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Eagles focusing on turnovers, tackling for turnaround

PHILADELPHIA -- Poor tackling, careless ball security and mental mistakes are a recipe for disaster in the NFL.

The inability to execute these basic fundamentals is a main reason why the Philadelphia Eagles -- a preseason favorite to reach the Super Bowl -- are off to a 1-4 start.

"A little review of the last game, it's real simple," offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said Thursday, "we take care of the ball and we'll do a little bit better."

In a 31-24 loss at Buffalo last Sunday, the Eagles had 489 yards of total offense. But five turnovers, including one interception that was returned for a score, cost Philadelphia.

A week earlier, the Eagles had 513 total yards in a 24-23 loss to San Francisco. But they committed three turnovers, including a fumble inside the 49ers 35 in the final minutes.

Overall, the Eagles lead the NFL with 15 turnovers.

"The one thing that you've got to remember is to protect that football, and I have to do it all the time when I'm in the pocket," quarterback Michael Vick said. "There's guys around me all day. It's just part of being a football player and being a great football player. I think that's what determines what type of player you are in the long run."

Expectations entering the season were enormous for the Eagles after the defending NFC East champions spent wildly in free agency and brought in six players with Pro Bowls on their resume.

But all that talent is wasted potential at this point. It hasn't translated into wins.

"If it was one particular thing, then you might say that (players aren't listening)," coach Andy Reid said. "That's not how I feel. I think that the players are listening. We've just got to continue to work our fundamentals and do the right things in practice, practice fast, and so on. Do the things that we've always done."

It isn't just the turnovers that are killing the Eagles. Sloppy tackling has been a major problem on defense, leading to big plays and touchdowns.

Players scoff at the notion that limited padded practices due to the new rules in the collective bargaining agreement is what's causing all those missed tackles.

"Regardless of if we couldn't go in pads, we still have to know how to tackle," rookie linebacker Brian Rolle said. "It's a professional game, we're paid for what we do, we should be good at it regardless of how many times we practice it."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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