Suddenly there was little production from their wide receivers.
The Eagles won, and that’s really all that matters, offensive coordinator Mike Groh and wide receiver Mike Wallace, a veteran in his first season with this team, insist.
“Obviously we want to improve and I think that we will,” Groh said Tuesday at his weekly press conference. “We’ve got veteran guys here that know the expectation level. We need to improve our execution. There’s a lot of things we need to get better at and [I’m] confident that we’ll get back to work here and get on that grass tomorrow and start that process.”
Wallace was targeted just three times with no receptions but did draw a long pass interference penalty.
And none of the wide receivers caught a pass longer than the 15-yarder quarterback Nick Foles did on the latest variation of the Philly Special, which helped set up the Eagles’ first touchdown.
The Eagles are without injured receivers Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) and Mack Hollins (groin). Jeffery likely will return before the end of the month. Hollins is on injured reserve and must miss seven more weeks. In the meantime, the team reportedly worked out Corey Coleman and Breshad Perriman, but the Patriots, per ESPN, nabbed Coleman.
“There’s been a lot of guys in and out throughout training camp, a lot of guys down, a lot of guys up,” Wallace said Monday, “so it’s just a timing thing. We’ve been all over the place as far as just players just [working together], like me working with Nick, [Nelson Agholor]. Whoever.
“I’ve been out of practice, Nellie’s been out of practice, Nick’s been out of practice … so I think we’ll jell. I think we had a pretty good day today.”
Besides, just from a schematic standpoint, it’s tough to get a deep passing game going against a team like the Falcons, who have good safeties and corners playing mostly Cover 3, a three-deep zone concept designed to take away passes going over the top.
“They do a great job of trying to make you go the long, hard way,” Groh said Tuesday, “and that’s what they were able to do. … They just make it really difficult to get up and over the top, and that’s why a lot of people are running this system in the league right now.”
Including the Eagles, from time to time.
As for their next opponent, the Tampa Bay Bucs, they present more of a Cover 4 (quarters) look. And even though that means an extra deep defender, Wallace believes that will allow the offense to open up more than it did against Atlanta.
“I think quarters is the best coverage to get deep passes,” he said. “You can make them any type of way you want them, in any coverage. But me personally, I think quarters is a defense that you love to play to make big plays against.”
At this point, the Eagles will take whatever works as they are expected to continue with Foles as the starter in place of Carson Wentz.
Wentz could be cleared as soon as this week, according to a report on Sunday by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. A more realistic expectation for Wentz would be Week 3 or beyond, however, the report also suggested.
Groh said head coach Doug Pederson is expected to announce the starter on Wednesday.
Everyone understands they have to be sharper on the road against a team coming off a 48-point explosion on the road in its opener.
That includes the Eagles’ defense, which by most accounts could not have played better.
Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz would disagree.
“We did enough to win,” he said. “We were sloppy in some areas. I think we had sloppy plays throughout the defense — secondary, linebackers, and defensive line. But we did enough to win.
“But when it’s all said and done, the players that are successful over the course of the season, the offenses and defenses that are successful and the teams that are successful over the course of the season, are the ones that correct mistakes, make adjustments and continue to improve over the course of the season.”
More on those in the coming days.
The Eagles on Tuesday signed S Tre Sullivan to the practice squad and released CB De'Vante Bausby from the practice squad.