PHILADELPHIA – Teams that lead the NFL in turnovers usually don't win too many games. Then again, Chip Kelly's Philadelphia Eagles aren't typical.
The Eagles already have 25 turnovers, six more than they had in 2013. Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez have combined for 19 giveaways on 14 interceptions and five fumbles. Yet, the Eagles are 7-3 and tied with Dallas for first place in the NFC East.
"We're actually coaching it harder this year than we have in the past," offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. "It's just important that guys, when they're in there, understand the importance of finishing the play with the ball if they have it given to them or thrown to them."
Foles threw 10 picks and lost three fumbles in the first seven-plus games before he broke his collarbone. Last year, he set an NFL record for best TD/interception ratio when he threw 27 TDs and only two picks.
Sanchez was turnover-prone in his five seasons with the New York Jets, committing an NFL-leading 52 in 2012-13. He threw two picks in three quarters in a win at Houston and had no turnovers in an excellent performance against Carolina. But then he threw two interceptions and lost two fumbles in last week's 53-20 loss at Green Bay.
One of the interceptions and one fumble were returned for touchdowns. The fumbles weren't entirely his fault, however. One came on a high snap and the other on a handoff that was mishandled.
"We'll clean those things up," Sanchez said. "When we take care of the football, we're pretty successful."
The Eagles host the Tennessee Titans (2-8) on Sunday. The Titans have only 12 takeaways this season.
Turnovers didn't affect the outcome in a 32-point loss to the Packers, but they were a factor in Philadelphia's other losses. They had three in a 26-21 loss at San Francisco and three more in a 24-20 loss at Arizona.
Kelly was encouraged by the spotless performance against the Panthers only to see his team get sloppy a week later.
"It's fixable," he said. "It's something we need to harp on and continue to teach every single day."
Overall, the Eagles are minus-9 in turnover differential. Only four teams are worse and they have a combined record of 6-34. No winning team is worse than a minus-2 in that category.
NOTES: RG Matt Tobin practiced Thursday after being cleared to return from a concussion suffered against the Packers. Kelly wouldn't say whether Tobin or Andrew Gardner would start vs. the Titans. Gardner took reps with the starters in the portion of practice that was open to reporters. He started two games at right tackle this season when Lane Johnson was suspended.
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