October 31, 2007

Cole: NFC Defensive Player Of The Week

Perched at right defensive end, Trent Cole donned his weekly green and white camouflage and set his sights on the Vikings during the Eagles' 23-16 victory over Minnesota, where he recorded a career-high 13 tackles, including his league-leading ninth sack of the season, also a career-high.

Cole's performance earned him the NFC Defensive Player of the Week Award for the first time in his career. Cole is the first Eagle to win the award since Brian Dawkins last December after the Eagles' 36-22 win over the Giants.

"He's tough right now, tough to stop," head coach Andy Reid said. "He plays relentless football, he was in for every snap in that game … He gives his 110 percent on every snap and players respect him for that, his teammates too."

Only in his third year as an Eagle, Cole has a sack in five of the last seven games and is on track to finish the season with 20.5 sacks which has put teams league-wide on notice. The attention is not recent, though. Prior to this year, Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre had told Reid how they had to account for Cole.

"He said, 'Hey, we were real concerned about 58. He has a phenomenal motor.' We saw it as a staff, but you're never quite sure what the other team sees," said Reid.

A fifth-round draft pick in 2005 from the University of Cincinnati, Cole originally arrived at the NovaCare Complex as a 235-pound player the team was unsure would be a linebacker or defensive end.

Three years and many trips to the weight room later, the 270-pound Cole has emerged as a definitive defensive end known for his speed, size, athleticism and motor.

"That's one thing we noticed when he was at Cincinnati," Reid added. "I think you've either got that or you don't. You can direct it in certain directions and become a better player. But, I think you're born with the motor."

..Continue reading at PhiladelphiaEagles.com>>

Kershaw Signed to Practice Squad

A day after the team promoted Akeem Jordan, the Eagles replaced him on the practice squad with second-year linebacker William Kershaw. Jordan was promoted Monday after the team cut former second-round pick Matt McCoy.

The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Kershaw entered the league as a rookie free agent with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2006. He spent the majority of his rookie season on the Chiefs practice squad before being promoted to their 53-man roster for the final regular season game and the AFC Wild Card game at Indianapolis, where he registered three special teams tackles. The 23-year-old Kershaw saw action in the Chiefs opening-day game at Houston this year before being released on September 19.

A native of Raeford, NC, Kershaw registered 204 tackles, 3 sacks and one interception during his collegiate career at Maryland.

>>Home Page

October 29, 2007

B-Dawk Set To Return

Free safety Brian Dawkins is on track to return to the field for Sunday's matchup against the Dallas Cowboys. After practicing with the scout team for the past two weeks, Dawkins will work with the first-team defense in practice this week said head coach Andy Reid during his press conference one day after Sunday's 23-16 win over the Vikings.

"The last couple of weeks you've seen him work with the scout team, this week he'll start off – unless something crazy happens in the next day or two – he'll start off with the defense and start working with them," Reid said.

If there are no setbacks, Dawkins could split reps with Quintin Mikell, who has started the last five games in Dawkins' absence. Reid said that Mikell's strong play makes integrating Dawkins back into the defense much easier.

"(Quintin has) done very well in there and it's not a situation where Brian would have to play every snap when he comes back," Reid said. "We can ease him back in there and get him started here."

Dawkins suffered a stinger injury during the Week 2 loss to the Washington Redskins. Even though he has missed most of the season Reid said that he believes Dawkins can get back to the level of play that has earned him six trips to the Pro Bowl.

>>Home Page

Matt McCoy Cut

The Eagles cut backup linebacker Matt McCoy today. The second round pick from San Diego State has largely been a huge bust. He was deactivated for almost his entire rookie season, and played poorly as a starter last season.

The Eagles felt the need to replace him in the off season, by trading for Takeo Spikes. Spikes has played well, and McCoy had been designated to special teams. McCoy has a bonehead personal foul penalty for hitting the Minnesota punter in the back. The play took the Eagles out of Minnesota territory, and infuriated Brian Dawkins on the sidelines. Apparently this mistake was stupid enough for Andy Reid to kick him off the team.

Akeem Jordan was signed off the practice squad to take McCoy's spot on the roster.

This move means a few things to me. First I think that the Eagles are confident in the play of Takeo Spikes. He has a team option next year, and I believe the Eagles will pick that up.

The other thing this does, is send a clear message to the rest of the team. No more stupid mistakes. Bonehead plays like that are part of the reason the Birds are 3-4.

You can't shoot yourself in the foot constantly, and expect to win. Reid made an example out of McCoy. I think it should let everybody know that you either play the right way or you will be gone. It does not even matter if you were a high draft pick.

Amazing 15 Laterals For Win

What a crazy play! Just like the coaches drew it up. Stanford Band has nothing on this.

October 28, 2007

Eagles Beat Vikings 23-16

A Win is a Win:

This was not a dominating performance, or a very convincing win by any means. In the end though all that matters is that the Eagles leave Minnesota with a W. They have let a few of those get away this year, and this was a much needed win.

At the end of the year nobody asks who you beat, or how bad you beat them, they just ask how many games did you win. At this point the Eagles will take them any way they can get them.

Red Zone Improves:

The Eagles are scoring touch downs believe it or not.

The offense was not great, but much improved in the red zone. Some creative play calling helped out.

I loved the shovel pass to Westbrook. They play had great design, and it worked perfectly. Jason Avant lined up in the backfield between Westbrook, and Tapeh. Then Avant motioned to the slot, bringing the Vikings MLB with him. McNabb sold the fake very well, and Westbrook just waltzed into the end zone. Plays that are designed that well, usually tend to work. Give a lot of credit to Andy Reid, and Marty Morningweg for that one.

Later in the game the Eagles scored again when Brian Westrook went air born, and dived over the Vikings defensive line. Westbrook reminds me of Priest Holmes the way he does that jump.

