Tough week for everybody. TGIF, indeed. On this side, we all have to move ahead and look forward and all of that coach/player/team speak and, hey, that's just the way it is. For the fans, I've heard you all week. I've talked to you all week.
The Eagles play Sunday against the Bengals. They are looking to reach 6-4 on the season. What has happened in the previous nine games is there -- everybody is aware of the record -- but what matters is winning on Sunday. And so the healing process has matured day after day, from Monday until now, until all that is here is Cincinnati.
The Eagles have been questioned for most of the week about what has not gone right during the season, while head coach Andy Reid has stressed what is good with this team. The greatest of the great athletes and minds in this world -- the NFL -- move from day to day having a complete picture of what has been, but they all are forced to focus on what will be. No negative thoughts, no matter what has happened in the past.
So, what to expect? The Eagles have wrongs to right, with little margin for error. They must gain a confidence and win on Sunday and then move on to the next game. For much of the week, those on the outside have not considered what it will take to beat the Bengals. Their stories have been about what has been, and what they think should be.
We know this much: The Eagles are 5-4 and they have a mandate to win one week after the next from here on out. The margin of error is extremely small. They have had too much up and down this season. Too much inconsistency. Too many losses in the NFC. Not enough of this and that ... and on and on.
Inside, you have to understand the mentality. How else do you improve other than to evaluate on the go and work as hard as you can to get better and fix wrongs? The practice I watched on Thursday was face paced, upbeat, crisp, as good as the ones I watched in 2000-2004 when the Eagles won just about every week.
What do I know?
I know only what I see, and what I see is an Eagles team that has a lot of ability, but I also see an Eagles team that hasn't won critical situations in enough games. I see an Eagles team that is, as they say, what it is.
What I hope to see on Sunday is an Eagles team that plays its best game of the season and beats the Bengals and answers a whole different set of questions. I'm moving station to station here. I'm not evaluating every word in a press conference. I'm not balancing stats and pointing to past mistakes.
I'm in the moment. It is the only way to be. The Eagles have to be that way as well. Honestly, going away and playing on the road the next two weeks may be the best thing for this team. The mandate doesn't change, of course. The Eagles need to find what they are all about. Time is running out. They need to win. They need to win.
I never thought Friday would get here. It has been a long, long week. The future is now, once again, just in time.