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Bowles, last-place Eagles battle to break slump

Published on NewsOK Modified: November 29, 2012 at 8:53 pm •  Published: November 29, 2012
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All four are in playoff contention.

"You've got a lot of young talent," Bowles said. "It's no different than coming in as a freshman in college or a freshman in high school. Football is a game that you can master early. You'll see some tweaks here and there but I think these guys handle it professionally. They came (into the season) in shape so they're not having that mid-season swoon that a lot of rookies have. Their maturity has a lot to do with that and I think they're doing a good job."

Lost in the defensive struggles has been an impressive debut season from linebacker DeMeco Ryans. Traded from Houston in the offseason, Ryans has mostly gone unnoticed despite leading the team with 87 tackles. He has 15 more than anyone else on the team.

"His biggest strength is his mental capacity. He can handle a lot and he understands adversity because he's been through a lot," Bowles said. "And he's played well. But not winning ball games, as a coach and as a player, nobody plays well when you're not playing well as a group. We win together and we lose together.

"But from a mental standpoint as far as keeping everybody on the same page, he's been doing a great job."

Perhaps — sometimes soon — that will start to show in the standings.

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NOTES: QB Michael Vick did not pass a league-mandated concussion test this week and will not return to practice until he does. Backup Nick Foles, a rookie, is 0-2 as a starter since Vick's injury. ... Mornhinweg on teams gameplanning differently for the Eagles minus injured wide receiver DeSean Jackson: "Absolutely no question about it. Then, certainly we'll play it differently as well. DeSean is quite a threat." ... The Eagles are 1-5 on the road, and 1-2 in the division. ... Despite the shakeup on defense, special teams coordinator Bobby April does not expect the same on his units: "I hope not. I don't think so. We have our unit set. That would mean somebody's either not playing very good or somebody gets hurt."

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