than their two other comeback wins against Jacksonville and Indianapolis. The Eagles lost center Jason Kelce to injury in the first half, leaving them with just two of their original five starting offensive linemen. That rendered LeSean McCoy and the running game ineffective. Washington took a 17-7 lead in the first half, but the Eagles came back and took control of the game.

Stock Watch: Nick Foles' stock is up after this one. With the Eagles’ running game hampered by injuries along the line and McCoy’s first-half head injury, Foles had to carry the load. He did, throwing two perfect strikes for touchdowns to Jordan Matthews in the second quarter. In the fourth, after Washington tied the game at 27, Foles absorbed a big hit by Washington defensive tackle Chris Baker. The officials ejected Baker for the hit. Foles stayed in the game and directed the drive to the go-ahead touchdown. He completed it with a 27-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin.

Line crumbling: Stop us if you heard the one about the Eagles’ offensive line playing all 16 games last season. This season is already very different, with left guard Evan Mathis and right tackles Lane Johnson and Allen Barbre out. One reason the Eagles were able to remain competent without them was center Kelce. But Kelce left this game in the first half with an abdominal injury. David Molk replaced him. He wasn’t bad, but the attrition started taking a toll in both pass protection and the running game.

Game ball: Give it to Foles, freeze it overnight and let him use it as an ice pack Monday. He’ll need it after the beating he took in this game. Foles appeared injured (his shoulder, most likely) after being hit in the third quarter but stayed in the game. He looked very shaky after the hit by Baker. He stayed in the game. He also made some of his best throws of this season, never letting the physical pounding affect his performance.

What’s next: The Eagles travel across the country and across divisions for a game next Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. That will be the last game of Johnson’s four-game suspension. This game loomed as a chance for the Eagles to prove themselves among the NFC’s best. It still does, but they will have to get by with a patchwork offensive line.

Rapid Reaction: Washington Redskins

September, 21, 2014
Sep 21

PHILADELPHIA -- A few thoughts on the Washington Redskins' 37-34 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles:

What it means: They’re about who we thought: a team that has offensive fireworks but remains a work in progress. The Redskins still give up big plays on defense and on special teams, and even though they did a good job against running back LeSean McCoy, they could not generate enough pressure to prevent a big day from quarterback Nick Foles. This was not a bad loss for Washington considering few would have picked the Redskins to win. It could have been a huge win instead, but they continue to make too many mistakes to win games like this. Sunday also cemented the idea that the coaches feel confident with Kirk Cousins at quarterback, but the team gave up a touchdown on special teams and missed a 33-yard field goal. You can’t keep giving up points by this unit and expect to win games. The Redskins invested a lot more on special teams in the offseason; it needs to start paying dividends.

Stock Watch: Special teams is way down. Again, this group allowed too many points and missed too many others. The Eagles' kick return for a touchdown came right after the Redskins had taken a 7-0 lead; a huge hole followed. Kai Forbath later missed a 33-yard field goal attempt on another brutal day, which seems too much like, oh, a few years. But the run defense was up. The Redskins bottled up McCoy, who managed just 22 yards on 20 carries. Very few yards after contact and few defenders missing tackle attempts. They forced him back inside to where they had help and more bodies.

More injuries: Corner DeAngelo Hall left the game in the second half after hurting his Achilles tendon. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injury, but that type of injury can be brutal. Right guard Shawn Lauvao also had to leave with a right knee injury. The Redskins already were banged up entering this game, so they did not need to have their depth tested even more. But that’s two straight weeks where they’ve dealt with injuries during the game. They felt good about their depth entering the season, but it’s being tested way too often way too early.

Game ball: Cousins. Yes, he threw an interception late in the game that led to an Eagles touchdown. And he misfired on his last three passes with the Redskins on the Eagles’ 41-yard line. But for the most part, Cousins did more than what the Redskins expected in making this a close game. He threw for 427 yards and three touchdowns and, for the most part, kept the offense in rhythm with on-time throws. He connected with receiver DeSean Jackson for an 81-yard touchdown, hitting the speedy wideout in stride. The Redskins’ offense will be OK.

What's next: The banged-up Redskins host the New York Giants on Thursday night. Before this game, and the injuries, that looked like a game they should win. Now? Washington still should be favored, but it will be a lot tougher.

