You Aren’t Playing Hard If You’re Not Focused And DisciplinedBREAKING NEWS, Eagles, General News, News Monday, December 17th, 2012
Eagles head coach Andy Reid continues to say his Eagles football team has played hard all year, but I must disagree. Reid is just trying to protect his players, but he knows there’s something missing.
Playing hard not only involves the body, but it also involves the mind. Discipline and mental toughness are a big part of playing hard and they contribute to winning football. Playing hard involves focusing on the details, such as securing the ball when you’re carrying it. You’re not playing hard when you carry the ball loosely and don’t cover both points of the football in your hand and arm pit.
You’re playing hard when you put two arms on the football in a crowd. That’s what focusing is all about. Young Eagles players such as Nick Foles and Bryce Brown need to learn now what playing hard is all about. It’s about being passionate, but disciplined and focused as well.
It involves not getting penalties by holding because you’re out of position. You anticipate what the other team is going to do, so you’re in position and not holding.
The Eagles have been beating themselves throughout the season with turnovers. Interceptions and fumbles don’t just happen. They occur because the passer or ball carrier isn’t properly focused on what they’re doing and anticipating what the other team is going to do.
The offensive linemen and the defensive backs each have to anticipate the pass rush games and pass patterns of the opposition. If you don’t think things through prior to the game and prior to each play, you get surprised and you wind up holding.
I remember standing close to the team’s one-on-one battles between the Eagles offensive and defensive lines. I was shocked at how cavalier then defensive line coach Jim Washburn was about jumping off sides. He stressed getting off on the ball, but he never admonished the players for jumping off sides. Passionate yet undisciplined will always get you beaten.
Here’s how Reid described his team’s turnover problem.
“Turnovers destroy you in this league. There’s one thing that if we didn’t know it before the season, we surely know it now that we’re sitting there at minus-22 in the giveaway/takeaway area,” coach Andy Reid said. “You have 123 points scored on 34 turnovers, and you’re only getting 33 points on your 12 takeaways. That’s a bad stat.”
Reid’s teams for most of the decade were disciplined. Donovan McNabb was a disciplined quarterback and that had a lot to do with why they won so much. It’s not easy to run an offense against the complex and advanced defenses in the NFL, yet stay away from turnovers. The teams which are able to do it, win often because they let their opponents beat themselves.
In the 2012 season, the Eagles opponents have let the team in midnight green beat themselves.
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