Today, for the first time this season, the Eagles will have the privilege of playing in front of a raucous capacity crowd at Lincoln Financial Field. After a whirlwind offseason infused even more talent onto this Eagles roster, the expectations for the hometown team are no doubt high, and the fans figure to provide some loud support for their Eagles. But do the players actually benefit from hearing a stadium packed with supporters cheering them on?
"Absolutely," said starting safety Kurt Coleman. "That's our home fans. They're behind us 100 percent and I think everybody wants to go out there and showcase what we've got."
The consensus in the locker room is that they do get a boost from the crowd, especially on defense.
"The crowd helps so much in confusing offenses and making their snap count much more obvious," said defensive tackle Trevor Laws. "When the crowd's going crazy and the quarterback has to use a silent count, it really helps the defense know when the ball's going to be snapped and we can get great get-off."
"When they have to go off silent count," said defensive end Jason Babin, "you have a big offensive tackle or guard looking to watch the ball and we're amped up to go as soon as the thing moves. The advantage goes to the D-line."
Since Lincoln Financial Field opened in 2003, the Eagles have allowed about 19.1 points per game at home versus 21.0 points per game on the road. Further, over the last eight seasons, the home defense has allowed 4.88 yards per play as opposed to 5.03 yards per play on the road. As for big plays, the Eagles have forced 117 turnovers at home since 2003 against 113 on the road. Those aren't huge disparities, but they do support the notion, if slightly, that the defense performs better in front of the home crowd.