Day by day, they learned a little bit more about each other and developed trust, confidence and chemistry. A young team with a new roster found itself at some point last week, says quarterback Kevin Kolb, and brought that camaraderie onto the field to handle Atlanta with ease.
"We had that sense all during the week last week. We really had it in San Francisco. There is a confidence in the locker room right now," said Kolb. "We all believe in each other, and there is a trust all across the board."
We're on a game-by-game watch now, and up ahead is a Tennessee team coming off a pasting of Jacksonville on Monday night. The Titans looked great. Backup quarterback Kerry Collins stepped in for an injured Vince Young and played a heck of a game, so the Eagles have to prepare for both Young (knee injury) and Collins. The Titans have a great running game, a physical offensive line and a superb defense that flies to the football.
The Eagles prepare, then, to gear it up again. A young team that nobody out there thought would be very good goes into a game not many people think it will win. Who cares what the outside world thinks?
The Eagles believe in themselves, and for a team that has had so much upheaval since 2009 ended, well, that may be the best news of all.
Remember all of that talk about leadership and veteran experience and all of the intangibles that we weren't sure the Eagles had when the season started? Well, maybe all of these injuries and the adversity that the team has experienced have given the team a reason to look around the locker room and understand that to win, everyone on the roster has to contribute.
Maybe the players have taken their cue from Andy Reid, who has never allowed injuries to be an excuse, who has exhibited a tremendous amount of faith in his roster and who understands the maturation process that must take place for every team.
Players like Kolb are the reason for the team's early success this season. He has been quiet about the frustration he no doubt felt when Reid made the decision to go with Michael Vick even after Kolb recovered from his Game 1 concussion. Instead of pouting, Kolb prepared for his next chance. His approach paid off and he has turned in two scintillating performances in Eagles victories.
Everyone in the locker room saw how Kolb reacted during the crazy days of the early quarterback in-and-out scenario. He held his head high, he looked everyone square in the eye and he pressed on. It is a significant microcosm of what this team is all about, then: The Eagles have shrugged off the injuries and the inconsistency of the first couple of weeks of the season and now sit in first place in the NFC East.
Sunday is another huge test at Tennessee. The Titans are an outstanding football team, tough and well coached and very, very sound. The coaching staff has to put together a great game plan, and the players have to execute the strategy even as the team lines up without some major pieces, which could include wide receiver DeSean Jackson, Vick, left tackle Jason Peters. All three players are Pro Bowl-quality Eagles.
And all three have to be replaced if they don't play.
What the Eagles have done to this point is history. The focus is on the Titans and a chance to reach 5-2. We pause from all of the talk about the quarterback situation, about the violence of the NFL game, about the injuries the Eagles have incurred across the board. What matters is that the Eagles play their best game of the season on Sunday and take some real momentum and mojo into a bye week that comes at a perfect time.