Even though he did not have a great day on the ground, Westbrook was still a huge factor. So much that safety Darren Sharper got jacked up by Jason Avant paying such close attention to 36. Westbrook's two Red Zone scores were the difference in the game.

Hopefully the team can build off this, and do even better against Dallas.

Receivers Making Plays:

What a nice game for Reggie Brown. Reggie had a career high 8 receptions for 105 yards, including an acrobatic catch on the sidelines. Glad to see Reggie getting more involved.

Speaking of great catches, what about the one handed grab by Kevin Curtis? That was amazing. Curtis also had a great 30 yard catch and run on a slant.

The receivers were actually helping McNabb, and making his job easier.

Greg Lewis even made some nice catches. He was once covered by a linebacker. A mismatch Donovan, and Lewis easily exploited. Then Greg even scooped one off the turf. Making a low McNabb pass a positive play.

L.J. Smith was blanked, but expect him to get more involved as he feels more comfortable with his injury.

On Side Kick Lit Fire Under Defense:

Minnesota marched right down the field(with some help from Eagles penalties), and scored on their first possession of the game. Then Brad Childress called for a surprise onside kick. The play caught the Eagles off guard, and the Vikings recovered.

I think this play infuriated the Eagles defense, and from that point on they made sure the Vikings would not get in the end zone again.

The very first play of that Vikings drive, resulted in a huge sack from Trent Cole. Cole just blasted through the middle so fast, and made the most impressive sack I have seen all season.

This set the tempo for the rest of the game, and the other Eagles fed off of this.

Cole is playing at a pro bowl level. He has really emerged as one of the leagues best pass rushers. He finished the game with 2 sacks(9 for the season), and had several big tackles in run support. Right now Trent Cole is the best player on the defense, and other teams better start to double team him. Otherwise he will make them pay.

Holcomb is Lucky:

I know Kelly's first start ended badly, when he went head first into the turf on a Juqua Thomas sack. So how is he lucky? He is lucky to not be paralyzed. When you look at the replay, it is amazing that all he ended up with is some bruising on his vertebrates. I felt bad for Kelly, as he was finally getting another chance to prove himself, and left with an injury. He should be thanking God to still be walking.

Minnesota Loves Childress:

Run Defense Was Great:

NFL's leading rusher Adrian Peterson was pretty much held in check. The entire defense should be credited for this, but give extra props to Brodrick Bunkley, Mike Patterson, and Trent Cole. Cole had a few tackles for losses, and Bunkley was a force in the middle. He has not been getting much pressure on the QB, but he is making is tough to run up the middle.

Peterson did have a few good runs, but must of the game he was getting stuffed. He really had nowhere to go. Probably his best play, was when he literally jumped over the defensive line, floating in the air like Michael Jordan. I guess if you can't run through them, jump over them?

Kevin Kolb Era On Hold:

I really must vent a little here. I am sick of fans throwing five under the bus constantly. Did everybody forget that he is coming back from major knee reconstruction? You should have expected there were going to be some limitations with Donovan early on. Can everybody stop being so damn impatient, and actually back the best QB in Philadelphia Eagles history for once?

I understand that McNabb has been very inconsistent so far this year, but he will improve. You can already see that some of his mobility is starting to come back. McNabb had a few plays where he moved similar to the "old Donovan". Andy even called a QB draw in the game.

Kevin Kolb is a rookie from the University of Houston. He may be a great QB one day, but that day is not today. He is not ready, and he wont be ready realistically for a few years.

Football is like war. I would much rather go to battle with Donovan McNabb, than A.J. Feeley, or a rookie. How soon people forget all the great things that McNabb has done here. This team was in a Super Bowl with Donovan! You don't just bail on him because he's had a few rough games.

Also I wonder where all the Jeff Garcia lovers are now? The Bucs have lost two straight games, and Garcia was terrible against Jacksonville. Three INTs, including one returned for a TD.

Everybody needs to quit whining, and realize that McNabb is the man in Philadelphia. He is the captain of the ship, and the team will sink or swim with him.

October 27, 2007

Vikings Preview

Must Win?:

This has been said a lot so far this year. This term gets thrown around a lot, but really a game is never a must win, unless it eliminates you from contention. If the Eagles want to be serious about possibly making the playoffs, then almost every remaining game is a must win. You figure they have to go 7-3 during the remaining ten to do so. Is this possible? Yes it really is. The Birds have to stop stalling in the red zone, and stop giving games away they should have won. Minnesota is a team that a good team should beat.

Birds Improved Run D Gets Major Test:

One positive of this Eagles season, is the improvements to the defensive front. A run defense that was considered the teams weakness, is now one of the teams strength. Brodrick Bunkley, Takeo Spikes, Omar Gaither, and Chris Gocong are all new starters. They are a huge reason for the run defense being much better. Trent Cole emerging as a premier DE, Jevon Kearse being healthy, and the improved play of Mike Patterson are also big for this defense.

Now they get to face their biggest test yet. The NFL's leading rusher Adrian Peterson. This kid may be a rookie, but he plays like a seven year vet. He is a great combination of power, and speed. Once he breaks into the second level, he has moves, and great field vision.

He also has one of the best left sides of an offensive line in the NFL. Matt Birk a multiple pro-bowl C, Bryant McKinnie a very good run blocking LT, and Steve Hutchinson. Hutch is widely considered one of the best guards in football.

Mike Patterson, Brodrick Bunkley, and Trent Cole will have their hands full this game.

If the Eagles want to slow down this attack, their linebackers have to be gap sound, and everybody has to play contain well. If everybody does their job they can tame this beast. Much easier said that done.

