Improved offensive line play key to Eagles getting on track
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur made it sound very simple, maybe too simple.
The Eagles offensive line played its best game of the season in last Sunday's 39-17 win over the New Orleans Saints. The Eagles' line did not allow a sack on 45 pass attempts and allowed the running game to go for a season-high 186 yards and more than 5 yards per carry.
Told that some of the linemen said they were thinking too much before Sunday's performance, Shurmur laughed.
''The mind is a dangerous thing,'' Shurmur said. ''You've just got to go play sometimes. This is a game for PE (physical education) majors. We've got to just go play. We've got to be aggressive. We've just got to go.''
''We've just got to play. Sometimes go right or go left, or whatever you're going to do ... And block the guy that shows. Sometimes that's just what we need to do.
''So when our guys are saying `We've got to do more, or we're overthinking things,' they're going past that first stage of `go left and block a guy.' We can complicate the game sometimes. I'm going to make it simple. We've got to block them, but the runner's got to run; the quarterbacks are going to throw and the receivers are going to catch. That's sort of what it is.''
Through the first four games of the season that isn't what it was. As the line struggled, especially in the running game where Eagles backs had gained 280 yards rushing on 89 carries, just over 3.2 yards per carry.
''This is what the offense is supposed to look like,'' tackle Jason Peters said after the win over the Saints. ''It might not look like this every week. But this is what it's supposed to look like.''
Coach Chip Kelly credited the line for getting the team's running game going and ultimately the much-needed win over the Saints.
Kelly made it sound pretty basic as well.
''We just blocked better in the run game,'' Kelly said. ''And obviously if we can get our run game going, then our pass game with our quick game and our play-action passes off of that, I think we kept (quarterback) Sam (Bradford) clean, gave him an opportunity to throw the football. But, it starts with us being able to run the football, and we did a good job with that.
''I thought that was the key. We talked about being able to establish the run and then things can build off of that. But I credit those guys up front, I think they had a good week of preparation and they did a really nice job, Sunday.''
NOTES: Four Eagles missed Wednesday's practice and could miss Monday's game against the New York Giants. Linebackers Mychal Kendricks (hamstring) and Kiko Alonso (knee), wide receiver Nelson Agholor (leg) and defensive end Brandon Bair (groin) were all out of practice.
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