THE EAGLES have not been good at third-down conversions this season; they rank 29th in the NFL, at 31 percent. Fans were beyond frustrated early in Sunday night's game at Dallas, when the Birds completed four successive third-down passes - three of which did not result in first downs.
"That's kinda why you want to stay out of those third-and-8s, third-and-9s," tight end Zach Ertz said. "First down usually sets you up for where you're going to be on third down. If you have a positive play on first down, usually you're going to be third-and-5, and you have to check it down, there's going to be an ability to get that first down."
Earlier this week, Chip Kelly said third-down completions short of the sticks were "taking what the defense was giving."
"When you run a third-down play, not every route is at the sticks, because you might be high-lowing a linebacker," Kelly said. "Not every (receiver) is going to be at 12 yards on third-and-12 because you have to have someone over the 'backer and under the 'backer. If the 'backer takes away the deep throw, then sometimes you have to throw it down and let that guy try to run for it."
Asked whether he thought quarterback Sam Bradford is doing this too often, Kelly said he did not think so.
This week's opponent, Miami, is even worse than the Birds in this department, ranking 31st, at 29 percent.
Miami's top weapon is wideout Jarvis Landry, who has 53 catches for 535 yards and a dozen rushes for 95 yards.
"They move him around, because he's a versatile player," Chip Kelly said this week. "But where he's primarily most dangerous, I think, is in the slot."
Eagles cornerback and ex-Dolphin Nolan Carroll never played with Landry - Landry was a second-round pick in 2014, the year Carroll came to the Birds as a free agent - but Carroll has watched him on tape.
"He's quick. That's his biggest thing. He's quick and he's tough," Carroll said. "He doesn't shy away from contact. He always wants the ball. He's a competitive guy; he always wants extra yards."
The primary matchup with Landry in the slot Sunday would be safety Malcolm Jenkins, who becomes a corner in nickel situations. Jenkins suffered a concussion in Sunday's victory at Dallas and was just completely cleared Thursday.
"We're confident that if Malcolm can go, that he can handle whoever they put out there for him," Kelly said.
"That'll be a big matchup. He's their main guy," Jenkins said.
The task probably falls to E.J. Biggers if Jenkins is sidelined.
Inside linebacker DeMeco Ryans was a full practice participant . . . Rookie wideout Nelson Agholor (high ankle sprain) practiced fully again Thursday and said again that "practice went well." Neither Agholor nor Chip Kelly would commit to Agholor playing Sunday . . . Asked about being on the injury report with the notation "groin," DeMarco Murray, who again practiced fully, did not respond . . . Ryan Tannehill has been sacked 23 times, but he has thrown for 2,237 yards, the NFL's seventh-highest figure . . . Though Lane Johnson said he expects to play left tackle again, while allowing for the possibility that Jason Peters will return, Chip Kelly emphasized that Peters "looked good" in limited practice action Thursday. So, we dunno.