Winston Justice: It's no fun watching game film after Eagles loss

Posted: October 06, 2010

Eagles right tackle Winston Justice is writing a column for the Daily News again this season. His columns appear Wednesdays.

DIVISIONAL GAMES are always the toughest. There is a reason why some of our greatest rivalries occur within the division. We know the strengths and weaknesses of each other better than the other teams around the NFL, and it gets more personal on the field. Since we face the Redskins, Giants and Cowboys twice a year, these NFC East games are always extra physical and competitive. In general, we just really don't like one another.

Sunday, it was even crazier to see our quarterback for the past decade lining up in a Redskins jersey. I was happy to see Donovan McNabb get the ovation he deserved from the fans when he took the field. He was a huge part of the Eagles organization for a long time and taught me a lot about being a professional.

Once the ball was kicked off, he went back to being a Redskin, but for all the flak Philadelphia fans get for being brutal, it was a great moment.

The loss on Sunday was tough. I don't think there was a man on the sideline who didn't think we were going to come back and take home the win. Division games hold even more importance because winning the division ensures you a spot in the playoffs. You don't have to count on other teams losing at the end of the season to get in.

The team came in on Monday to watch the game film. Of course, it is harder to watch after a loss. As my hotel roommate (until we have played 8 years in the league, we share a room at the team hotel the night before home and away games) Jason Avant says, "The film never lies." It shows us what we did right and, more important, what we did wrong. We dissect it for hours - you probably would not even believe how technical it gets. On film, even an inch makes a difference. Correct hand placement, foot placement, and ball placement is vital. There are no jokes on Mondays. It is always straight to business.

In the offensive-line meetings, we probably hear coach Juan Castillo using the phrase, "Consistent fundamentals is key, man," the most. Reminding us to do the right technique over and over again might sound like a no-brainer, but it is actually hard to master. Juan's phrase is even written on the wall of the room. Also on the wall of our offensive-line meeting room are such phrases as "Anticipate the snap count." "Physical." "If you believe you can succeed, you will." "Work Hard."

Coach Castillo is a master at bringing out the best in his players, and these phrases are another way he reinforces what he expects from us.

Coach Andy Reid was pretty angry Monday. And, as players, we were angry, too. We know we need to raise our overall play, and it starts in practice. You are only as good as your last game, and we want to hurry and get to next Sunday, to win.

Charity effort

On a personal note, I am teaming up with Zama restaurant. This month, the Japanese restaurant in Center City will offer a special "Justice for All Roll," with a portion of the sales going to the Variety Club, which supports local children with disabilities. There's nothing better than enjoying a great meal, while also giving back!

Question of the week

Thank you for all your questions. Please keep them coming.

Chris Bokumiewcz from DeBary, Fla., asked:

"When I played offensive tackle back in high school and for 2 years in a regional semipro league, our offensive-line coaches used to tell us that if we didn't recognize a defensive alignment or if we simply forgot who we were supposed to block on any given play, then we reverted to a simple rule:

"1. Man on

"2. Man inside

"3. Nearest linebacker.

"At the NFL level, do you have a rule similar to that? If so, what it is? Or is it simply 'We don't ever forget our blocking assignments or fail to recognize a front. If we did, we wouldn't be in the NFL.' "

Chris, of course we would like it to be the latter, that we never forget our assignments, but sometimes that is not the case. The defenders are always trying to find a way to catch us off guard. A lot of teams try to move the defense around and switch up sides.

We have so many rules, it's kind of hard to list them all, but for run-blocking, it is somewhat similar to your experience. For pass blocking, it is totally different and changes all the time. No team, however, will line up in something we have never seen before.

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