Pupil Against His Teacher:

Another side story for this game, will be the coaching match up. Andy Reid versus the Eagles former Offensive Coordinator Brad Childress. Childress has had mixed reviews in Minnesota. Many question his play calling, and also wonder what his plan really is. Winning would certainly stop all the Vikings doubters.

While many felt that the Birds would be missing something without Brad. Well I feel they have been better off without him. Marty Morningweg has done a great job here. He may forever be remembered as the coach who chose the wind in overtime, but he is also one heck of an offensive mind. Some guys are just not meant to be head coaches. That was clearly the case with Marty, and may or may not be with Brad Childress.

I wish the best for Childress, just not this week. Hopefully this will be the first match up of many more to come.

QB Holcomb Likely To Start:

What a bizarre series of events for Kelly Holcomb this year. First he gets dealt to the Eagles along with Takeo Spikes for Darwin Walker(good riddance). Then the Eagles surprisingly draft Kevin Kolb, and Kelly went into training camp knowing he was the odd man out. The Eagles eventually sent him to Minnesota to backup Tavarias Jackson. Now he may be making his first start as a Minnesota Viking against the Eagles.

This is not quite the same as TO vs the Eagles story, but it is still pretty interesting. Kelly has never been a great QB, but at times he shows flashes. I pray those flashes of greatness do not occur this Sunday. After what another veteran QB Brian Griese did to the Birds last week, I would not be able to stomach another blow like that.

I think Tavarias Jackson would be a much easier opponent for the Eagles, because of his inexperience, and likely hood of making mistakes. There is a small chance that Jackson does play, but be ready to see Kelly Holcomb under center come game time.

Fix The Red Zone Mistakes:

If you haven't noticed the Eagles stink in the red zone. They have converted only one touch down in their last eleven trips there. They will continue to lose football games if the mistakes don't stop.

McNabb has to be on target more, the receivers have to catch the ball when given the opportunity, the o-line has to finish their blocks, the play calling has to be good, and everybody needs to eliminate the penalties.

Mistakes haunt this season, and it is time to correct them. Andy has spoken about them, the players have too, and every media outlet in Philadelphia has focused on them.

Eliminate the mistakes, and the Eagles offense takes off. When the offense gets near the goal line, they need to punch it in for six.


Looks like L.J. Smith will play again. He is listed as probable. Andy Reid said he looked good in practice, but that doesn't mean a whole lot. He may be limited by how well he feels during the game. I wonder why they just don't shut him down, until he is completely ready? This rushing him back constantly seems to be re-aggravating his injury.

The biggest surprise was that Jon Runyan was listed as questionable with the broken tailbone. Knowing the iron man streak that Jon has going, you should bet that he will play. He played through the injury last week, and is too tough a dude to let this slow him down.

Brian Dawkins is listed as doubtful, and that means he wont be out there again. Some people think stingers are small injuries, but they can be career threatening. The Eagles are being very cautious with this, and I am sure Brian is too. Any injury that deals with the spine is serious. Quinton Mikell has done a nice job filling in for Brian, and will start again this Sunday.


Eagles win 27-10

October 25, 2007

Corey Simon Retires

Former Colts defensive tackle Corey Simon retired from the NFL today after trying to resume his career with the Tennessee Titans.

He says practice and games started wearing on his body again.

Simon was sidelined by Indianapolis last year on the non-football illness/injury list and confirmed that he had dealt with polyarthritis in 2006. He signed with Tennessee on August 28th and played in 4 of the Titans' six games.

But he says recovering from each game and practice finally became too much.

The 30-year-old Simon says he tried to continue as long as he could, but the pain was telling his body it was time to leave football.

Simon was the sixth overall pick in the 2000 draft by Philadelphia. He played five seasons there and 13 games for Indianapolis in 2005, registering 32 career sacks and 312 tackles.


Corey was once a premier talent in the league, but has not had a sack since leaving the Eagles. This is really a pretty sad ending for Corey.

October 24, 2007

Lurie Backs Reid

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and his NFL counterparts agreed Tuesday to shorten the first day of the college player draft to two rounds and the time between picks in the first round to 10 minutes.

The changes were made at the owners meeting in Center City.

Previously teams had 15 minutes to pick in the first round and the first day of the selection process consisted of three rounds.

The time between picks in the second round is seven minutes, and five minutes for the remaining rounds.

The draft also will begin at 3 p.m. instead of noon, with rounds 3-through-7 starting the following morning at 10. This year’s draft is April 26-27.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has presided over much change in his short tenure, said in a statement that, “We believe this will make for a more streamlined and efficient draft.”

Lurie later reportedly gave embattled Eagles head coach Andy Reid a vote of confidence at the meetings.

..Read more at the DelCoTimes>>

October 23, 2007

Runyan Has Fractured Tail Bone

Reuben Frank, of PhillyBurbs.com, reports Philadelphia Eagles OT Jon Runyan (tailbone) said during his weekly radio show that he broke his tailbone when he slipped Thursday, Oct. 19. He is expected to play Week 8.


Primetime: Eagles vs Bears

Reid gives bad Birds detention

A new horror flick made its big-screen debut Monday before a captive audience.

Eagles players, accustomed to getting the day after a game off unless they need treatment for an injury, were summoned to the team's South Philadelphia practice facility by coach Andy Reid for a team meeting and film review of their 19-16 loss to the Chicago Bears.

''There's a problem and we need to make sure we fix it,'' Reid said. ''I don't want it to sit another day or two. I want to make sure we get in so that the fellows can move on to [preparations for] Minnesota.

''I want them, No. 1, to look at the film and evaluate their mistakes. Then I want them to get it out of their minds fast and move on. We've got a good football team that we're going to play in Minnesota this week, and it's important that we learn from this and that we get it changed around quick.''

The extra day of mental work did not seem to surprise Eagles players.

