5 Areas Philadelphia Eagles Must Improve in Week 6 Contest
The Philadelphia Eagles head into Tampa Bay with an opportunity to improve their record to .500, which would keep them at least in a tie for first place in the NFC East.
The Buccaneers are starting rookie quarterback Mike Glennon, but they also boast a top-notch defense that features Darrelle Revis, Lavonte David and Gerald McCoy.
For the Eagles to collect their second straight victory, they will need to play sound, mistake-free football. More specifically, they will need to improve on the following five areas.
1. No. 2 Wide Receiver
Riley Cooper has been abysmal for the Eagles this season as the team's No. 2 wide receiver. He's recorded just eight catches for 93 yards and a touchdown in five starts.
Pro Football Focus (subscription required) notes that, despite ranking ninth among all wide receivers in total snaps, he ranks 86th in receptions, 93rd in yards and 119th in yards after the catch.
DeSean Jackson will likely be covered by Darrelle Revis on Sunday. Revis has been arguably the top cornerback in the league since he entered the league in 2007. If he takes Jackson out of the game, the Eagles absolutely need Cooper to step up and make some plays.
2. Running Game
Tampa Bay has a really good run defense. Last year, the Bucs defense held the combination of Bryce Brown and Dion Lewis to two yards on 13 carries.
With Michael Vick sidelined for part of the team's Week 5 contest, LeSean McCoy carried the ball seven times for four negative yards in the second half. Vick is likely out for this week's game.
If the running game is as bad as it was against Tampa last year or the Giants this past week, the Eagles are in big trouble.
3. Jason Kelce
Third-year center Jason Kelce has quietly emerged as one of the top centers in the game. Against the Giants, however, he turned in one of the worst performances you will ever find by an offensive lineman.
According to Pro Football Focus, Kelce rated as a -8.9, including a -10.4 on run-blocking. He was just destroyed on play after play by the combination of Mike Patterson and Cullen Jenkins (both former Eagles defensive tackles).
The Eagles combined for five yards on nine carries while running behind Kelce. That absolutely has to improve against Tampa Bay, which is going to be difficult because of Buccaneers star defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.
4. Pass Rush
The Eagles put some pressure on Eli Manning in Sunday's game. According to PFF, they collected 18 hurries as a team, including five by outside linebacker Connor Barwin.
But they recorded just a single sack, which was the first of rookie Bennie Logan's career. Usually, if your team records 18 hurries, you're going to sack the quarterback three or four times.
Mike Glennon is no Eli Manning, so maybe the pressure will get to the rookie quarterback making his second career start. With that said, there's no "welcome to the NFL" message quite like a barrage of sacks.
The Eagles' offensive line has been committing way too many penalties this season, which has cost the team yards and touchdowns. Sooner or later, it's going to cost the Eagles a game.
Just last week, the offensive line committed four penalties—one apiece by Lane Johnson, Jason Peters, Jason Kelce and Allen Barbre.
On the road with their backup quarterback against a solid defensive team like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Eagles need to be on top of their game. That means playing solid, sound, fundamental football with no costly penalties.