Among the most dire developments during the Eagles' three-game losing streak has been the falloff at cornerback, where the Eagles actually looked pretty decent for more than half the season, despite lacking a big-name, "shutdown" corner.
Safety and sometimes nickel corner Malcolm Jenkins was asked this week what he sees.
"Some of 'em, you just get beat at the point of attack . . . We're an aggressive team. We ask a lot of our corners, we put them one-on-one a lot. So, you're going to have some of those plays," Jenkins said.
Plus, Jenkins said, it's hard to loosen up and play naturally when every week, the hole gets deeper.
"Everybody always talks about going out and having fun; well, you're only having fun when you're winning . . . It's really hard to have that enthusiasm that you want to see when you have your backs against the wall," he said.
Nolan Carroll is the Birds' steadiest corner, but he was terrible in Cincinnati. Carroll said that as the pass rush has fallen off and the long completions have started coming more frequently, he and his colleagues have been trying to help one another, instead of taking care of their own responsibilities.
"Really, these last three weeks, we haven't been on our game. That's what it's been . . . I think guys, for whatever reason, think we've gotta reach and do extra, outside of our job," Carroll said. "Guys started thinking we had to do more than what we needed to . . . I think we've just got to get back to what we were doing well in the first nine games."
Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz called for the corners to go back to basics this week.
Carroll agreed: "Technique's got to be the main focus for us this week. Do your job and trust the other 10 guys are going to do the same."
Rookie running back Wendell Smallwood said quarterback Carson Wentz spoke to the team, which has lost seven of its last nine games, before Thursday's practice. "Just keep playing. Fight every play, finish every play. That's what he told us, before practice started - it starts today, not Sunday. We can't (just) come out Sunday and do it," Smallwood said . . . Jordan Matthews (ankle) was a full practice participant, but fellow wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham (oblique) did not practice.