..Read more from The Morning Call>>

October 21, 2007

Birds D Collapses In Final Minute

97 Friggin Yards:

The Eagles defense has been excellent this year. So when Sav Rocca pinned the Bears deep with a minute 52 seconds left, you would think they could be able to hold the Bears inept offense one last time.

Well if you saw this dreadful game, then you already know they didn't hold.

The Bears had no timeouts, and started off the drive by throwing short underneath passes. 11 yards to Clark, 9 to Peterson, 9 to Hester, and 9 more to Clark.

Then with the game on the line the Bears attack changed.

On a 3rd and 3 with only 49 ticks to go, Brian Griese Throws a strike to Bernard Berrian in stride. Berrian gets all the way to the Eagles 39 for a gain of 25 yards. The Bears quickly ran down the field, and spiked the ball. The next play was another big one for the Bears. Greise passed to Devin Hester for 21 more yards. Bears ran up to the 15 yard line, and spiked the ball again.

Then comes the dagger. Greise floated one up in the back of the end zone, and Muhsin Muhammad out jumped Sean Considine for the game winning touch down catch.

What a disaster. The Eagles were on their way to victory, and then in a blink of an eye they get sliced apart by Brian Griese.

I am still in shock. It is just unbelievable how this team finds ways to lose. One game it's the special teams, next it's the receivers, then the o-line breaks down, and now the defense breaks at the wrong time.

You would think you can get used to losing games like this being a Philadelphia sports fan, but you can't. It hurts just as bad every time. Another punch to the gut.

Redzone Woes:

The offense is not off the hook either in this game. They moved the ball well, but was again very poor in the redzone.

On the first drive of the game, the Eagles offense was methodically moving down the field. On a crucial 3rd and goal McNabb fired a bullet to Reggie Brown. Reggie dropped what would have been a touchdown. It was not the easiest catch, but that is a play Brown has to make.

There were two other possessions were McNabb just misfired on key plays. Both times missing tight end Matt Schobel badly. One would have been a touch down.

When they finally were able to get a red zone TD, McNabb celebrated like it was the first TD pass of his career. I guess it is big when you get your team has failed to score a touchdown in your last ten red zone trips.

These missed opportunities kept the Bears in the game. If you let a team hang around too long, they might get you. This Eagles were got. I have heard talk all week on how they are going to fix these mistakes, but they are still making them.

After the game Reid had this to say on the red zone inefficiency.

"We have to do better. When we have opportunities to catch the football and make throws and those types of things, we have to do them. We have to keep working as coaches on putting guys in better positions so that they can have success down there."

I'm tired of hearing we have to do better. Do better already!

Andy Reid should make the team come to work tomorrow. There should not be the usual two days off after this lousy performance. The mistakes need to be corrected now. Everybody is tired of hearing excuses.

At Least They Didn't Kick To Hester:

This was probably the most surprising thing to me. I know that Andy Reid tends to be very arrogant, and I was shocked that he would not kick it to Hester. It did give the Bears good field position, but it was the right decision. Hester did not have any returns in the game. Give a lot of credit to David Akers, Sav Rocca, and special teams coach Rory Segrest.

Every punt was a directional punt out of bounds, and every kickoff was a high short kick. They did what it took to not let the very dangerous Devin Hester get the ball.

Run the Ball Andy?:

When McNabb got hurt last year, Andy Reid changed the offense to feature Brian Westbrook. They ran the ball a lot, and it seemed to really be an efficient offense. Now that McNabb is back, Andy is up to his old pass happy ways.

With Donovan coming back from this injury, why does he insist on not running the ball more? It seems that as soon as Westbrook gets tackled for a loss, Reid abandons the run completely. Reporters constantly hammer him with these questions, but he always gives the standard "we have to do a better job there".

If he wants this team to win games, he has to revert back to a more run oriented scheme. It worked back in 2003 when the team struggled early, and it worked last season. Time to put plan B into effect, because this one is not working.

Lito Back. Still No BDawk:

It was great to see Lito back. He made some nice plays, and maybe misplayed a few, but it was still great to have him back. I am all for anything that gives Will James less playing time.

This stinger injury to Brian Dawkins must be an extremely. The Eagles are definitely treating it as such. Dawkins has now been out for over a month. Quintin Mikell has filled in admirably, but you would still like to see Dawk out there. He is a play maker, and this defense needs to make some more plays. Especially on the last drive of the game.

Big Hole Gets Bigger:

In case you haven't checked the standings, the Eagles are in last place in the NFC East. This loss drops the Birds to 2-4 on the year. To make matters worse, the Giants, Redskins, and Cowboys all won this week. This drops the Eagles three back of the Cowboys, and two back of the Redskins and Giants.

After last years miracle turn around, I hate to say a season is ever over, but things look very bleak for the Eagles. They have a lot of tough games left, and they have to really fix a lot of problems.

Is anybody looking forward to playing Dallas this year?

October 19, 2007

Primetime: Eagles vs Jets

Sheppard ready to return

Lito Sheppard can't say enough about the job the Eagles secondary has done in his absence.

And yet, when the sixth-year cornerback returns to the field, likely this Sunday against the 2-4 Bears at Lincoln Financial Field, he expects the defense to reach another plateau.

"They've been doing a great job making plays but now we've got another person who can also make plays back there," Sheppard said. "It's just a swagger thing.

"Once everybody gets in the mind frame that we've been playing well, now we can take it to the next level and start making some big plays."

The MCL sprain Sheppard suffered in Week 1 is all but healed, and he has been practicing with the first-team defense since Wednesday.

Sheppard is one of two Pro Bowlers -- along with free safety Brian Dawkins -- to have missed the last month or more with an injury, and yet 2-3 Philadelphia's patched-up defensive unit has been able to hold opponents to just one touchdown in the last 10 quarters and move up the NFL statistical rankings to seventh.

