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Eagles Notebook: Holding penalties damaging to Eagles

More changing parts, more penalties, more struggles for the Eagles' offensive line, easily this 2-2 team's least stable unit. Yesterday's 17-12 loss to the Redskins got off to a jarring start when Max Jean-Gilles lined up for the first play at right guard, even though the Eagles made no changes to their starters when the pregame inactives and lineups were announced. Sore-kneed N

More changing parts, more penalties, more struggles for the Eagles' offensive line, easily this 2-2 team's least stable unit.

Yesterday's 17-12 loss to the Redskins got off to a jarring start when Max Jean-Gilles lined up for the first play at right guard, even though the Eagles made no changes to their starters when the pregame inactives and lineups were announced. Sore-kneed Nick Cole was active, he just didn't play, which would seem to be wasting an active roster spot. Reggie Wells, who stepped in for Cole last week in the second quarter in Jacksonville, was nowhere to be found this time.

Offensive line coach Juan Castillo watched his punchless group take four holding penalties, including one on Jean-Gilles that negated Vick's 23-yard ramble through the Washington defense before he was sandwiched between defenders and driven from the game.

"We just need to get better," said right tackle Winston Justice.

Kevin Kolb, who quarterbacked the final three quarters, had Redskins' hands on him over and over again as he looked for receivers, though he was sacked just once, creating a fumble that Justice recovered.

Left tackle Jason Peters should be the bulwark of this group, since he's making $60 million over 6 years. But Peters usually leads the penalty parade, and he did yesterday, being whistled for holding twice.

"A lot of mistakes, penalties, I had two, we just started slow and could never catch up," Peters said. "We weren't focused. We didn't score but six points in the first half, and that's not us.

"Like I said, I had two penalties on me, and that's something I'm going to correct."

On Peters' first penalty, Kolb hit Owen Schmitt for a first down inside the Redskins' 35 in the second quarter, the play negated. Peters wiped out a decent Kolb scramble from the Eagles' 39 in the third quarter, the drive that ended in a Shady McCoy fumble.

Peters said both times he was doing "the same thing I always do. I guess different referees . . . it's just a bad deal."

Another QB change

Several Eagles downplayed the excuse of being flummoxed by the switch from Michael Vick to Kevin Kolb at quarterback after Vick was injured near the end of the first quarter.

"Kevin was a starter [when the season began], he plays just like a starter," Jason Peters said. "It wasn't a big deal to me," except in that Kolb is righthanded, meaning Peters protects the blindside.

Wideout Jason Avant said: "It really didn't throw us off at all. I think everything was the same. We're the same offense. Mike and Kevin are good quarterbacks. The things you see with Mike is not the design, it's something that just happens. The offense never changes. I think we moved the ball pretty well, we just didn't do it consistently."

Birdseed

LeSean McCoy caught 12 passes for 110 yards, ran 16 times for 64. That was the most catches by an Eagles back since Brian Westbrook caught 14 against Dallas, on Nov. 4, 2007. McCoy's fumble was just the Eagles' second turnover of the season . . . Riley Cooper and Asante Samuel left the game with concussions. If Cooper is going to be sidelined, the Eagles will probably make a roster move, because they have only three other wideouts . . . Linebacker Omar Gaither was back on the field after being deactivated in Jacksonville . . . Clinton Portis left the game with a groin injury, but Washington was still able to eat up clock running the ball on its final possession . . . Words to live by from Ellis Hobbs: "Anything you don't tighten down on that exposes itself early in the season, you're going to continually see. You've got to take it upon yourself as an individual, as a player, and then as a defense, to say that this is a weak spot of ours, and we've got to strengthen up" . . .

Kevin Kolb's Hail Mary that was picked off after bouncing out of Jason Avant's hands was the Eagles' first interception of the season . . . Fullback Owen Schmitt caught three passes for 43 yards . . . DeSean Jackson managed just three catches for 19 yards, two punt returns for 20 . . . Fifty-seven of Donovan McNabb's 125 passing yards came on one long strike to Anthony Armstrong, when Kurt Coleman was late getting over . . . "We've just got to make sure we control the line of scrimmage and get off blocks," defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said, when asked about the Eagles' early run-stopping woes. Translation: "It would be helpful if we didn't let the other team push us downfield so much."

For more Eagles coverage and opinion, read the Daily News' Eagles blog, Eagletarian, at www.eagletarian.com.

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http://twitter.com/LesBowen.

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