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Monday, October 28, 2013
Upon Further Review: Eagles Week 8

By Phil Sheridan

PHILADELPHIA -- Taking a look at four pressing issues a day after the Philadelphia Eagles’ 15-7 loss to the New York Giants.

Matt Barkley
Philadelphia's offense has been woeful the past two weeks with Matt Barkley at quarterback.
Maybe QB Matt Barkley should practice with the first team this week. As coach Chip Kelly acknowledged in his weekly appearance on 94.1 WIP FM Monday morning, Michael Vick is almost certainly out for next week. Nick Foles has not yet been cleared by doctors to resume practicing. Even if Foles does get clearance through the concussion protocol, Kelly may want to make sure Barkley is better prepared than he was for his last two unplanned relief appearances.

“I think it is valuable just to practice with those guys and see their timing and know their breaks in a full-speed environment,” Barkley said. “Routes versus air is one thing, but to be able to get reps in team periods and seven-on-seven, I think it will be valuable.”

Unless, of course, the Eagles can convince the Raiders to cover DeSean Jackson with air instead of a defender.

Jackson’s history might have worked against him Sunday. There was booing after he let a punt skip off his fingers and go out of bounds deep in Eagles territory. Eagles fans are all too aware that Jackson has admitted to letting outside issues, like his contract, affect his commitment on the field.

But this just seemed to be a punt that was carried by the wind.

“The punter punted it pretty far,” Jackson said. “It was one of those things where he outkicked me. It was over my head and the wind took it.”

LeSean McCoy took the blame again. The running back said, “I didn’t show up” for the game against Dallas last week, when clearly there were a lot of problems with the running game. McCoy vowed Sunday’s game against the Giants would be different.

He gained 48 yards on 15 carries. McCoy remains the NFL’s rushing leader with 733 yards, but all that talk about his early pace seems like ancient history. After three weeks and 395 yards, McCoy was on pace for more than 2,100 rushing yards. He’s now on pace for 1,466 and trending sharply downward.

“It starts with me,” McCoy said. “I feel like, coming into the game, we want to establish the run. Teams know that. It starts with me. I have to get out there and get it going.”

The last two games may be reality. The previous two might have been misleading.

The Eagles got to 3-3 with consecutive road wins against the Giants and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That had Kelly’s team feeling like it was on the right track, with a chance to assume control of the NFC East with home games against Dallas and New York.

The Eagles are 0-2 with zero offensive touchdowns in those games. While there is plenty to chew on in explaining their offensive futility, it may be worth a second look at the Eagles’ wins. The first came in the season opener at Washington, against a rusty Robert Griffin III and a defense with no game tape of Kelly’s offense to study. The next two came against teams that were winless when the Eagles played them.

It’s totally understandable for the Eagles to lose against exceptional teams like Kansas City and Denver, who are a combined 15-1. The losses to similarly flawed teams like San Diego, Dallas and the Giants suggest that the Eagles just aren’t good enough to be called average.

Najee Goode outscored his father. John Goode played in 30 NFL games as a tight end with the Eagles and the St. Louis Cardinals. He never scored a touchdown.

Goode’s son Najee, a linebacker and special teams mainstay for the Eagles, recovered an errant long snap Sunday to score the Eagles’ only touchdown of the game -- and the Goode family’s only NFL touchdown as well.

“I was just going to go hit him,” Goode said, referring to Giants punter Steve Weatherford's inept pursuit of Zak DeOssie's bad snap. “I was going to knock the mess out of him to get the ball into the end zone. Then the ball came through and I saw it and my eyes got big and I scooped it up.”

Goode found the end zone, something the Eagles' offense has failed to do for the past eight quarters.