William James has filled in for Sheppard, with Joselio Hanson slipping into the rotation as the nickel corner and Quintin Mikell starting in place of Dawkins.

In addition, cornerback Sheldon Brown has stepped forward as the on-field leader of the defensive backs, making a game-clinching stop in the end zone in last Sunday's crucial victory over the Jets.

The Eagles defense, as it stood against New York, was one to be respected. Sheppard may represent the difference between respect and fear.

..Continue reading at the Courier Post>>

October 18, 2007

Smith suffers another setback

Another day at the NovaCare Complex, another setback for L.J. Smith.

Smith, who returned to action Sunday against the Jets after undergoing his second operation on his sports hernia, didn't practice yesterday after experiencing significant soreness in his groin area following the Jets game.

Paging Chad Lewis.

“Right now, he's sore,” head coach Andy Reid said. “We have to let that thing calm down and see how he does here in the next couple days.”

This season is turning into a nightmare for Smith, who caught 172 passes for 1,991 yards and 14 touchdowns in his first four NFL seasons but has been hobbled since April and has just five catches for 34 yards in limited action so far this fall.

..Continue reading at the Burlington Times>>

October 17, 2007

McNabb Still Confident

Donovan McNabb is the first to admit that in the first five games of the season, the Eagles have dug themselves a pretty big hole. Sitting at the bottom of the NFC East and having already dropped games to division rivals Washington and New York, some might say it is time to start thinking about the Wild Card.

Not McNabb.

"I think one thing that people tend to forget is - the NFC East championship comes through Philadelphia," he said yesterday. "We have to protect our territory and we have enough time to do that."

While the situation could undoubtedly be more favorable, McNabb fully believes that until someone officially knocks them off, the Eagles remain the kings of the NFC East. Yes, Dallas is 5-1, New York is 4-2 and Washington is 3-2, but McNabb feels as though if the Eagles take care of their business, anything can happen.

"I think at this point, it's hard to say where anybody is. You may start out 5-0 and you could tail off," McNabb said. "The Giants started 6-2 last year and then they kind of fell off. Nobody ever remembers September and October, they always remember November, December."

No matter how well the Eagles play, they will need some of their division rivals to - as McNabb put it - tail off. Dallas has been especially hot in the early going, and New York has won four in a row. Washington's defense has been one of the best of the league, ranking third.

In addition, all three have favorable matchups this weekend — Washington hosts injury-riddled Arizona, the Giants host sliding San Francisco and Dallas hosts inconsistent Minnesota — but McNabb stressed that unless Philadelphia remains focused on the task it hand, it will not matter what other teams do.

"We can't worry about what other teams are doing," he said. "We can only focus on what we need to do here."

McNabb is not necessarily a rah-rah type of motivator, and his strong words on Wednesday were encouraging to some of his teammates.

"We definitely know that if Don is all in, and with a statement like that, we're all in," wide receiver Jason Avant said. "We don't want to let him down in any kind of way. That's how he feels and that's the way we feel."

McNabb also said Wednesday that he thinks the offense specifically is getting closer to returning to the form it displayed in previous seasons. Still, even his teammates on the other side of the ball appreciate the vote of confidence and share his enthusiasm.

"It makes me feel really good. That's our man. That's our leader," safety Quintin Mikell said. "If he has that much confidence in that, it gives us that much confidence. I think we are on to the right track right now."

Some players also said that while McNabb's declaration is encouraging, the team never wavered in its belief even throughout the slow start.

"We had confidence already, we just need to go out and perform. It's obvious that victories aren't going to come easy. We have to go out and earn them," safety Sean Considine said. "It's a lot of hard work during the week so we can go out and hopefully perform well on Sundays."

>>Home Page

October 14, 2007

Eagles Fly Past the Jets 16-9

Ugly win, but the Birds will take it

Westbrook is Invaluable:

What a nice return for 36. He had 120 yards on 20 carries, and also chipped in with 36 receiving yards. He was consistently very good all game, and completely changed the Eagles offense. Even though the Eagles only managed to score one touchdown, they moved the ball very effectively.

With Westbrook, L.J. Smith, and Tra Thomas all returning, the offense seemed to be more normal, than it has been in the three losses. Brian's presence on the field, opens things up for the receivers, as defenses always have to account for him. He is such a threat to break a big play at any time in the game.

I was very worried about his abdominal injury, but it seemed to be ok today. It must not be as bad, as previously reported.

Lightning Strikes Again:

Kevin Curtis made the play of the game, when he took a quick slant 77 yards for a touchdown on the Eagles opening possession. It was 3rd down, and McNabb had a perfect strike to Curtis, who broke through 2 tackles, and sprinted to the end zone.

Give a lot of credit to Donovan to, for making the audible after reading the Jets defense.

It was a great play, and Curtis is showing that he is a quality starting NFL receiver.

What Can Brown Do For You?:

Not much so far this season, but Reggie Brown finally had a good game. He did not do anything spectacular, but he did play solid. He managed six catches for 89 yards. Many of those were third down catches, including his last big catch when the Jets desperately needed a stop. Hopefully as the offense gets healthy, Brown can continue to get involved more.

Bend Don't Break:

Overall the Eagles defense did a great job. They did give up some yards on the ground, but locked up the Jets in the red zone holding them to four FGs(1 missed). In the first half Thomas Jones was killing the Birds with cutback runs, but in the second half they fixed that.

Sheldon Brown was huge, as he was able to get a big interception off QB Chad Pennington, and Brown also batted down the crucial 4th, and 1 pass. WR Laverneous Coles was pretty much shut down, and give credit to Brown for his big game.

The defensive line is starting to get a nice rotation going, and they now added Lajaun Ramsey to the mix. I really think Ramsey was a great find by the front office, and he should be used more often. Trent Cole notched his team leading 6th sack of the year, and Jevon Kearse was also able to get a sack.

