John Smallwood: Reid tells Eagles players to get lost during extended break

Andy Reid is giving his players a few days off after Thursday night's win over Houston.
Andy Reid is giving his players a few days off after Thursday night's win over Houston.
Posted: December 04, 2010

THIS IS THE other side of the coin.

After culminating a short turnaround with the 34-24 victory over the Houston Texans on Thursday, the Eagles now have what equates to a mini-bye week before they play at Dallas on Dec. 12.

Except for a few players who need rehabilitation sessions, Eagles coach Andy Reid isn't

requiring his team to hang around the NovaCare Complex. He's given them off until Wednesday, and remaining within the confines of the greater Philadelphia area isn't a condition.

"I just told them to make sure they check the weather so that they can make sure they are back in town on time," Reid said.

The Eagles just completed a grueling run of four games in 18 days that included two NFC East games and two road games. They won three, emerging with an 8-4 record and no less than a share of first place in the division.

Now they get the rare opportunity to recharge their batteries, physically and mentally, before the final four games of the regular season.

"I think we need this," Reid said of the days off. "We've played a lot games in a short

period of time. We've played some teams that had some extended time to get ready for us.

"They were fresh and it looked like it helped some of the other teams. So I welcome this right now."

Reid conceded that he wasn't thinking about the flip side when his team was preparing to play Houston after flying back from Chicago on Sunday. And had the Eagles lost to the Texans,

circumstances might have been handled differently.

"But now that it's done and

everything worked out OK, it's good to have this time," Reid said.

You'd think that with the Eagles set to return to action at Dallas and then having what will amount to another battle for first place in the NFC East at the New York Giants on Dec. 19, Reid wouldn't want his players to drift too far from focusing on what's coming up.

He's taken the opposite approach.

"I want them to get their mind off of football for a little bit, which won't happen," Reid said. "They are going to think about it some time during a day, but it won't be as condensed as if they are in the building.

"If they need to get out of town a little bit, they can get out of town."

As far as the coaches, the extended time will be spent scheming for Dallas and trying to figure out some of the kinks that are still plaguing the Eagles.

Reid and his staff are well aware of the propensity this team still has for committing penalties, aware that the defense still hasn't figured out how to shut down an opponent in the red zone, and even that the offense has had some recent problems with dropped balls.

With the Eagles positioned to make a strong run at a division title and home games in the playoffs, the coaching staff is going to be all about football.

"There are plenty of things we need to work on and get better at if we are going to be as good as we want to be," Reid said. "We'll go back as coaches, study some things up and be able to present it to the players when they get back here."

In the past during scheduled bye weeks, Reid has given his coaches and coordinators time off, and he's even gotten away from the game a bit himself.

This isn't one of those times, not with so much possible if the Eagles can close out this regular season properly.

"I'm not going to take much time off," Reid said. "I will tell you that it was tough going from an away Sunday night game,

getting [back to NovaCare] late, and then getting ready for a Thursday game.

"That was a bit of a grind. It was on all the coaches and players. A little time here to get a normal night's sleep, I think, is a healthy thing."

Send e-mail to

smallwj@phillynews.com.

For recent columns, go to

http://go.philly.com/smallwood.

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