Rapid Reaction: Dallas Cowboys

September, 21, 2014
Sep 21

ST. LOUIS -- A few thoughts on the Dallas Cowboys' 34-31 win over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome:

What it means: Any win on the road against any team cannot be taken lightly when the expectations for the Cowboys this season are as low as they are. So give the Cowboys credit for their win after overcoming an abysmal start, even if a lot of it was overcoming themselves.

DeMarco Murray fumbled for the third straight game, and the Rams countered with a touchdown. Tony Romo had an interception returned for a touchdown. As a result, the Cowboys were down 21-0 with 6:06 left in the half.

But then they scored 34 of the game’s next 37 points, culminating in a Bruce Carter interception return for a touchdown with 6:13 to play.

It matched the largest deficit the Cowboys have overcome in team history and the first time they did it in regulation. On Oct. 21, 1984, they beat the New Orleans Saints 30-27 in overtime. In the 1999 season opener, they did the same to beat the Washington Redskins 41-35 in overtime.

Century mark once more: Murray became the third Cowboys running back to start the season with three straight 100-yard games, but it was a fight. It was also Murray’s third straight 100-yard game against the Rams, as he finished Sunday with 100 yards on 24 carries. Did we mention it was a fight? In the first half, Murray carried 10 times for 40 yards, but 38 of those yards came on the final drive of the half. The seven other first-half carries gained 2 yards.

In the second half, Murray found it a little bit easier but was helped by a 44-yard run in the third quarter. When the Cowboys needed to run the clock out, they couldn’t do it.

Murray joined Tony Dorsett and Emmitt Smith as the only Cowboys runners to open with three straight 100-yard games. Dorsett did it in 1981. Smith did it in 1995, when he had four straight games.

Game ball: Yes, Romo had an interception returned for a touchdown in the first half, but the Cowboys quarterback looked far different than how he had played in the first two games. Romo was nimble, as evidenced by his 16-yard scramble on a third-and-13 run in the fourth quarter. Later, on third-and-14, he found Terrance Williams for 20 yards. Four plays later, he hit Williams on a 12-yard touchdown pass. There was no wild celebration. Romo simply pumped his fist and went to the sideline. His stats were modest -- 18-of-23, 217 yards -- but he made the plays when it mattered most.

Stock watch: When the Cowboys drafted Morris Claiborne with the sixth pick of the 2012 draft, they said he was their highest-rated defensive back since Deion Sanders. It looked like they could not have been more wrong until Claiborne sealed Sunday's win with an athletic interception in the closing minutes to stop the Rams’ final drive. Before that, however, Claiborne was beaten by Brian Quick for a 51-yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter. In the third quarter, he was beaten on a go route for 38 yards by Kenny Britt and then missed a tackle on a 16-yard run by Zac Stacy. That drive led to a Rams field goal. Later, he was flagged for illegal contact and was the closest defender on St. Louis’ final touchdown. All is not forgiven with the interception, but at least Claiborne made the deciding play.

What’s next: The Cowboys return to AT&T Stadium to take on the Saints. Last year, the Cowboys were embarrassed at the Mercedes Benz Superdome 49-17 in a game when the Saints put up an NFL-record 40 first downs and 625 yards. After the Cowboys saw 49ers fans overtake the home stadium in the opener, the Saints fans will be out in full force as well. New Orleans has won both meetings at the new stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Rapid Reaction: New York Giants

September, 21, 2014
Sep 21

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A few thoughts on the New York Giants' 30-17 victory over the Houston Texans at MetLife Stadium:

What it means: Relief for the Giants, who will not repeat last year's 0-6 start and have two games' worth of evidence that their new offense can work. A run-heavy game plan helped set up the play-action game and neutralize J.J. Watt and the Houston pass rush. Eli Manning was patient and accurate. The offensive line held up well in a tough-test game. The defensive line got pressure on jittery Texans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Giants made some early mistakes that reminded you of last week's self-inflicted meltdown, but they settled in and overcame them for their first victory of the year.

Stock Watch: Victor Cruz, UP. The veteran wide receiver and newly minted team captain had a rough week hearing about all of last week's drops. He made up for it with his first big game of the year -- and his first touchdown catch and end zone salsa dance since Week 4 of 2013. Cruz had five catches for 107 yards, including a 61-yarder and his 26-yard touchdown catch that started the scoring.

Flipping the field: Entering the game, the Giants were one of only three teams in the league without a takeaway. They got three interceptions in this game and also blocked a punt, delivering them the kind of field-position advantage for which coach Tom Coughlin had spent the week pleading. They made their own mistakes early, including a goal-line fumble, a bad snap on a field goal attempt and a holding penalty on a punt return. But their errors were fewer than those of their opponent, and that's the goal.