A few minor things that bugged me, are some missed tackles by Considine, Gocong, and James. Those three guys at times play well, and sometimes just look foolish.

The Eagles defense is not great, but they are playing very well. There is clearly a huge difference from last year to now. I think you have to credit the excellent play of the young DTs, and the linebacker overhaul. Many people ripped the Eagles for releasing Jeremiah Trotter, but now it is clear it was the right move. Omar Gaither has been playing very well, and deserves a lot of credit.

Akers Sucks In The Meadowlands:

The numbers don't lie. He has missed more FGs at Giants Stadium, than any where else in the NFL. He hooked two 41 yarders wide today(one might have been tipped).

I don't know if it is the wind, or the ugly New Yorkers, but Akers is not money there.

Normally I have complete confidence with Akers, but not today. Not in that windy stadium. I remember when he missed a chip shot FG there, that could have clinched home field in the playoffs years back. Maybe it is in his head?

I just hope that the Eagles season never comes down to a big kick up there.

Ugly Jets/Titans throwbacks:

Looks like the Rams uniforms a little. These are not as bad as the blue/yellow Eagles throwbacks, but these throwbacks make me wanna throw up.
Season Back On Track?:

Not yet. It is always important to gets Ws, but this is a bad Jets team the Eagles beat. They also did not do it very convincingly. The offense moved the ball well, but settled for too many FGs. The defense played very well, but there are still some mistakes being made.

Realistically the Eagles need to win about 3-4 in a row, before the ship is righted. With only 3 losses, they are clearly not out of it, but now they can't afford to lose many games from here on.

I was almost ready to give up on the team after the Giants loss, because I did not think Brian Westbrook would be able to come back from this injury. Well BWest is definitely back, and looking great, so now I still have some hope. They need to build off this win, and improve in some areas for next weeks match up with the Bears.

October 12, 2007

Dawkins Out; Lito Questionable

Brian Dawkins has been ruled out for Sunday's game with the Jets, and head coach Andy Reid said Friday that his Pro Bowl safety is out of town getting treatment from doctors who specialize in dealing with neck stingers. Meanwhile, cornerback Lito Sheppard is listed as questionable and receiver Greg Lewis is doubtful because of an ankle injury.

But the day also brought some good news: the expected return of running back Brian Westbrook, tight end L.J. Smith and left tackle William Thomas, all of whom sat out the team's last game -- a 16-3 loss to the Giants at the Meadowlands. Even left guard Todd Herremans, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery during the bye week, is expected to start. However, Reid noted that the four players will be monitored closely during the course of the game.

Dawkins, meanwhile, will miss a third straight game with an injury sustained as a result of a hit he put on Redskins tight end Todd Yoder in the fourth quarter of the week 2 loss to Washington. His situation also bears watching, although Reid insists the injury is not career threatening.

"It's not that kind of a thing. It's not one where he's worried about that," Reid said. "Nerves are crazy, and you start dealing with those stingers and you're dealing with nerves. Everybody is different. It's still bothering him, so we're looking at different ways; people that we know and trust."

The head coach did not reveal any specifics regarding Dawkins' visit -- a doctor's name or even a location. He did say that Dawkins would be back in Philadelphia by the middle of next week when the team begins preparations for the Oct. 21 game against the Bears.

"We're just going to get him taken care of and see how he does here as we get into next week," Reid said.

As anxious as Dawkins is to return to the field, he does not want to put on the uniform until he knows he can perform at a high level. He said in the week leading up to the Giants game that if there was any hesitation in his mind about making a tackle, that he wasn't ready to return.

"That's what I don't want, and that's what I'm trying to make sure doesn't happen," Dawkins said. "When I do get in, I want to play. I don't want to think about anything when I play. When you are thinking about something, you're going to be a step behind, or something else could happen.

"When I get in there, I want to be able to concentrate on the opponent, the play formation, down and distance, and trying to wreak havoc."

Dawkins must also walk the fine line of knowing when he is physically ready to return. In recent weeks he said that he will not return until both he and his doctors feel the time is right.

"I'd say it's the doctor's choice, but I definitely have say in it also," Dawkins said. "When we are both on the same page, when it's time to make that decision, and hopefully that decision will be made a lot sooner this week, then it will be time to roll."

That was Dawkins' answer to a question posed more than two weeks ago, and that decision has been pushed back a number of times.

More On Sheppard & Co.

Although Sheppard participated in practice this week, Reid said that if his Pro Bowl cornerback does play, it will be in a limited capacity. He has been out since the season opener with a knee injury.

"He can't quite open today all the way, but he's getting there. He's close," Reid said. "That's a positive."

Like Sheppard, Smith too may be limited somewhat in his first game action since week 2.

"I'm not going to ask him to play the whole game," Reid said. "He'll get in. We'll see how he feels, and try to be smart with this."

Up front, Reid expects the left side of the line to be intact. Left tackle William Thomas practiced the last two days after missing Wednesday's workout, while left guard Todd Herremans practiced fully Friday after being limited on Thursday.

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October 11, 2007

Why Hockey Players Have No Teeth

What a nasty hit. He'll probably get 20 games for this, but he really messed dude up.

O-Line Reunites

Injured left tackle William Thomas has full participation in practice Thursday while left guard Todd Herremans was limited in his participation, but both said that they hope to play Sunday against the Jets.

"I should (play)," Thomas said. "I'll see how my body responds tomorrow and we'll just take it from there."

Thomas sprained his MCL in the third quarter of the Eagles' Week 3 win over Detroit, and sat out the loss to the Giants. Herremans has not missed any game action yet, but underwent arthroscopic knee surgery during the bye week. Herremans only participated in about five snaps during the course of Thursday's practice, but still likes his chances of being ready for Sunday.

