This is about processing, and then trusting the process, with one purpose in mind: Beating the Washington Football Team on Tuesday night at Lincoln Financial Field. That was the message from Head Coach Nick Sirianni to his players on Saturday when the Eagles gathered at the NovaCare Complex, less than 24 hours after the NFL announced that Sunday's scheduled 1 PM kickoff against WFT was postponed 54 hours due to Washington's extended list of players on the Reserve/COVID list.
Maybe it sounds like a long period of time to you, but in the world of the NFL, where every minute during the week is scheduled and pivotal to rest, recovery, and preparation for the next challenge, 54 hours go by in the blink of an eye. And that's why it's important that the Eagles process the emotions from Friday afternoon, when the news of the postponement went down, and focus their attention on Washington – and Washington only.
Sirianni and his coaching staff, then, are using the scheduling change to impart a very important message to the players: You prepare to be at your very best for Washington and don't think beyond that NFC East battle. As the Eagles spent Saturday in meetings and continued their conditioning – they will have meetings and a walkthrough practice on Sunday, and then will conduct their mock game on Monday, as they would do on a normal Saturday – the coaches were able to do some advance work on the opponent the following Sunday, the New York Giants.
It's something the coaches do when there are other short weeks – a Sunday game followed by a Thursday night game, for example – so the coaching staff is accustomed to this kind of double duty.
As for the players, they understand. Let's take the example of veteran safety Rodney McLeod, a team leader and someone who has pretty much seen it all in his NFL career. When the NFL announced the change of schedule on Friday, emotions were high at the NovaCare Complex. It's fair and honest to say that, and McLeod expressed himself in a Tweet at 3:12 that afternoon.
McLeod expressed what many (everyone?) felt. One hour later, after processing his emotions and accepting the reality of the situation, he sent out another Tweet.
And there you have it. The Eagles have one goal here and that's to beat Washington. They'll follow the message of Sirianni, who has been a steady and guiding hand in his first season as a head coach. Sirianni believes in "doubling down on what you know to be true," and while this is uncharted territory for everyone in the NFL, much less a rookie head coach, Sirianni has held the team together through a 2-5 start, some significant injuries, and intense scrutiny. All of that comes with the territory of being in this league, where nobody is going to feel sorry for the Eagles.
The Eagles, then, aren't going to feel sorry for themselves, either. They're going to galvanize under the leadership of Sirianni and a veteran cast of players in the locker room and an organization that has put together a roadmap of success to battle the COVID virus, and they're going to show up on Tuesday night in front of a rabid crowd at Lincoln Financial Field and spend their energies on the task at hand – defeating Washington.
The Eagles have a huge game on Tuesday night and they intend to be razor-sharp to beat Washington to reach 7-7. That's all that matters for the Philadelphia Eagles right now.