Season has been painful for Eagles' Jordan Matthews - Daily News
"I try to look at the positives. I like what P.T (rookie wide receiver Paul Turner) was able to go out there and do. I was happy for him."
Turner played 41 snaps in only his second NFL game and caught six passes for 80 yards.
"And I was really proud of (backup tight end) Trey (Burton)," Matthews continued "His role got expanded with me being out. He got to show what he could really do (five catches, 53 yards in a season-high 53 snaps).
"So there's always positives. We might not be seeing them now in a loss. But some of those guys are going to be weapons for us in the future. We saw they can go out there and perform well without me being in there."
"It's been one of those years," Matthews said.
Matthews was on pace to put up statistics similar to last season (85 catches for 997 yards and eight touchdowns) heading into the Green Bay game. He may still finish in that neighborhood. But the overall struggles on offense have seemed to affect his production. Matthews' catch rate (63.3 percent vs. 66.4 pct.), yards after catch (3.5 yards vs. 4.9 yards), and drops (seven vs. five) are worse than last year.
But he said that when he watches film of his rookie year vs. now he sees a receiver who is more patient.
"I feel like a lot of my routes I was rushed," Matthews said. "And then whenever I knew the ball was coming to me, I wasn't as patient as I could be."
But above all else, the Eagles' success for the next few years is tied to the development of quarterback Carson Wentz, whose rookie season has careened from a smooth ride toward rocky waters.
Philadelphia needs to see positive signs from Wentz in the season's final month. And with that in mind, head coach Doug Pederson said he'll keep his eye on something specific.
"The biggest thing, probably [is] how well he continues to lead this football team going down the stretch," Pederson said. "There's obviously tough times right now. See how he manages that, see how he rallies from a quarterback leadership standpoint."
Beyond third downs, Redskins Coach Jay Gruden hasn’t been pleased with the defense’s lack of takeaways or red-zone defense over the past few weeks. Washington has won the turnover battle just once in the past four games, with a turnover differential of zero in that span. Gruden said the Redskins want to be plus-two each game. The team is tied for 19th with a minus-one turnover differential. The offense is tied for the 12th-fewest giveaways (14), while the defense is tied for the ninth-fewest on its side of the ball (13).
The defense in the red zone has been just as ineffective. Gruden said he would be satisfied if Washington’s red-zone defense was around 62 percent. The Redskins have allowed their past four opponents to score touchdowns on 76.9 percent (10 of 13) of their red-zone opportunities.
“Those are the key facets of winning football games and playing winning defense,” Gruden said of third-down defense, red-zone defense and creating turnovers. “We’ve been lacking in all three of those categories as of late, but we feel confident we can turn a corner and do a better job in all three.”