NFL Team Report - Philadelphia Eagles - INSIDE SLANT


Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles continues to struggle. He threw for 400-plus yards for the third time in his career in Sunday's 24-20 loss to Arizona, but threw two more interceptions and once again completed fewer than 60 percent of his pass attempts.

Foles, who was at the top of nearly every significant NFL passing category last season when he notched the third highest passer rating in league history (119.2), is near the bottom of nearly every one of those passing categories after seven games.

Last year, the Eagles made the playoffs because of Foles. This year, they are 5-2 and a half game out of first place in the NFC East in spite of him. Only Jacksonville's Blake Bortles (12) and the Jets' Geno Smith (10) have more interceptions than Foles (nine).

Foles' two biggest problems this season have been his footwork and his decision-making. He's been sacked a league-low seven times and has faced slightly less pressure than he did a year ago. Yet he too often has been throwing off-balance or off his back foot.

"What I'm finding is that when he sets his feet and steps into his throws, he's awesome," offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. "What we're also finding is there are times when he gets flushed or he flushes himself (out of the pocket) and he doesn't have his feet underneath him and he's not as good as he could be if they were.

"But that can be said for all quarterbacks. I remember a game (this season) when Tom Brady was playing against the Chiefs and he didn't look so great. And everybody was wondering when he was going to retire. Now they're 4-0 since that time."

The Eagles need Foles to play more like he did last season if they are going to make a serious Super Bowl push. Opposing defenses are putting eight players in the box to stop running back LeSean McCoy and daring the Eagles to beat them through the air.

The Eagles have just 16 offensive touchdowns in seven games.

"I've got to put us in position where we can have more points on the board and win the games," Foles said. "I'm the decision-maker on offense. I have the ball every single play. It's my job to make sure it goes to the right spots. That's how I look at it. And yes, I have to do a better job of that."

SERIES HISTORY: 4th regular-season meeting. Eagles lead series, 3-0. The last time the two teams met was on Dec. 2, 2010 in Philadelphia. The Eagles won that game, 34-24. Quarterback Michael Vick completed 22 of 33 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 48 yards and another touchdown.

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NFL Team Report - Philadelphia Eagles - NOTES, QUOTES


--Last year, the Eagles' offensive line didn't have a single missed start. This year, they've already got 14. They'll be getting center Jason Kelce back Sunday against Houston. He's missed the last four games recovering from sports hernia surgery. But right guard Todd Herremans tore his biceps last week. He's going to try and play with it, but it remains to be seen how effective he's going to be.

"We'll see what he can do this week," coach Chip Kelly said.

--The Eagles were 0-for-3 in the red zone in Sunday's 24-20 loss to Arizona, bringing their league-worst red-zone touchdown percentage to 34.8 percent. In the last 10 years, just one team has made the playoffs with a red-zone percentage of 40 percent or lower. Three of the Eagles' 17 turnovers have been in the red zone.

"Our mindset is you have three (points), but we're greedy and we want seven," Kelly said. "But you can't come away without anything in that situation. I think the turnovers are really the biggest part that's killing us in the red zone right now."

--Sunday's game in Houston is a homecoming of sorts for Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans. Ryans spent six seasons with the Texans before they traded him to the Eagles in March of 2012. Ryans, who still lives in Houston in the offseason, said he has no hard feelings about being traded.

"I could see it coming," Ryans said. "I wasn't playing on third down. I was only playing base. I just got a new contract there. So I knew it wasn't going to last long. They said they couldn't pay me what they were paying me if I wasn't playing every down. I said cool. There were no hard feelings or anything. I understood. Me being six years in the game, it wasn't surprising to me. I wasn't upset or anything like that. I still had an opportunity to come to (another) team and play football."