Stanley Havili understands the importance of making the most of his opportunities.
After all, he plays fullback on a pass-happy team in a league that is becoming less focused on the running game. While some players may scoff at seeing only a handful of plays on offense and special teams, Havili relishes the opportunities. And after getting a chance to shine Sunday night, Havili has shown he is capable of being a difference-maker in both phases.
"I feel very fortunate first to be out there playing; to have the role that I have on special teams and on this offense," Havili said Thursday. "I'm just excited to be on the field."
Havili was on the field for 28 snaps last Sunday against the Giants, easily the most action he's seen this season. And his presence was certainly felt. Running back LeSean McCoy rushed for 123 yards that night, with all but two of those yards coming in the second half.
"I was fortunate to have a couple plays in the second half and go out there and block," Havili said. "I take pride in whenever I'm there, opening holes for Shady (McCoy.) That's my job; that's what they pay me to do here and that's what I focus on."
As a member of an offense that doesn't often feature the fullback, Havili has to make do with the work he gets. But griping is the last thing on his mind. He couldn't care less how many snaps he plays. All that matters is making each of them count.
"I'm just excited to play," he said. "When you're in a game like (Sunday night's,) you're not really noticing how much you're playing. Whether I'm playing 12 plays or 20 plays, I don't notice the difference."
Through four games, Havili's quiet confidence has also gained him the respect of those around him.
"He loves blowing people up," said right tackle Todd Herremans. "He doesn't even really care if he gets the ball. He has the perfect mentality for a fullback."
That attitude also carries over to special teams. And while special teams isn't always a glamour spot to be in, Havili loves the high-octane nature of the job. That seems only natural, given the nature of the fullback position.
"I love playing special teams," he said. "I think it's one of the most fun parts of playing football, being out there on special teams, running 40 or 50 yards and hitting someone."
To this point, Havili has been one of the few bright spots on that squad. He is tied for the team lead with six special teams tackles and is second with 40 special teams production points. The Eagles' kickoff and punt coverage units gave up a combined 246 yards to the Giants on Sunday night. But Havili sees things turning around already, even in practice.
"I think playing special teams has a lot to do with attitude and wanting to be out there," Havili said. "I think (special teams coordinator Bobby April) is doing a great job this week of fixing things. We have a lot of improvement to do, and I think we're going to practice hard this week."
After this week, Havili will have perhaps the most important motivation of all. On Tuesday, he and his wife, Jocelyn, welcomed their first child, a girl named Holiday Renae. Havili knows he's not just playing for himself anymore.
"I have a family to support," he said. "I have my wife, and now this daughter. It makes everything more meaningful, to be out here."
Regardless of what motivates him, Eagles fans can rest assured he'll be giving it everything he has. And after his performance last Sunday, he may have more of those opportunities as the season moves along.
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