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A Spin Around The Eagles' Locker Room

Posted Jan 11, 2018

Two days away from the Divisional Round playoff game against Atlanta, the Eagles finished their work at Lincoln Financial Field and returned to the NovaCare Complex locker room ready for what is ahead. So much energy. So much optimism. A good time to get a gauge of what’s going on in the minds of the players, so here is the Spin Around the Locker Room …

Two days away from the Divisional Round playoff game against Atlanta, the Eagles finished their work at Lincoln Financial Field and returned to the NovaCare Complex locker room ready for what is ahead. So much energy. So much optimism. A good time to get a gauge of what’s going on in the minds of the players, so here is the Spin Around the Locker Room …

LB Nigel Bradham: Controlling The Hype

Preparing for his first career playoff game, Nigel Bradham is all smiles. What’s on his mind as he dresses and prepares for lunch?

“Win, that’s all,” he said, beaming.

Bradham has a lot on his plate preparing for the Atlanta offense, a multi-pronged attack that relies on the running to set up everything else. He has nothing but respect for the Falcons, but he’s feeling good about the Eagles and the way the preparation has gone this week.

“Obviously, this is a lot more exciting for me with my first playoff game coming and I just feel we’ve had a great week of preparation,” he said. “I know the team will be hyped and the crowd will be hyped. I’ve got to remind myself to be calm and stay focused and I know that when the game starts it will be football. You can’t be too hyped. Too much hype equals too many mistakes.

“I am a part of everything on defense. The run game is a big part of the game and so is the passing game, understanding their routes and their concepts and how they want to attack us. They use their backs a lot in the passing game and we know who they have at receiver. I’m going to have to be ready for all types of situations. I’m playing ‘MIKE’ (middle linebacker in the nickel) and I have to key into everything – the quarterback, the line, the center. I have to recognize all of those things. When I’m watching film, I’m looking at everything and I feel great about the way I’ve prepared.”

T Lane Johnson: The Film Study Game

Right tackle Lane Johnson has another tough assignment with edge rusher Vic Beasley across from him on Saturday. Beasley is energetic, extremely quick, and he knows how to get to the quarterback. In addition to the daily meetings and the film study with offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, Johnson estimates that he’s watched more film on his own at home anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes each night.

Same plays. Just watching, looking for some clues on Beasley and his tendencies.

“We’ve tried to make this like every other week and not make it bigger than what it is,” Johnson said. “We’ve succeeded in doing that. It’s been a great week. Last week was great, too. For me, I’m doing all the extra work I can on Beasley. I look for body language. If you can decipher anything from his stance, maybe you can see if he is going to run a stunt inside, or I look at the hands to see if anything is different there. Any tips I can find.

“Beasley is pretty well balanced in his stance. He kind of angles in instead of being square at the line. He’s very good at changing direction from that stance.”

The last thing Johnson wants to do when kickoff comes is think. He just wants to play.

“I’m going to be ready to go. I won’t be thinking. You get in a zone and you don’t think, you just play," he said. "We have put in so many hours of a certain activity that thinking is not involved. I think that’s a key to playing good football.”

LB Dannell Ellerbe: Playing For Forever

A hamstring injury earlier in the week limited linebacker Dannell Ellerbe in practice, but he had a full practice on Thursday and is ready to go. Signed in midseason, Ellerbe is up to speed in the defense and is the team’s middle linebacker in base personnel packages.

He’s an experienced playoff participant, having won the Super Bowl in 2012 as a member of the Baltimore Ravens. So there are no worries about being too high for this game. Ellerbe learned how to get his emotions just right from some very impactful teammates in Baltimore.

“Guys like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed led the way for us. At the end of the day, you can’t let the outside noise get to you. Just do your job,” he said. “Watch film, come in and get your body right and be ready to go. Ray and Ed, those guys let us know how to do it. They had that special presence. It’s a different week, no doubt about it when you’re in the playoffs, but at the same time you don’t want to get too much in your head.”

As for the Falcons' offense, Ellerbe knows Atlanta can do damage in a variety of ways.

“They have playmakers all over the field,” he said. “They have a veteran quarterback who knows where he wants to go with the football. We have to play honest defense. We have studied well. We are prepared. We have a lot of energy. This is what you look forward to. The way I see it, you’re playing for forever.”

RB Corey Clement: Winning For The Hometown

Corey Clement is from Glassboro, N.J., as you know, and he’s witnessed the Eagles in the playoffs in his lifetime. He’s been on the fan side of the craziness. He knows how the fans feel. He knows how much they want a win on Saturday, how much they want a parade down Broad Street.

“Just looking back at my journey, it’s still being written, but I don’t want to make it bigger than what it is,” he said. “I’ve played football all my life. I’m doing it for so many things – my family, my friends, Glassboro, New Jersey.”

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Fandom aside, Clement is in the postseason in his first NFL campaign. That’s special.

“It’s been fun. Of course, there’s a lot of outside noise that is against us, but at the same time, we love it. We live for it. We’re going to do it for the City of Philadelphia and for anybody coming out to the game, it’s going to be electrifying and we’re going to put our best foot forward and not look back.”

Clement has heard teammates speak this week – veterans who have either won the Super Bowl or those who have had long dry periods between playoff appearances. It’s all had an impact on the rookie.

And the takeaway is this: Don’t take a moment of this for granted.

“Next year is not promised,” Clement said. “I’ve got to take hold of it. Many teams don’t get to this point. You can’t look back. You can’t really reflect too much on the past. This team matters now. I think we’re utilizing all the resources that we have, all the practices, to handle this year first.”

CB Patrick Robinson: Just Doing My Job

Cornerback Patrick Robinson started his career in New Orleans and played in the postseason in 2010 and 2011 with the Saints and hasn’t been back since. So this is a special time for him and he appreciates it.

“I’m trying to make it as simple as possible. Do my job. Stay focused. When a play comes to me, I’m going to make it,” he said. “Nothing more, nothing less.

“There are going to be a lot of people hyped up, really anxious. That’s what I expect. I’m trying to keep it cool and keep it like any other game. They’ve got a good passing game. We know that. So it’s a great test and I’m excited.”

Robinson has been a big part of the Eagles’ defense inside in the nickel and as an outside cornerback. He knows the defense is capable of taking over a game and he’s using that as a yardstick for Saturday.

“We’re going to bring our best,” he said. “We all know each other and trust each other. It comes down to every player doing his job and that’s it. Just focus on what you have to do and let everything else take care of itself.”

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