Flashbacks of 2012? Birds Must Cut Down on Turnovers in 2013

27 Aug

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

If Running back Bryce Brown can cut down on fumbles, he has the potential to be an outstanding back .  Photo by Webster Riddick.

If Running back Bryce Brown can cut down on fumbles, he has the potential to be an outstanding back . Photo by Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—Now that we know that Michael Vick is going to be the Eagles starting quarterback until he either gets hurt or plays badly, he and the Birds starting offense have a some things to work on as they get ready for their regular-season opener against the Washington Redskins.

One of those things, a return of the wave of turnovers that seems to become a hallmark of the last two years for the Eagles, were a part of last Saturday’s preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. In the 31-24 win over the Jaguars, the first team turned the ball over three times.

While Vick didn’t completely stink up the joint­—he completed 15-of-23 passes for 184 with a touchdown and an interception—the interception had fans and local media pundits in a tizzy.

“We all have to be in the moment and cognizant about it,” Vick said. “We can’t turn the ball over. It’s better that it happened now than in Week One.”

Under pressure from the Jacksonville defense, Vick, apparently trying to throw the ball away, threw it off of his back foot and threw it to a Jacksonville defender instead.

“We’ve just got to make sure that he understands what to do and we talked about that,” said Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. “But you’ve got to put him in those situations and that’s what this preseason is.… I thought he did a real good job of keeping plays alive at time, but there are some other times you’ve got to cut your losses, get to the line and get ready for the next play.”

One of the Eagles most promising running backs is Bryce Brown, who showed flashes of brilliance last season, but also had a bad habit of fumbling the ball.

In the Jacksonville game, Brown took the ball from the Jaguar 26 and was three yards from a touchdown until Jacksonville defensive back Dwight Lowery forced the ball from his grasp. The ball ended up in the end zone for a touchback with an opportunity to score going by the wayside.

After reviewing the film, Kelly said Brown’s fumble was just a good hit by Jacksonville defender.  He said he likes what he sees from Brown as a running back.

“Tough, hard, physical runner,” Kelly said. “He’s got outstanding speed for a big guy. Really is decisive when he makes decisions on where he wants to go.”

Kelly’s run-oriented option offense is tailor made for a running back with Brown’s skills. He recognizes his issues with ball security and is working on them, he said.

“I spend a lot of time on working in traffic,” said Brown, who gained 564 yards on 115 carries with three fumbles lost. “I put my emphasis on is really keeping the ball tight in traffic.  I’m trying to put emphasis on being in between the tackles and things like that.”

During Monday’s practice, Brown had a scare when he twisted his left ankle, but wound up getting back on the field later after getting it taped. He is expected to play in the Birds final preseason game against the New York Jets.

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