MAYBE SINCE the Eagles' offensive line hasn't enjoyed last season's continuity, it isn't yet functioning as a smooth, consistent, synchronized unit.
Maybe LeSean McCoy's NFL rushing title led opponents to spend more time studying Chip Kelly's inside zone and outside zone read plays, to figure out ways of defeating the blocking and limiting cutbacks, ways that somehow weren't apparent during the 2013 season.
Maybe McCoy allows himself to be stopped more easily than he did a year ago, when the offense was perceived to rest firmly on his shoulders; the addition of Darren Sproles could have made McCoy feel less urgency.
Maybe the more the o-line struggles, the more McCoy presses.
Maybe these theories are getting more and more absurd. But something still is wrong with the Eagles' running game, 2 weeks into the return of Evan Mathis from an MCL injury and 3 weeks since Jason Kelce returned from abdominal surgery.
McCoy gained 155 yards on 25 carries when the Eagles won at Green Bay last November. Sunday, he slogged to 88 on 23. Same defense, except Clay Matthews had two healthy hands this time and was playing inside most of the time Sunday. Same offensive line, except for Matt Tobin replacing Todd Herremans.
"It was just a combination," Kelly said yesterday, asked what he saw hindering the run game when he reviewed film of Sunday's 53-20 loss to the Packers, who came in ranked 30th in the NFL against the run. "There were times where it was blocked up pretty good and we hit a couple in there, and then there were some other times where we're just slipping off of blocks. We're not sustaining blocks or hitting it the right way."
Asked what McCoy can do better, Kelly said he couldn't specify one thing.
"A lot of the runs he made, when you really watch them, I thought he did a good job of being patient, getting up inside, following blocks and doing things on the outside. So I don't think LeSean played poorly yesterday."
There's considerable room between not playing poorly and being the top running back in the league, though. With starting quarterback Nick Foles down, the Eagles need more than "not bad" from McCoy.
When someone pointed out that Sproles is averaging 6.8 yards per carry in very limited work, Kelly spoke enigmatically of "the rotation" and asserted that "LeSean is our guy."
Asked why Sproles gets so few touches, Kelly said: "Yeah, I just don't think we're running the ball well overall."
* It's totally unfair to blame Mark Sanchez for Sunday's blowout. It isn't unfair to look at his second-half performance, and his history before he got here, and think, "Hmm. This guy really might be kind of a screwup." Sanchez did himself no favors at Green Bay. After completing five of his first seven passes, he went 21-for-37 with a couple of picks. And all he had to do was fall on that wayward snap, instead of trying to pick it up and failing miserably, leading to a Green Bay fumble-return touchdown.
* I don't get Josh Huff's whole deal. At all. And don't want to see any Oregon Ducks in the Eagles' 2015 draft, unless they have the last name of Mariota. Chip Kelly said yesterday he would talk to Huff about Huff's apparent perception that coaches told him to stop in front of punt returner Micah Hyde, and Hyde's 75-yard punt-return touchdown "was the end result" of what Huff seemed to think was unwise counsel. Kelly said Eagles gunners are taught to not run past the returner, but not to stop in front of him. "We'll correct whatever that miscommunication is," Kelly said.
* Hard to pick out crucial plays from a 53-20 loss, but rewatching yesterday, that sack right guard Matt Tobin gave up on an inside move by Letroy Guion on the Eagles' first drive loomed large. The Birds, down 3-0, had moved 38 yards in four plays. They seemed likely to even the score or take the lead. But Guion's sack turned second-and-6 from the Green Bay 36 into third-and-13 from the Green Bay 43, beyond field-goal range. Mark Sanchez then threw high past Darren Sproles, and that was that. The Packers fair-caught a Donnie Jones punt and began a 13-play, 88-yard touchdown drive.
* I haven't seen anyone handle Fletcher Cox this season as well as Packers guard Josh Sitton did.
* Jeremy Maclin has more than a third of the Eagles' offensive touchdowns (nine of 26).
* The Eagles outscored the opposition in the fourth quarter, 40-14, the first 3 weeks of the season. Since then, they're being outscored 62-24 in the fourth.
That Nick Foles (4.3) might average more yards per carry this season than LeSean McCoy (3.7)?
In their last four home games, the Packers have outscored their opponents in the first half, 128-9.
If Sunday's loss showed anything, it showed how absurdly the game gets out of hand when you turn the ball over against a really good team.
The Eagles, plus-five in turnover differential against Carolina, had cut their season deficit in half. Then they turned it over four times at Green Bay, and their defense's streak of 22 games forcing at least one takeaway ended.
We're 10 games into the season now. At some point, your identity is set, and the 2014 Eagles are a team that gives the ball away, a team that yesterday led the entire NFL with 25 turnovers.
Chip Kelly was asked yesterday if the problem is still fixable.
"Yeah, it's fixable," Kelly said. "The last 2 weeks before that, I thought we did a good job. We just need to continue to go, and not say that even if we had a game like we did last week against Carolina, 'Hey, it's fixed, let's not worry about it.' It's something we need to harp on and continue to teach every single day."