Game ball: RB Rashad Jennings. What a performance. Last week's goat after his no-contact fumble killed a potential game-tying drive, Jennings absolutely took over this game, rushing for a career-high 176 yards and a touchdown on 34 carries and playing a crucial role in blitz pickup on passing plays. The Giants signed Jennings to be a do-it-all starting running back, and this game showed he could be just that.

What's next: The Giants turn it around quickly and head to Washington for the Thursday night game this week.

Mychal Kendricks inactive for game

September, 21, 2014
Sep 21
PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Eagles first-round draft choice Marcus Smith is active for today’s game against Washington. Starting inside linebacker Mychal Kendricks is inactive due to a calf injury.

Smith has not yet played in a game. He was active but did not play in the season opener against Jacksonville. Smith was inactive for Monday’s game in Indianapolis.

Because of Kendricks’ injury, Smith practiced at inside linebacker all week. He had been practicing at outside linebacker throughout training camp and the preseason.

Safety Earl Wolff is listed as inactive today. Wolff had played in the first two games. The lack of bodies at linebacker prompted that change.

DeSean Jackson active against Eagles

September, 21, 2014
Sep 21
PHILADELPHIA -- Washington Redskins receiver DeSean Jackson is active for his homecoming against the Eagles. The question now becomes, how much will he play?

Jackson sprained his left shoulder last week and was cautiously optimistic about playing his former team. But the Redskins weren't sure until Sunday morning whether he'd be able to play. But earlier this week, Redskins coach Jay Gruden said even if he's active he might only play 25 snaps or so. If that's the case, then rookie Ryan Grant will play a bigger role with fellow wideout Santana Moss among the inactives.

The Redskins don't want Jackson suffering more damage to his shoulder, especially with another game Thursday. But they clearly feel he's at a point where it's worth it activating him. With Jackson, the Redskins can hurt Philadelphia downfield. If he can't play a whole lot, just keep in mind that quarterback Kirk Cousins works well with receiver Andre Roberts. He trusts him because of the detailed routes Roberts runs. Unlike with Jackson, Cousins worked with Roberts a lot this summer.

In addition to Moss, the other inactives: quarterback Robert Griffin III, corner Tracy Porter, linebacker Akeem Jordan, defensive lineman Kedric Golston, tackle Morgan Moses and tight end Jordan Reed.

For the Eagles, the inactives are quarterback Matt Barkley, receiver Josh Huff, safety Earl Wolff, lineman Matt Tobin, lineman Kevin Graf, linebacker Mychal Kendricks and end Taylor Hart. Kendricks' loss is a big one for the Eagles' defense.

Rolando McClain will not play

September, 21, 2014
Sep 21
ST. LOUIS – The Dallas Cowboys will be without their leading tackler through two games in linebacker Rolando McClain because of a groin injury.

McClain did not practice all week and was listed as doubtful. He will be replaced in the starting lineup by rookie Anthony Hitchens, who started last week against the Tennessee Titans at weakside linebacker. The coaches have credited McClain with 22 tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss, two quarterback pressures, one interception and one pass breakup.

McClain did not go through any pregame tests in warm-ups to try to convince the medical staff he could play.

The Cowboys’ second leading tackler, linebacker Justin Durant, will miss his second straight game because of a groin injury. Also inactive are: defensive tackle Davon Coleman, defensive end Anthony Spencer, quarterback Dustin Vaughan, tackle Donald Hawkins and cornerback Tyler Patmon.

Cornerback Orlando Scandrick will make his debut after missing the first two games of the season due to a suspension for failing the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy. The suspension was cut short once the NFL and NFL Players Association reached an agreement on a revised drug policy.

Arian Foster inactive vs.  Giants

September, 21, 2014
Sep 21
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Another week, another potentially huge, injury-related break for the New York Giants.

Houston Texans running back Arian Foster has a hamstring injury and will not play in Sunday's game. Rookie Alfred Blue will start in his place.

This comes one week after Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer was a late scratch against the Giants, though the Giants were unable to take advantage and win that game. Their next opponent is Washington, which is without its own starting quarterback due to injury.

The 0-2 Giants obviously need all of the help they can get. Foster ranks second in the NFL so far this year with 241 rushing yards and leads the league with 55 rushing attempts, so the Texans' offense runs through him. The Giants' run defense is compromised due to the absence of linebackers Jon Beason (foot) and Devon Kennard (hamstring), both of whom are inactive for this game and were ruled out Friday.

