Andy Reid: “That’s Ridiculous and That’s Not Good Football”
Andy Reid often sounded like a broken record last season while lamenting the Eagles' propensity for undisciplined play and turnovers.
“Offensively, turnovers, turnovers, turnovers," admitted Reid. "You just can’t have those and I would say that we didn’t play as disciplined offensively as we needed to all the way around. I know [QB] Michael [Vick] took the blame yesterday [but] it’s not a one man show. That’s not what it is. Everybody had a piece of this pie starting with me and the coaches. You can’t play like that whether it was from play calling, execution, to the penalties there. But the bottom line is that it ended up in the 91 yard drive. That gives you an indication about what you can do offensively if you eliminate the penalties and eliminate the turnovers."
It was understandably a goal to reduce those turnovers this season after Philadelphia finished 2011 with a -14 turnover ratio, tied for second worst in the NFL. After the Eagles showed some signs of progress in that department during the preseason, Sunday's regular-season opener showed there is still a ways to go.
“I didn’t go in thinking that we would have that many penalties and that many turnovers," admitted Reid. "As a coach, you’re looking to not make mistakes and as players, you’re looking to not make mistakes. You’re going to have games like this, and the important thing is that you battle through and that you win the game. We were able to do both of those.”
The Eagles were penalized 12 times for 110 yards in their win over Cleveland. There was variety to go along with volume: Six for holding and one apiece for neutral zone infraction, encroachment, offensive pass interference, illegal block above the waist, unnecessary roughness and roughing the passer. Two offensive holding penalty was declined due to an intercepted pass.
You have 12 penalties for 110 yards," stated Reid. "That’s ridiculous and that’s not good football. We just have to make sure we take care of that."
Reid mentioned that turnovers aren't as costly if they don't give the opponent good field position – the Eagles gave up the Browns lone touchdown on a interception that was returned for a touchdown.
"Field position. This is a league where field position is very, very important," Reid explained. "You can’t start drives where we start our drives. You have to make sure on special teams that you take care of business there. Make sure on turnovers that those don’t take place and you change the field position and then you had that back to your opposing team and make them work for what they’re getting there."
Taking chances defines quarterback Mike Vick's game, but Reid felt that both offensive line play and poor decision making attributed to the Browns lone touchdown.
"It starts with protection and then it comes back to decision making," Reid said.
Vick threw four picks on the day, but he was hardly the only culprit (and he certainly helped the Eagles win the game with an impressive 91-yard drive in the fourth quarter). LeSean McCoy fumbled and the team turned it over five times in the game. The Eagles got started early and often, committing four penalties in first quarter alone.
"When you have penalties within the drives, your chances of scoring go way down and I mean way down in that particular drive," said Reid. "So, you’ve got to eliminate the mistakes. The things you can control and that’s one of them, holding calls, you can eliminate those. You take care of business with that, then you’re able to take that 456 yards and put some points on the board.”