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Eagles news: Still plenty of room for improvement for the Eagles

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News and notes for 10/26

Minnesota Vikings v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Wentz needs to do less 'gunslinging' - Daily News

Andy Reid, Favre's former Green Bay quarterbacks coach, knew exactly how to bait Favre into crucial mistakes. I never saw Favre play a great game against the Eagles. I flashed back to that Sunday, with the way the Eagles rolled their coverage while blitzing Sam Bradford, something they knew Bradford didn't like. He turned the ball over three times.

Wentz, meanwhile, was a rookie facing the defense that had given up the fewest points in the league, and he looked like it Sunday. On the second interception Wentz threw, in the first quarter, I definitely had the feeling that Wentz tried to force a ball that he would have thrown away three or four weeks ago; I think maybe now, subtly, not even consciously, he thinks he should be able to make a play, fit the ball into a tiny window.

Eagles' Carson Wentz fighting through his first funk - ESPN

You can point to receiver drops (5.4 percent of Wentz's passes have been dropped, the fifth-highest mark in the league, per ESPN Stats & Info) or general lack of standout play from his skill position players, but there's no denying that Wentz's own play has fallen off.

His dip in accuracy has been noticeable. Per Stats & Info, Wentz was 0-of-7 on passes that traveled more than 10 yards downfield against Minnesota, and his 16 completions had an average target distance of 1.6 yards downfield.

Head coach Doug Pederson has picked up on a mechanical issue. He noted Monday that Wentz's lower body and feet are not pointing in a direct line toward the intended receiver at times.

"Sometimes when your feet are not on the target line, you tend to throw high and you tend to throw inside of a receiver, which is what we saw a little bit yesterday," he said. "We just have to continue to drill it and drill it down to where you get in the game and it does become second nature."

Eagles Notes: Ryan Mathews’ Fumbling A ‘Concern’ - Philly Mag

“It’s definitely a concern and we don’t want to see it, especially in those situations,” Doug Pederson said. “We’ve got to continue to either find out if he’s tired, where he’s at at the end of the game; if we need to put Wendell [Smallwood] or Darren [Sproles] in there — we’ll find out more about that. But by no means am I down on Ryan at all. We just have to make sure that he understands that he can’t obviously do that and put ourselves in a situation where we’re giving the ball back to the opponent.

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Mathews has fumbled the ball about once every 33 carries this season, after fumbling around once every 35 rushes last year. Mathews was also tied for eighth last season for fumbles among all NFL running backs, even though he ran the ball just 106 times.

Treat road games like 'business trip,' says Eagles coach Pederson - Daily News

On the road, it's been a different story, a tale of caution as the Eagles travel to Dallas this Sunday for their first-place showdown with the Cowboys. In successive weeks following their bye, the Eagles surrendered 24 and 27 points, respectively, to Detroit and Washington, teams with suspect defenses that entered those games executing their offenses poorly, and whose game against each other Sunday made the vaudeville act at the Linc seem like Hamilton in comparison.

"We just have to learn how to handle the road," Eagles coach Doug Pederson said Monday. "It's a business trip. There can be some distractions with family and friends that come to games, or for whatever reason. And both coaches and players have to learn to say, 'Hey, we're here for a reason and we're trying to win a football game.' "

That's fine for issues of focus. The Eagles committed 27 penalties in the first two road games after the break, a variety pack that permeated both sides of the ball. But while some traced it to concentration, others suggested communication was the root: Delay-of-game penalties amid hostile crowds in Detroit and Washington, when Wentz nearly broke a metacarpal clapping for the snap, late audibles that seemed to confuse the Eagles on both sides of the ball more than their opponents.