"I think there's a pretty good chance but we'll see on Sunday," Herremans said. "I felt good out there today. I wanted to hold off a little bit so it didn't swell up and see how it feels tomorrow, but I feel pretty good."

The Eagles started the same five players on the line for all 16 games last season, but have had to deal with injuries to Thomas, Herremans and guard Shawn Andrews since training camp began.

Thomas said it was nice to have all five starters practice for the first time in weeks.

"It was very good to get everybody out there at one time," he said. "It is definitely giving us something to build on."

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October 10, 2007

Westbrook, Smith and Sheppard Practice

Three up and three down.

Eagles running back Brian Westbrook, tight end L.J. Smith and cornerback Lito Sheppard practiced on Wednesday. Safety Brian Dawkins, left tackle William Thomas and left guard Todd Herremans did not.

Westbrook missed the Giants game after hurting his ribs a week earlier against Detroit. Wednesday’s practice was his first since the injury.

"I really haven’t had an opportunity to test it out fully so I’ll get out there and see how things go,” Westbrook said. "I’ve been making gradual progress since I’ve had the injury, so hopefully that will continue.”

Smith has been out since undergoing surgery on Sept. 21 to expedite the healing of his groin injury. He practiced on a limited basis.

"I didn’t do a complete practice, but I did some things,” Smith said.

Smith played the season’s first two games, making four receptions for 26 yards, but clearly was hindered by the injury. He will not play Sunday against the Jets unless he feels close to 100 percent.

"I’m not going to put myself in the situation I was in the first two games,” Smith said. "I was out there hobbling around and didn’t look good. So if I go out there, I’m definitely going to be able to contribute in a major way. I’m not going to go out there 50 percent, 65 percent – I’m going to go out there and play at a high level.”

Coach Andy Reid announced Wednesday morning that Thomas would attempt to practice and Sheppard would not. It turned out to be the other way around. Both are suffering from sprained MCLs.

Sheppard has been out since suffering his in the season opener against Green Bay. He participated in individual drills on Wednesday.

"I wanted to get out there and gauge it but just not overdo it,” Sheppard said. "We don’t want to have any setbacks. It was kind of the minimum, but I was definitely going through some stuff.”

It seems as though it will at least be another week before Sheppard plays. He said he didn’t work out at game speed.

"There’s always a chance [I could play],” Sheppard said. "I got out there and practiced today, but that’s too early to say right now. We’re just going to see how the rest of this week goes and go from there.”

Like Smith, Sheppard doesn’t want to play at half speed.

"Like I tell everybody, I can’t get out there and be half Lito,” Sheppard said. "When I’m out there, I want to be out there to help my team. That’s what we’re working on right now.”

Thomas injured his knee against the Lions and did not play against the Giants.

"I’m very disappointed,” Thomas said about being unable to practice. "We’ll see how it goes. We’re taking it day to day right now. It’s getting better. It’s definitely getting better.”

Reid said he will not hesitate to start Winston Justice again at left tackle if Thomas can’t play. Justice struggled mightily against the Giants in his first career start.

"I have no problem with that,” Reid said. "I told him to keep his head up and keep firing. He’ll be fine. He’s a good, young football player.”

The Eagles are being cautious with Dawkins, who hasn’t played since suffering a stinger Week 2 against Washington.

"When you’re dealing with nerves, you just don’t know how long those are going to take,” Reid said. "You literally take them day by day. They could take a long time. We’re just playing it by ear. We know he wants to be out there – it’s killing him not to be out there. We want to make sure that thing is right.”

Dawkins went through an intense warm-up before the Giants game but was inactive.

"It's frustrating, very frustrating," Dawkins said Tuesday night during a scheduled appearance at Manny Brown’s in Langhorne, Pa. "All I can do is do what the doctors tell me and hope I'm able to play soon. It's a slow process, and I don't know how long it will take. Hopefully, not too long. It kills you to not be out there with your teammates, especially when things aren't going well.”

Herremans, who has yet to miss a game, underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Oct. 2 but is expected to play. If Herremans is unable to play, then second-year pro Max Jean-Gilles will start at left tackle.

"I’m presuming that Herremans is going to play in the game,” Reid said.

"His knee was bothering him, so we checked it. He had a cartilage tear in there, so they went in there and cleaned it out. He was back up on his feet that day. The main thing is to keep the swelling down. He feels pretty good right now.”


October 08, 2007

Reid Going Nowhere

After the Eagles got thrashed by the Giants last Sunday night, rumors quickly arose and ran rampant that Philly head coach Andy Reid would step down prior to the end of this season. Speculation was that due to legal trouble brought on by two of Reid's sons, the coach would step down because he couldn't keep his focus in the right place.

Stories and rumors spread but all without ever having Reid's position on the matter...until now.

"The only way I don't finish up coaching this year is if I die," an emphatic Reid told FOX Sports. "Are you kidding me? I don't know where this story came from, how it started, but it couldn't be any further from the truth. I am definitely not stepping away!

"It's amazing how this story came up and then got legs, but there's no way."

Reid took a day during his bye week to step out to Atlantic City for a much-needed respite in order to recharge his batteries. Batteries that he says are far from dying.

"The one thing I've learned throughout this whole thing is that I'm not alone in dealing with family issues," said Reid. "There are people who own businesses, run corporations, and they have problems too but don't walk away. Everyone has family or personal issues, but they don't quit their jobs."


October 04, 2007

Phils Get Rocked

Lose 10-5 to Colorado, and drop to 0-2 in the best of 5

Home or away, these Colorado Rockies are on quite a roll.

Kaz Matsui hit his first career grand slam and drove in five runs, leading the Rockies over the Philadelphia Phillies 10-5 Thursday for a 2-0 lead in their NL playoff series.

