I like Jason La Canfora for two basic reasons: (1) He’s from my old neighborhood when I lived in Baltimore, and (2) he sounds just like George Costanza on the radio.
Now you and EYE don’t always agree with all of his takes. But I do like this one regarding the Eagles’ 2021 opener against Atlanta today (Sunday 9/12):
“I am trying to figure out why the Falcons are the favorite, outside of them playing at home. But when you consider how many debacles they have had in front of their own fans, how hospitable their dome has been to opponents and the Falcons’ disturbing trend of waiting until November to start playing with a pulse, it’s hard to favor them. Is new rookie coach Athur Smith going to cure all of that in his first game? I strongly favor the Eagles personnel in the trenches on both sides – offensive and defensive line – and their multiplicity in the run game should be a problem for a perennially suspect Atlanta front seven. Matt Ryan does not fare well under pressure at this point, and I suspect he is forced to pick up his feet more than he would like Sunday. Both teams have brand new young coaches, but I favor the guy on the road who doesn’t feel like he needs to put on a show or unveil all of his offensive tricks and bells and whistles. This would be a moneyline play for me. I like the dog to win.”
To me, that’s a good enough omen, too.
There is a feeling around the league that a lot of us are underselling the Eagles in this one, mostly due to the newness of the coaching staff and their collective analytic approach to the preseason. But so far the players have bought in.
“Everybody is just honing in on the day and staying in the moment,” linebacker Eric Wilson said in an exclusive interview for the Eagles Insider Podcast. “It’s really great, the culture that we have here, what we stand for on defense. That’s us flying around, playing smart, doing your job and being there for your teammates. We are making sure that we’re on the same page the whole way and on Sunday it’s going to be a matter of going out and doing it.
“The first game of the year can always be filled with question marks and when you have a new coaching staff, maybe some new guys on the team and so with that it’s very important that we’re doing what we’re doing the right way, being where we’re supposed to be when we’re supposed to be there. After a few series, we’ll get a sense of what they’re trying to do, how they are attacking the field with the new offense, and we’ll get a handle on things.”
Nick Sirianni seems to be taking a page from the John Harbaugh school for virgin head coaches when he fires off this gameday quote:
“I’m excited about this team. Again, I see a team that is really close together. I see a team that has continued to improve their fundamentals. I thought yesterday’s (Thursday) practice particularly, I was watching third down on the offense, we were just really crisp in the fundamentals, in the pass game. Every play I was watching with the guys, I was like, ‘This is exactly how you do it, this is exactly how you do it.’ That is a good feeling as a coach, right, to really feel like we’re getting better.
“Again, you’re not ready for this moment unless you’ve built to this moment. That’s what we’ve been trying to do every day – build, build, build, build, build, continue to build through the season when other teams plateau, and just try to have that mindset of getting better every day.”
Well, the moment begins today at 1 P.M. EST….which is probably already Monday in Australia!