If you’re a veteran Eagles fan you probably appreciate a few extra days off until the next game (Monday night, October 23 at home vs. Redskins) to let this 5-1 fast start settle in.
This is rareified air for us. That’s because usually at this time of the season we are analytically lamenting the two or three games that got away from us, the ones we could have won. Now we are looking with admiration at the reasons we are winning those games.
Younger or novice fans are getting caught up in the euphoria. That’s fine and well, but remember, grasshoppers, this team is still a work in progress. It’s got a lot of work—and I mean a lot—to do before it can be legitimately regarded as a great team. Right now, it’s a good team which is finding its collective voice, if you will. And the biggest part of that voice is comprised of the high notes being hit on key by the defense. For the first time in a long time, the Eagles are orchestrating a complete defense with game-changing reliability. It’s a beautiful thing to behold.
You never feel you’re out of a game with the defense clicking like this. It’s not that the song they sing is in perfect tune, but it just stays on time. It’s solid. It’s a good band.
Funny how little the international media really knows about this team. They’re just beginning to take notice. Flying under the radar has been fun so far, but I get irked when I hear some of the lame descriptions of this team by outside media celebrities who should know better.
For example, yesterday I heard five big media outlet celebrities refer to their shock at how well the Eagles played Thursday night without their star “LEFT tackle” Lane Johnson— and the biggest name of these was NFL.com‘s Jason LaCanfora, whom I really like as a smart football commentator. One of my local sports radio celebs named Jeremy Conn made the same mistake.
How little they really know us!
Then there were about seven other commentaries I heard from CBS radio guys talking about how bad the Eagles’ secondary was going into the Carolina game, and how Cam Newton would easily exploit our corners and safeties.
Say what? Do these people who get paid to do this for a living even watch the games?
I am tempted at those moments to call in to the TV or radio stations and correct the misreporting and the misconceptions about the Eagles. But then I stop myself and say: “Stay under the radar as long as you can.”
Unfortunately for us, NFL coaches around the league are not as obtuse as many media observers. The coaches have the tape and they know what’s happening here. They know how our defense is evolving and they know what position Lane Johnson really plays.
Get ready for the next phase of counter-adjustments by our weekly opponents. We got a dose of that from the right-side blitz looks coming fast and furious against Carson Wentz in Carolina.
Injuries are going to require adjustments on our side, too.
On Friday afternoon, Pederson met with the media to provide updates on both linebacker Jordan Hicks(ankle) and safety Chris Maragos (knee) who both went down in Thursday night’s win over the Panthers.
Hicks is OK and Pederson expects him to be available for practice next week. He commended the play of linebackers Mychal Kendricks and Nigel Bradham, who led the team in tackles with 17 and 10, respectively, in Hicks’ absence. The severity of Maragos’ knee injury is still unknown and the team will need to have a few more tests done before providing a full evaluation.
Pederson wants his players to enjoy a little time to exhale, too. He has encouraged them to spend time with their families but make sure they’re focused when they return to NovaCare Complex next Tuesday.
“The players are going to read [about themselves] and they’re going to listen to all the media outlets on TV and just hear how people are talking about them and saying how good and how great they are. But you’ve got to keep it real too. And that comes from me,” Pederson said during Friday’s press conference.
“We’re winning these games but there’s a lot to fix, a lot to correct as well. It’s never perfect obviously. Bottom line is we want to win the next game but at the same time, I’ve got to keep them focused and grounded. Even some of the situational stuff still needs work. We’ve got to eliminate the big play on defense. Got to get better in the red zone on offense. Keep working in those areas. We weren’t as good on third downs last night, so we have to keep working on that, and keep focused and detailed in those specific areas.”
Same goes for we veteran fans… we can’t get delirious over a 5-1 start. We’ve got to stay grounded and cheer responsibly. There’s a lot more drama to come, and a lot more to learn about this team in 2017. At least for now, we know a lot more about the Eagles than Jason LaCanfora does. Savor the moment…