September 6, 2012 |
Somewhere near the intersection of Reason and Excuse, the veterans on the Eagles defense have sorted out the results from the 2011 season to their own satisfaction. It was the combo platter that sank the team in the early going and eventually hung the 4-8 record that doomed the season. There were a lot of roster changes. There were a lot of system changes. There was a new defensive coordinator. There was no offseason preparation because of the lockout. And the offense kept giving away the ball.
December 21, 2012 |
No player on the Eagles knows for certain whether Sunday will be Andy Reid's final home game in Philadelphia. If it is, the players want fans to understand that they support him - and that the fans should appreciate Reid's 14 years in Philadelphia. "If you sat here and tried to name five to eight coaches that are better than Coach Reid, I would like to hear them," running back LeSean McCoy said. "I guess people have their own opinions, and their minds are made up. I think the thing about the team is, we know how good of a coach he really is. " McCoy said that Reid "gets blamed for everything" - the coach also takes responsibility for everything - but that an examination of the team's shortcomings this year will reveal mistakes that are the faults of the players, not the coach.
December 14, 2012 |
It was so much simpler when Joe Banner was around. He was the cartoon villain with the black cape and the twitchy mustache. If the Eagles did something coldhearted or tone-deaf or just plain arrogant, Banner got the blame. Fans, media, radio talk-show hosts had their bad guy. So now what, now that Banner and his black hat are in Cleveland? It was Howie Roseman who stuck a second shiv into the back of defensive tackle Mike Patterson on Wednesday. It was Roseman, the general manager touted as a kinder and gentler contract negotiator, who slashed Patterson's pay in August and then deprived him of more money by putting him on the non-football illness reserve list.
October 19, 2012 |
THIS MAN gave you nine games of Doug Pederson when you wanted Donovan McNabb. This man stared down an angry linebacker adept at axework. He exiled the best receiver in team history. He benched a franchise quarterback in favor of a felon. He let the most popular player in team history roll away, tread still on his tires, steam coming from his ears. Andy Reid pandered to Pederson, cut Jeremiah Trotter, suspended Terrell Owens, sat Kevin Kolb for Michael Vick and insulted Brian Dawkins' pride.
September 16, 2011
DOWN THE row of lockers, Jason Babin was talking about his greatest hope for the Eagles' defense - "what I want for Christmas," he said - is to create such a nasty persona for this group that opponents actually fear them. To which, Cullen Jenkins smiled. "I'm more of a nicer guy," he said. As it turns out, it takes a village to dismember a quarterback. And if Trent Cole is a bundle of lethal emotion, and Babin is a funny, sarcastic assassin, Jenkins is more of the even, stable, relentless center.
October 8, 2012 |
PITTSBURGH - One play. The Eagles defense needed to make one play here Sunday. An interception, a sack, a fumble recovery, a third-down pass swatted away - anything to disrupt Ben Roethlisberger's methodical game-winning drive. That one play never came. "We should have won that game," defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins said. "We didn't take advantage of the opportunity. " You can't fairly blame a defense for a 16-14 loss to the Steelers. The Eagles are 3-2 despite an offense that has broken the 20-point barrier just once and a quarterback who just can't stop giving the ball away.
October 25, 2012
IT TOOK 22 games. It took a .500 season from last year's Dream Team. It took five close games and a blowout upset in the desert. And, last week, it cost them the head of their most devoted soldier. It appears as if the Eagles finally have grown up. The tenor among the Birds of Promise finally has shifted from entitled to entrenched. The tone was set at the beginning of the shortened 2011 season, enbodied by Asante Samuel, of all people. "Pick-Six," as he calls himself, constantly crowed during practices without admonition.
October 2, 2012 |
THEY NEED a name. Fans of the New York Giants brag about their defensive-end-laden "NASCAR" package. And many NFL anchors, analysts and media members have appropriately defined the personality of the Super Bowl champs through their defensive front. But in a head-to-head comparison Sunday, with a national-television audience watching, it was the Eagles' defensive front that proved more disruptive, the Eagles' defensive front that is quickly defining the personality of this 3-1 team.
November 12, 2012
To be an Eagles fan is to be an expert in disappointment, a connoisseur of dashed hopes. The team has suffered almost every flavor of defeat in Andy Reid's final season. There was the shocking blowout in Arizona, the near-miss in Pittsburgh, the collapse against Detroit, the whipping administered by Atlanta, the failed gut-check in New Orleans. But this one? This cruel beatdown at the hands of the hated Dallas Cowboys was a rare blend, indeed. In an absolute must-win situation, the Eagles reached out for the faint sweet glimmer of hope, only to have it cruelly snatched away and replaced by the most bitter of defeats.
August 3, 2012 |
BETHLEHEM — In a week, the Eagles will host a preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Chances you'll see any of the Birds' projected front four starting defensive linemen that night? Not good. Of course, starters don't play much in preseason openers anyway, but the Eagles finished practice Wednesday with all four of those guys injured — defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins pulled a hamstring and was to get an MRI Wednesday night, a few snaps into filling in at defensive end for Trent Cole, who has developed an AC joint problem and did not take the field.