Texans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has yet to throw an interception this year, which is out of character and likely due to the team's ability to rely on the run game and the defense. The Giants have yet to procure a turnover from an opponent this year, so they'll be hoping Foster's absence leads Fitzpatrick to take more chances in the passing game and give them an opportunity.

Jameel McClain replaces Beason as the starter at middle linebacker for the Giants. Mark Herzlich replaces McClain as the starting strongside linebacker.

Defensive tackle Markus Kuhn is active for the first time this year for the Giants after missing the first two games due to injury, which moves rookie Jay Bromley back to the inactive list after he was active last week. Linebacker Dan Fox and wide receiver Julian Talley, who were signed from the practice squad this week due to other injuries, are both active.

This is the full list of Giants inactives, brought to you this week by the letter "B":

Welcome to Edward Jones Dome

September, 21, 2014
Sep 21
ST. LOUIS -- Welcome to the Edward Jones Dome where the Dallas Cowboys take on the St. Louis Rams and hope to improve to 2-1 with a win.

Getting to 2-1 hasn’t been a problem. They have done it in each of Jason Garrett’s first three seasons, including a 31-7 win last year against the Rams. The problem has been staying over .500 for more than one week at a time.

The last time the Cowboys visited St. Louis, Brad Johnson was their starter in the 2008 meeting, a 34-14 loss that wasn’t even that close as Tony Romo missed the first of three straight games with a broken pinky finger.

[+] EnlargeDeMarco Murray
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezDeMarco Murray has had success in the past running against the St. Louis Rams.
The Cowboys are looking for road wins on back-to-back weeks for the first time since Weeks 15-16 of the 2009 season when they beat the New Orleans Saints (24-17) and Washington Redskins (17-0).

Three in a row? DeMarco Murray leads the NFL in rushing with 285 yards in the first two games of the season. He joined Tony Dorsett and Emmitt Smith as the only Cowboys runners to open the year with consecutive 100-yard games.

With another 100-yarder today against the Rams, he would continue on the paths Dorsett and Smith paved in 1981 and 1995. Dorsett opened the ’91 season with three straight 100-yard games. Smith opened with four straight in ’95.

In his last nine games Murray has had at least 86 yards rushing seven times and four 100-yard games.

“I think the O-line is doing a good job of blocking and we’re having fun out there and we’re all on the same page,” Murray said. “So that’s really what it takes to have the success that we’ve had and to make sure the guys are blocking well, receivers, tight ends, they’re all doing a great job in assisting in the running game. It’s all 11 people doing their jobs. That’s very crucial and we’re on the right way.”

Who’s the QB? Rams coach Jeff Fisher said he will make a decision before the game as to whether he starts Shaun Hill or Austin Davis at quarterback.

Garrett said it is more important to know the Rams’ scheme. According to Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, it doesn’t matter who the Rams start.

“One thing I’ve always done is we prepare ourselves each and every day it’s our defense and how we do it it’s our disguises and I try to look at those guys as kind of grey matter really,” Marinelli said. “It’s about us. Every day it’s about us, what we do, how we prepare.”

Some backup quarterbacks gave the Cowboys issues last year. Josh McCown parlayed a four-TD performance against the Cowboys into a big free-agent deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Chicago Bears’ 45-28 pasting of the Cowboys. Matt Flynn kept the Green Bay Packers’ season alive with a four-touchdown effort against the Cowboys in a 37-36 win

The ref: Clete Blakeman’s crew will work today’s game. Here is a breakdown of Blakeman from last week.

Eagles say pressure, not sacks, key for D

September, 21, 2014
Sep 21
The Philadelphia Eagles didn’t record one sack against the Indianapolis Colts last Monday.

But the Eagles won.

The moral here? Statistics don’t always tell the whole story.

The Eagles held Colts quarterback Andrew Luck to only 172 passing yards, but in the end it was the Eagles who prevailed, 30-27.

“I felt like we had good pressure on them,” defensive coordinator Bill Davis told reporters. “They ran a lot more than they threw, and when they threw he did not have clean throwing lanes very often. He made some great throws, as a matter of fact, when he was being smothered by guys. The sack number wasn't there, but people put way too much emphasis on the sack number as opposed to moving him off his spot, putting him under duress, all of those things. I wasn't disappointed in our pass rush at all. I thought we had good pressure.”

Luck was forced into some difficult throws out of his comfort zone.

And he was hurried and knocked down.

