As questions continue to swirl around the Eagles and why they start games slowly, why there have been so many defensive lapses, especially in the fourth quarter, and other various and sundry reasons for their 4-5 record, the one that Jason Kelce tried to put a finger on had to do with the differences between this year’s team and last year’s Super Bowl champion team.
It comes down to accountability, according to the Eagles center.
“The biggest thing you see in my opinion, this team (compared to) last year, at least offensively, is the cohesion, people being accountable to the job that their asked to do, everybody being on the same page,” said Kelce. “Last year it just seemed like everything was clicking.”
Kelce identified a couple of players on last year’s team, who are no longer around, for making sure they were accountable for their performance.
“We had guys, Brent Celek, who’d been here a long time, was very accountable, Torrey Smith, who’d been in the league a long time, very accountable, Mack Hollins is a guy that gave good effort, LeGarrette Blount, all the running backs, they had their limited amount of stuff that they had to know but they knew what to do and knew how to do those three things, that’s what we’re missing, we’re missing that accountability to tell you the truth,” said Kelce.
“We’re missing everybody just doing their job and it’s hard, it’s little fine coaching details, little things that make a big difference at the end of the day, and those are the things we’re not getting done on a consistent enough basis.
“It’s making sure that going into the game that you’ve repped it in your mind if you haven’t had the physical rep. This isn’t just players, it’s coaches, it’s everybody, everybody takes accountability and makes sure everybody’s ready to go.
"And from a players standpoint it’s on you to make sure that you’re watching the film, you’re doing everything during the week necessary to improve to make sure you understand the finer coaching points, every little detail so that when you’re in the middle of the game you’re not playing slow or apprehensive. You know exactly what you have to do and go 100 percent and give great effort, but it’s also on the coaches that all the guys are ready to go.”
Even after reporters circled back to Kelce after he was done with the first wave of reporters, he didn’t change his stance.
“I meant it more along the lines of consistency of the offense and people being accountable doing their job,” he said.
“I didn’t mean it like it was a lack of effort or a lack of guys trying or anything like that. It’s just that the consistency of everybody doing their job every single play has not been at the same level as last year. And that’s just the reality of it.”
Safety Malcolm Jenkins was asked about Kelce’s comments.
“This is me personally,” said Jenkins. “Kelce probably sees things that I don’t. But nah, that wouldn’t be my assessment. But I think his opinion, for him, is probably accurate.”
Asked for his assessment on the mindset in the locker room, Jenkins said: “The mindset of the locker room is that we’re focused on trying to beat the New Orleans Saints. And nothing more … That’s where our minds are. The rest of that is soap-opera films. We’ve got a job to do, and that’s what we’re focused on.”
Tight end Zach Ertz was also asked about the leadership inside the locker room.
“I think right now everyone needs a little leadership,” he said. “I think being a leader isn’t just always having the same mentality no matter what you’re going through. Kind of allow yourself to always remain calm and collected even though there may be a 1,000 things swirling internally and you can’t let it show on the inside and just always maintain the energy for the group. Obviously there’s a lot of negative things being said about us, but understand we still have a job to do and we still have goals that are attainable in front of us.”
Before practice, and before the locker room doors opened and Kelce talked, quarterback Carson Wentz was asked about the team’s leadership and how it is important right now moreso than ever after having lost more games than they have won so far.
“The guys that we have and especially the leadership, we’re not going to sink down now because of the performances that we’ve had or our record,” said Wentz. “We’re not going to look at any of that stuff. We’re going to take it one day at a time and go out to practice, have some fun and be ourselves again, and get ready to go play a good Saints team.
“I think as a leader, all of us have to be the ones to pull everyone along. At the same time, we’re not trying to fix or solve a whole bunch of stuff. We just have to focus in on these little things. I think a lot of the younger guys, and some of the non-leaders and role players will follow right along with the energy and the tempo and the attitude that a lot of the leaders have. And that’s what we’re going to do starting today.”