This is weird territory for me. I’m not handling it well. Going 8-1 into the Bye? Am I having an out-of-body experience?
The coaching staff seems to be hitting on every personnel decision and every play call. The players actually seem to like each other. Nobody is eating their lunch alone in their car in the parking lot at NovaCare.
This is strange territory for a lifetime Eagles fan….I feel like “Quigley Down Under”…ready for the other shoe to drop…but keeping my long-shot rifle well-oiled….
I dropped in on Bleeding Green Nation’s forum to sample some fan reaction to the Eagles’ amazing start of this season.
EaglesFan55 put it into perspective for me:
“What’s more amazing than 8-1 is that they’re doing it with so many role players down. How f-ing hard would you have laughed if I told you in late August:
“Prior to the Bye the Eagles will lose Sproles, Hicks, Peters, and Maragos for the season (missing multiple games each), lose Lane Johnson and Zach Ertz for a game each, Fletcher Cox for 2 games, and you know that corner you’re all jazzed about that you just got?…gone for every game since the first one. But they’ll be 8-1 and widely regarded as the best team in football.”
“Kind of gives you chills.”
“Agreed…Feels like being trapped in an alternate universe…where suddenly probability goes out the window, and possibility is endless. I need my banky!”
And then, I had to inject my inbred disease of Philly monkey-on-my-back hesitance:
“Waiting for that moment of serious in-game chess challenge for Dougie…
Maybe it comes against Dallas in two weeks? Things not going our way, time running out, need some major clock management communication from the sidelines? Steal this game? Dunno if we’ve been really tested that way yet…”
Well, you have to admit, we haven’t really faced too many do-or-die moments of truth at the end of games. And certainly, those moments of truth will face us sooner or later once we get into those crazy close games coming up after the Bye.
That’s when the coaching acumen of Doug and the flexible mettle of the players on the field in crunch time will be truly revealed.
We’re not there yet. Everything’s come up roses so far. Real adversity with a game on the line has not yet been a factor.
Everything’s been a joy ride so far. And that’s a good thing, because optimism and faith is a big part of what makes a good TEAM. For the first time in over a decade, it looks like the Eagles have a cohesive bunch of guys who value TEAM above and beyond individual contracts.
That counts for a lot. But it doesn’t guarantee success in crunch time moments of big games coming up.
Sooner or later it must boil down to the shrewd playmaker rising up to make a difference in a game that could go either way—or the head coach that makes the definitive call from the sidelines. That’s what wins the big-money games, the playoff games and so forth.
So we’re not even close to that kind of epiphany with this team, not yet.
Watching the Green Bay Packers fall to the Detroit Lions last night for their third consecutive loss without Aaron Rodgers at QB, I was reminded how fragile a “good” team really is. You can rally around your next men up, but there comes a point where you lose one too many of your “money” guys, and you are suddenly toast in the face of the journeymen survivors of the league like Matthew Stafford and Golden Tate and Marvin Jones.
Hey, 8-1 is 8-1, I’m darn grateful to witness it. I’m just not going to read more into it than we’ve been blessed with a great start from a remarkable mix of young players and cagey veterans, with a smart defense and just the right amount of leadership from our young starting QB. Roster depth has been a credit to our front office. We’ve been privileged as fans to enjoy the current free ride, and after years of over-hyped promotion of poorly constructed teams, we deserve it.
I just know we are in for some rough seas ahead. It’s okay, winning championships isn’t supposed to be easy. We can enjoy the ride going forward even if it gets rough at times. Eventually you must prove greatness by overcoming adversity. We will get our fair share of adversity, count on it.