“When you're playing the 3-4 defense, that's very true,” linebacker Trent Cole told about whether too much emphasis is placed on sacks. “We've been out in coverage a lot, and when we get our opportunities to rush we've got to try to get there. There are different things that happen in the game that we've got to game plan for and our coaches have to adjust. We have to adjust to what the game's giving us and go from there.”

On Sunday, the Eagles will try to put the same pressure on Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, who’s starting for the injured Robert Griffin III.

“He's a good QB,” Cole told of Cousins. “It's about getting back and getting to him, getting the pressure on him, and I think we should be alright.”

Redskins game day: Notes and analysis

September, 21, 2014
Sep 21
  • Cousins
    This is the sort of game that can propel a season to good things. If the Washington Redskins can beat the Philadelphia Eagles, the Redskins suddenly look like a different team. It's not just because Kirk Cousins is in, either. A 2-1 record with a chance to get to 3-1 Thursday? Big deal. Especially with a schedule that looks a little different, with Arizona even more banged up, Tampa Bay struggling and Minnesota minus its best player. Of course, by the time Washington faces those teams who knows how the Redskins will look (or those teams for that matter). But the tone and outlook of the season can change with a win Sunday, especially if Cousins has a solid day.
  • Though I picked the Eagles to win by one -- our picks are made on Wednesday -- all week I've felt the Redskins are sitting in a good spot. The Eagles are missing one of their top defensive players, linebacker Mychal Kendricks. They have issues along the offensive line, especially at right tackle where former third stringer Andrew Gardner will start -- he struggled with rushers getting inside; that's a Ryan Kerrigan/Trent Murphy strength.
  • The Redskins have the corners to deal with Philadelphia's receivers, so it will come down to limiting yards after the catch by Darren Sproles and LeSean McCoy -- and limiting them on first down. The Redskins are capable of winning this game, but they've played one complete game since the 2012 season. It just so happened to be last week -- an aberration or foreshadowing?
  • Though one player said this week that losing Kendricks wouldn't hurt as much as you would think because of how well their front plays, I can say: the coaches do not agree. Safe to say they're not disappointed that Kendricks won't be on the field.
  • For what it's worth, the Redskins did a good job against McCoy in the second meeting last season (20 carries, 77 yards), using their big nickel to clog lanes up the middle and pinching the outside. McCoy makes defenders miss all the time, but the Redskins had an excellent shot on tackles in the hole or on the edge. I think they'd take those numbers again.
  • Cousins' ability to use his eyes to maneuver the defense was crucial last week (Robert Griffin III did this well, too, especially on the deep ball to DeSean Jackson). The Jaguars' defensive players read the quarterbacks' eyes, but the Eagles pattern match -- boiled down, it's playing man coverage within your zone. So maneuvering with your eyes is not as vital as it was last week.
  • Paul
    It sounds simplistic, but the coaches insist the biggest difference in tight end Niles Paul this season is confidence. He's naturally improved at this position, now in his third season at this spot. But they said one big change in Paul was evident after he dropped a wide-open throw Sunday. On his next chance, he made a tough grab on a back-shoulder pass in the end zone, with a defender in his face. To the coaches, that catch was an example of growth.
  • The Eagles will be an active team up front. It'll be on center Kory Lichtensteiger to know what's coming and call out adjustments accordingly. "Sometimes it's hard to ID; they're always running games and stuff. It changes your angles; you can get picked," Lichtensteiger said. "Just getting to your normal landmarks doesn't always work against a team like that."
  • Those looks can make it difficult for a young quarterback making his fifth career start like Cousins. But as Cousins said Friday afternoon, about a half hour after practice ended, if they felt it was that big an issue they would have still been on the field working on this aspect. Not that he thinks it's easy. "It's a lot mentally to handle," he said. "You've got to be on your business, have to be aware of the play clock how much time you have and what they're trying to give you. But at the end of the day we have to execute and not turn the ball over and make positive plays."
  • The Redskins' confidence in rookie Ryan Grant is legitimate. Coach Jay Gruden has nicknamed him "The Clinic" for how well he runs his routes and how savvy he is. There's trust between he and Cousins; coaches loved that third-and-five pass for 21 yards to the 3-yard line in which Cousins threw him open. Cousins knew where Grant would be and he got there when the ball arrived.

Pondering Cowboys' 46: Down to McClain

September, 20, 2014
Sep 20
IRVING, Texas -- In pondering the Dallas Cowboys' 46-man roster for Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams, the final spot depends on Rolando McClain's health.

