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Eagles Extra: Looking ahead to Eagles-Giants
The Eagles find themselves 1-3 following a demoralizing 32-point loss to Denver. (USA Today Images)
Some of the Eagles showed up to the NovaCare Complex on Monday. Many others didn’t. Technically, they had the day off. That was probably for the best. They left Denver with a lot of wounds -- mental and physical, the types that take time to lick.
“We took a whoopin’,” defensive coordinator Bill Davis said. “That’s what happened.”
It was a straightforward statement, as candid as it was emotionless. They took a whoopin’. That’s what happened. No use denying it.
As the Eagles returned to work on Tuesday, there was some question about how they would respond following such a brutal beating. Would they immediately put it behind them, or might the specter of the 32-point loss haunt them longer than they’d like and thereby distract them from focusing on New York?
Chip Kelly was asked about that in the immediate aftermath of his team’s Rocky Mountain meltdown. He said it was a good question -- one he wouldn’t be able to fully answer until his players began preparing for the Giants this week.
“If we come out and we’re hanging our heads and we’re feeling sorry for ourselves, then I’ll say we didn’t have any progress and growth,” Kelly said. “But I think we have to understand this is a tough-ass league and you’re playing against some really good teams. And if you feel sorry for yourself, as I tell people all the time, 90 percent of people don’t care about your problems and 10 percent are glad you have them.
As problems go, the Eagles have quite a few. The Broncos are the highest-scoring team in the league, but the 52 points they posted against the Birds was almost 10 points better than their average entering the game. That’s significant. Denver has an excellent team, but the Eagles made them look like they were in a totally different league -- as though the Broncos had scheduled a CFL team, and not a very good one.
Morale and mindset are often saccharine words used to describe fuzzy overarching intangibles. And yet Kelly and Davis and so many other Eagles talked about those concepts following the Broncos game. The general gist was that the Birds need to move on, and quickly. The Giants are 0-4. They’re a bad team on both sides of the ball. But bad teams win games all the time in the NFL, and it’s not like the Eagles are much better right now. The Eagles have won precisely one game more than the bad team they’ll face this weekend.
Kelly said he’d watch his players’ “mindset” and “energy” at practice on Tuesday. He also confidently predicted they would “come back to work” and focus on the near-future rather than the badly-botched recent past.
“A game like that, it comes and goes,” Michael Vick said after Tuesday’s workout. “You have to move on to the next week. I think the guys responded today as far as the enthusiasm in practice. You know, what else can we do?”
On the flight back from Denver, Vick said he talked to some of the players about pushing forward and not wallowing. They want to avoid a repeat of what happened last year, when a losing streak ripped apart the locker room and the season.
“We’ve been there,” Vick said. “We know what it’s like. The one thing we won’t do, we won’t go in the tank. You know, last year, we lost three games in a row and we felt like the world was coming to an end. You’ve got to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep going. Nothing is going to be given to you. You have to go out there and earn it.”
They haven’t earned much this year. The Eagles average the second-most total offensive yards in the NFL, but that statistic seems less impressive every week. The Giants average 133.3 fewer yards of total offense than the Eagles, and they score 9.5 fewer points per game than the Eagles. Again, the Giants have been awful. But in the only category that really counts, the Giants are just one game behind the Eagles in the standings.
As Kelly said, there are some tough teams in the NFL. The Eagles and Giants have been smacked around by some of them. On Sunday, either the Eagles or Giants will recover from those beatings and move on. Until then, there is only talk -- and that hasn’t gotten either team very far.
“Nobody is going to feel sorry for you,” Vick said. “We understand that. The only opportunity that’s going to get us out of this hole is us going out there, playing on Sundays, and winning. We understand that.”