Matsui connected off scheduled Game 4 starter Kyle Lohse, rushed in to relieve struggling rookie Kyle Kendrick in the fourth inning.

At this rate, the best-of-five series may not get that far. Rookie Ubaldo Jimenez will try to pitch Colorado to a sweep Saturday night at Coors Field against veteran Jamie Moyer.

Making just the second postseason appearance in the franchise's 15-year history, Colorado is on the verge of going to its first NL championship series. The wild-card Rockies posted their eighth straight road victory, and have won 16 of 17 overall.

Matsui fell a single short of the cycle, and Troy Tulowitzki and Matt Holliday homered on consecutive pitches in the first inning off Kendrick, who got a quick hook from manager Charlie Manuel.

The Phillies had a chance to make it interesting in the eighth, loading the bases with two outs. But closer Manny Corpas came in and retired Carlos Ruiz on a bouncer to third. Corpas worked around a pair of two-out singles in a scoreless ninth for his second save in as many days.

Before the game, Corpas came under scrutiny because he was caught by TBS cameras on Wednesday taking a sip of a liquid out of a cup in the bullpen, then pouring some down the back of his neck and all over the front of his jersey. He was seen patting his chest and rubbing his fingers before throwing a pitch, but didn't appear to do anything shady in this appearance.

Jimmy Rollins homered and drove in four runs and Ryan Howard also connected for Philadelphia, which ended a 14-year playoff drought by capturing the NL East title on the final day of the season.

But it's been downhill for the Phillies since they followed a wild celebration Sunday with a pep rally at City Hall the next day.

The heavily criticized Manuel gave his critics plenty of ammunition with two questionable moves.

With the Phillies leading 3-2 in the fourth, Manuel pulled Kendrick after pinch-hitter Seth Smith's infield single loaded the bases with two outs.

Manuel called on Lohse, who made two relief appearances on side days down the stretch. Lohse got ahead 1-2 on Matsui, before grooving a fastball. Matsui drove it into the right-field seats to give the Rockies a 6-3 lead and silence the largest crowd ever at four-year-old Citizens Bank Park.

A total of 45,991 came out, waved their rally towels and cheered wildly despite the score -- somewhat out of character for the notoriously tough Philly boobirds. But they sure gave Jose Mesa an earful when the reliever struggled in the sixth.

Manuel inexplicably used Mesa, who had a 5.54 ERA in 40 games with the Phillies, instead of Clay Condrey to start the inning. Mesa walked the first two batters he faced and allowed a two-run double to Yorvit Torrealba that put the Rockies ahead 8-3. Mesa stayed in and retired pitcher Josh Fogg, before Manuel finally came out and got him.

Condrey gave up an RBI triple to Matsui and RBI single to Holliday to give the Rockies a 10-3 lead.

Matsui, Colorado's leadoff hitter, had just four homers in 410 at-bats this season. He flied out to center in his last at-bat, finishing 3-for-5.

Rookie Franklin Morales lasted just three innings, allowing three runs and three hits in his ninth career start. The 21-year-old Venezuelan played in the All-Star Futures game in July, made his big league debut a month later and earned his first win in Philly on Sept. 11.

Fogg relieved the hard-throwing lefty, and pitched two scoreless innings to earn the win. Fogg started Monday when Colorado beat San Diego in 13 innings in the wild-card tiebreaker.

On an unseasonably warm fall afternoon in Philly -- it was 82 degrees at game time -- the balls were flying out early.

Tulowitzki, the Rookie of the Year candidate, gave the Rockies a 1-0 on a towering drive that landed in the flower bed just beyond the left-center field wall and bounced onto the field. Thinking the ball was in play, Tulowitzki slid into third base, got up and jogged home.

There was no doubt about Holliday's shot. He ripped one deep onto the left-field seats for his second homer in two games and his sixth in six games in Philadelphia this season.

Rollins, who had a career-best 30 homers, connected on Morales' first pitch in the bottom of the first to slice Colorado's lead to 2-1.

Morales ran into trouble in the second. Ruiz doubled to right-center to put runners at second and third with one out. After Kendrick grounded out, Rollins came through.

With the crowd chanting "M-V-P!" he lined a two-run triple to left-center to give the Phillies their first lead of the series, 3-2.

The Rockies elected to pitch to Rollins with a base open and Chase Utley up next. Though he hit .332 during the season, Utley struck out his first five at-bats in this series.

Kendrick, who led NL rookies with 10 wins, allowed five runs and five hits in 3 2-3 innings.


Rollins hit the first leadoff homer in the Phillies' postseason history. ... The Phillies haven't won a postseason game since Curt Schilling shut out Toronto in Game 5 of the 1993 World Series. That series ended with Joe Carter's homer clinching the championship for the Blue Jays. ... Colorado's bullpen has allowed one earned run in nine innings.


October 03, 2007

HMan Gets Scoped

The Eagles announced Tuesday that starting left guard Todd Herremans had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Tuesday. The surgery was performed by Dr. Peter DeLuca, and was successful.

Herremans, a fourth-round draft pick out of Saginaw Valley State in 2005, has started 22 consecutive games at left tackle. A timetable for his return to action will be determined next week.

After playing tackle in college and in his first year with the Eagles, the team moved him inside to left guard last season. Herremans quickly entrenched himself at the position, joining right guard Shawn Andrews to form one of the best young guard pairings in the league. In fact, the Eagles' streak of starting the same five players along the offensive line ended at 19 regular season games Sunday when tackle William Thomas was sidelined with a knee injury.

Third-year reserve guard Scott Young is listed as Herremans' backup on the depth chart if he is not able to return in time for the Eagles next game against the New York Jets. Also in the mix could be second-year guard Max Jean-Gilles and Nick Cole.


October 02, 2007