Eagles' Brent Celek: "Right now the world's laughing at us"

Posted: December 03, 2011

SEATTLE - Tight end Brent Celek knows what the sorry 4-8 Eagles look like - he called it "embarrassing." So does defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins. He knows anyone watching this team has to question its effort.

"We've got four games left to prove that we're a legitimate team, because right now the world's laughing at us," said Celek, one of the longest-tenured Eagles.

But many other Eagles seemed to be in a stunning state of denial Thursday night in the minutes after they were crushed before a national audience watching on the NFL's house network. There was talk of being the better team, of not giving up, of just cleaning up a few things here and there.

The question is not who is right and wrong - that seems fairly obvious - but which side of this divide the front office falls on.

Because if owner Jeffrey Lurie and team president Joe Banner become convinced that the Eagles have quit, that they are not just losing but are a joke, then it will become increasingly difficult to justify retaining coach Andy Reid to a fan base that is already roiling with anger and disappointment.

It's unclear how exactly they see the situation, because, as is their custom during the season, neither Lurie nor Banner have spoken publicly about the team. Banner, in the morose locker room Thursday night, declined a request for comment. Celek and Jenkins, on the other hand, delivered damning assessments of the team as they packed their bags for a dreary flight home.

"We've got a lot of talent, and we're just not living up to it," Celek said. "I'm embarrassed about it. I'm sick about it."

Jenkins, a Super Bowl winner with Green Bay a year ago, said the Eagles failed to show the kind of pride and fight that should emerge in real competitors. Fans, he said, have every right to be angry.

"I could just imagine from a fan's standpoint what it looks like watching the games," he said. "It probably looks like lack of effort, lack of fundamentals, lack of everything.

"We try to plead our case, but fans ain't trying to hear that. Fans want to see it, they want to see it out there on the field, they don't want to hear about it after a loss. It's awful. When it comes down to it, it's awful, and we're not giving our fans anything right now."

Yet there were Eagles who seemed disconnected from the reality of their record and increasingly dismal play in games that have included a four-point loss to John Skelton and the Cardinals, an 18-point defeat to Tom Brady and the Patriots, and a 17-point meltdown again the Tarvaris Jackson-led Seahawks.

"That's a good team over there, but I felt we were a far better team," LeSean McCoy said after the Seahawks took a game-ending kneel-down with the ball at the Eagles 1-yard line that prevented the score from being even worse. "We are far, far better. We have far more talent, and we didn't get it done. We played poorly today."

Vince Young, who threw four interceptions, said: "We did an all-right job, we just have to take care of the turnovers. That's pretty much it."

That's it?

Trent Cole said the Eagles never quit, all evidence to the contrary. Reid said Thursday and Friday that he thinks his team is playing hard.

"I didn't see the effort issue," he said Friday in Philadelphia. "They were trying, it's just we weren't making the plays that we need to make or putting them in the position that they need to be put in."

It's hard to tell if even Reid believes his own words. While earlier in the season he was emotional and cantankerous after losses, he seemed simply resigned Thursday.

There is a core belief among the Eagles brass, one developed over a dozen years with Reid: His teams have always competed and played for the coach, regardless of the circumstances. It is one of the biggest reasons he has had their support. But the 2011 Eagles are putting cracks in that tenet with every passing week.

"We have a lot of faith in him. And the franchise does, too," McCoy said. "They know they have a good coach. You ask around the league, he's by far one of the top coaches in this league."

Among many outside Philadelphia, that belief still holds. In the 215 area code, it is under siege. For the Eagles, the only subject of consequence for the rest of this season is which stance wins out on the upper floors of the NovaCare Complex.

Contact staff writer Jonathan Tamari at 215-854-5214, jtamari@phillynews.com, or @JonathanTamari on Twitter.


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