Let's get the known inactive players out of the way off the bat: linebacker Justin Durant (groin), defensive tackle Davon Coleman (calf), defensive end Anthony Spencer (knee), quarterback Dustin Vaughan and tackle Donald Hawkins.

The return of cornerback Orlando Scandrick from a suspension would seem to put Tyler Patmon on the bench. The need for a fifth cornerback just isn't there, but maybe the Cowboys want to cover themselves in case they don't want to over-tax Scandrick in his first game.

With Lavar Edwards released earlier Saturday, that puts Jack Crawford in the lineup for the second straight week.

Now let's get to linebacker. Officially, McClain is doubtful with a groin injury. He did not practice the entire week but the Cowboys will wait to see how he warms up Sunday morning. The Cowboys called up Keith Smith from the practice squad so that should give you an idea McClain is not playing.

McClain is not like other veterans because he has not played much the past two seasons. He does not have a track record with the Cowboys of not practicing and playing. But he might be too valuable to keep off the field.

So the guess at the inactives is: Durant, Coleman, Spencer, Vaughan, Hawkins, Patmon and McClain.

Eagles recognize need for improvement

September, 20, 2014
Sep 20
Nick Foles hasn't located his rhythm yet.

LeSean McCoy has yet to have a breakout type of game.

The first two opponents have built double-figure leads at halftime.

Yet the Philadelphia Eagles are 2-0 with a visit looming Sunday from the Washington Redskins.

In other words, improvement is needed in many areas. But winning is a cure-all.

“You always have to keep getting better. That's the goal each and every week," Foles told “It's the NFL. You're playing against guys that are very talented. Those coaches are getting paid. They're the best at what they do."

All the hype is surrounding the probable return of wide receiver of DeSean Jackson. The Redskins pose problems; they had 10 sacks against the Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday.

The Eagles will need to play well if they hope to boost their record to 3-0.

“We haven't really come close to playing the kind of game we know we can play," safety Nate Allen told the website. “We're making too many mistakes here and there. Little things. Things that we will get corrected. The bottom line is that we've won both games we've played, but we know that we have to be better across the board."

Riley Cooper had just one catch in the Eagles' 30-27 win at Indianapolis. He had two in the season-opening victory over the Jaguars.

Somehow, the Eagles have found ways to win.

“We've got to put the ball in the end zone, for sure," Cooper said. “Little breakdowns, a lack of execution, those things are correctable and we will get them fixed. We're not happy with the way things have gone down there."
PHILADELPHIA – Chip Kelly has received a lot of credit for the innovations he has brought to football, on both the college and professional levels. Maybe because of that, Kelly doesn’t hesitate to deflect credit when he believes it isn’t well-founded.

Example: The Indianapolis Colts came out and leaned on their running game last Monday night. That led to speculation that the Colts wanted to control the ball and keep Kelly’s offense off the field. Forcing a successful team to change its personality would be a feather in a coach’s cap, but Kelly didn’t see it that way.

“I don't know if that's what their intentions were,” Kelly said. “I think sometimes maybe some people read too much into that. Maybe they saw something in us defensively that felt like they wanted to exploit the run game, I don't know. That's a question for other teams when they play us. But I haven't seen people just sit there and look at the play clock and wait 'til five seconds to go to milk the clock or anything.”

Indeed, although they did run the ball quite a bit behind an unbalanced offensive line, the Colts were getting to the line of scrimmage quickly and snapping the ball with dispatch.

“Actually,” Kelly said, “if you watch the Colts game, the Colts ran hurry-up. I think people are reading too much into that with them running the football. I didn't get the impression from watching the game and being on the sideline that they were trying to work the clock in any manner to keep us off the field. Maybe they thought in their game plan they could run the ball on us. I’ll give them credit: In the first half they did a really good job of it and we had to make some adjustments to shut that down. I thought they were doing some really good things there.

“If you really watch that game, they didn't look like they were trying to work the clock – they actually played hurry-up against us. I didn't see that aspect of it. I didn't see it that way. I just think they saw something in the run game they thought they could exploit.”

The Colts held the ball for 18 minutes, 17 seconds in the first half. The Eagles had the ball for just 11:43 while falling behind 17-6. The Colts gained 101 of their 169 rushing yards in the first half.

In the second half, the Colts held the ball for 17:58 while the Eagles had it for 12:02. But the Eagles outscored the Colts 24-10 in the second half. That’s probably the area in which Kelly really deserves credit.