For the second consecutive week, the Eagles must go on the road to take on a 0-4 team that is in desperate need of a win. They took care of business in their 36-21 victory over the Giants last week at the Meadowlands, and look to do the same this Sunday against Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers may be winless, but they will be well-rested coming off of a bye week, and the Eagles know that their opponent will come ready to play.
"They're just like the Giants last week," said Brent Celek. "I don't think the Giants are a bad team. They're in a little bit of a rut, but that's the way Tampa Bay is. Anytime that you play any team in the NFL, there's always talent and those guys are always hungry to win football games. It's never fun to lose, so they're going to be ready."
On level of play through four games, the Buccaneers' 0-4 record is deceiving. Three of their losses have come by a combined six points, including last-second losses to the New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals. The Bucs have yet to play a team with a losing record.
"I think if you look at them on film, overall they hustle," Celek explained. "They're running and they're flying around – special teams, defense. They're going. Like always, we're going to be doing the same thing, but we're going to have to be ready … Just play every single play. You can't let up at all. That's what it comes down to every game. You can't make mistakes. You can't turn the ball over, and (you have to) finish."
Mychal Kendricks agreed with Celek, telling reporters that anything can happen when two NFL teams go head-to-head.
"From my experience, anybody can win at any given time," Kendricks said. "We're all paid here. We all get paid for what we do. Everyone's pretty good. We're not taking any team lightly- wounded or not wounded, it doesn't matter. Rookie quarterback or non-rookie quarterback, tight ends down or no tight ends down, we're going … They a have a good, good team. They have a great offensive line, a great runner and they're a good team."
That great runner would be second-year back Doug Martin. The Boise State product burst into the NFL spotlight during his rookie season, finishing 2012 with a remarkable 1,454 rushing yards, ranking him fifth among all NFL running backs. According to Connor Barwin, Martin and the Tampa Bay offensive line will make things tough on the Eagles defense.
"I haven't played against him yet, but he's a good back, obviously," said Barwin. "I remember hearing all about his rookie year, and they're probably the best offensive line overall that we've gone against yet this year, so that will be a challenge especially for our run defense."
Martin has been a workhorse for the Buccaneers this season, carrying the ball a league-high 100 times in just four games played. On Sunday, the Eagles will likely receive a heavy dosage of the bruising back with rookie quarterback Mike Glennon making just his second NFL start. According to Cary Williams, the Buccaneers have surrounded the young signal-caller with dangerous weapons like Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams, but the success of the offense will rely on the performance of the first-year pro.
"They have great players around (Glennon)," said Williams. "They have a great running game. They have prolific pass-catchers out there and those guys run decent routes, but at the end of the day we feel like we're facing a rookie quarterback … I respect him, but he's going to have to go out there and make throws."
Williams and the rest of the Eagles defense are coming off a strong fourth quarter against the Giants in which they forced three Eli Manning interceptions. As they defense looks to continue their growth under coordinator Bill Davis, Williams explained that the unit will never underestimate an opponent, no matter how many wins they may have.
"Records really don't mean anything in this league," Williams said. "We understand that they want to win, but we need to win too. We need to continue to build on what we're trying to build on and become what we need to become, and in order to do that, we need to get by Tampa Bay."
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