Eagles Continued Lack of Discipline Still Having Impact

By Tom Long, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

The Philadelphia Eagles started the season 3-0, but have looked feeble since, with a record of 5-8. Fans and critics alike will blame the defense that, until last week had gone almost three weeks without a sack.

Among the arising issues are continued penalties. The Eagles have accounted for several unnecessary penalties this season and it has been a trend for weeks on end.

Head coach Doug Peterson has an undisciplined and young team on his hands. It is important now to hone in and make these players more aware of their mistakes.

The Eagles are tied for second with 105 penalties this year — only less than the Raiders with 122. These 105 penalties have cost the Eagles 849 yards.

Taking a closer look at the distribution of the penalties, it appears that the offensive line is suffering tremendously. False starts account for 24 of the total penalties. This is nine more false starts than the league average. This clearly reflects the lack of talent on the offensive line at the moment, with players like Lane Johnson serving a 10-game suspension, rookie Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Allen Barbre injured and Brandon Brooks missing two games due to illness. 

Further, the Eagles have committed nine unnecessary roughness penalties, double the league average. Unnecessary roughness calls are a tremendous way to gauge discipline, an area that, based on the numbers, the Eagles are currently lacking. 

It is no secret that the Eagles receiving core has struggled this year. One area that is easily improved upon is offensive pass interference, where the Eagles have accumulated eight penalties this season. This is almost triple the league average of 2.53. 

Take for example Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins. Tight end Zach Ertz was called for a block in the back on a play where Darren Sproles made an explosive touchdown return on a punt. As a result, the play was brought back, costing the Eagles the touchdown. This is one of many examples where penalties in the NFL can easily take away wins.

These types of plays are destroying positive progress made in the heat of the game. This young Eagles team shows signs of a bright future, however, they must learn to become more disciplined to make any sort of real progress.

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