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Ella on the Scene: 'More important than X's and O's'

Gabriella DiGiovanni and Brandon Graham
Gabriella DiGiovanni and Brandon Graham

"We lost this together," Nick Sirianni said in his post-game remarks as the Washington Commanders handed the Eagles their first loss of the season on Monday night. The page has been turned, however, and it's on to Indianapolis. I'll take you inside the locker room and around the NovaCare Complex as the Birds prepare to get on the road and back in the win column.


The Colts are going to see a determined team march into Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday. We'll learn a lot about how the 2022 Eagles respond to adversity. The general message is that players and coaches haven't strayed from the process.

Left tackle Jordan Mailata said there's simply more of an emphasis on the minor details: "It hasn't been too much of a path change because this is what we do every week – week in, week out, win or lose or draw – we go back to the same systems."

Quarterback Jalen Hurts knows there's no panic. "The process for us is our process and we have to be committed to that. We have to maintain that hunger. We have to be eager to do things the right way because it's the right thing to do."

You could feel it in the locker room this week – guys were loose, music was blasting, and they were looking nowhere but ahead to their next opponent. They're ready to prove their toughness.

And Sirianni thinks toughness is one of the main identities of this team. "The guys that we have in this building are tough, and they play through things. They are mentally tough, physically tough."

"I think the biggest thing is we have a chance to get back on track on Sunday and then we won't be having a whole lot of these conversations," defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said. "We're 8-1, it's not the end of the world."


Tight end Dallas Goedert was placed on Injured Reserve this week after suffering a shoulder injury on Monday night. This designation means the earliest he could return to play would be Week 15 in Chicago.

It was made very clear this week that Goedert isn't a player you replace – you simply have to get creative in his absence.

"You're not going to be able to duplicate everything he does because he has a unique skill set," Head Coach Nick Sirianni said. "You try to figure out who can do what he does, and can they do it, and then you put that stuff in your offense."

It'll certainly be a by-committee approach in these coming weeks, and Jalen Hurts trusts every guy in the building.

"Every individual on this team brings value to this team and makes this team special. Everyone," Hurts reflected. "We talk about doing stuff together, we talk about being on the same head, we talk about the importance of being able to go to battle for one another. Everybody adds value to this football team and everybody has that trust with the preparation we put forward to go out there and execute at the highest of highs in terms of our level of standard."

Offensive Coordinator Shane Steichen said, "You can pretty much do whatever you want with Dallas," since he's such a special player. So all eyes will certainly be on how this team will adjust on Sunday without their tight end who has ranked at or near the top of the league through 10 weeks in every major statistical category.


Wide receiver A.J. Brown played three seasons in the AFC South during his time with Tennessee. Over that span, he caught 72 passes for 1,196 yards and 10 touchdowns within the division.

He's very familiar with the personnel and says Indianapolis is one of his favorite places to play. "I know these guys well. This is a really good defense. They added a couple pieces on the back end, but they play really hard. It's never been an easy matchup."

This season, Brown's recorded 154 yards and a touchdown against the AFC South with two games to go – one coming as soon as Sunday, the second against his former Titans in Week 13.


This week's Community Tuesday was a Character Playbook event alongside Everfi. I moderated a discussion with defensive end Brandon Graham who answered a variety of questions focused on mental health, conflict resolution, and violence prevention.

Over 1,800 local students from more than 38 schools logged onto the Zoom call to participate. Some students even had the opportunity to ask Graham questions live.

Of all the playbooks Graham has had to study, his character playbook is certainly one that has had the biggest impact throughout his 13 years in Philadelphia.


Rookie defensive tackle Jordan Davis kicked off his new partnership with Campbell's Chunky this week as 100 families from Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) drove through K Lot at Lincoln Financial Field to pick up Thanksgiving meals.

Davis, his mom, and many teammates welcomed the season of giving.

"Football's football," Davis said. "But a life is more important than X's and O's. So to be able to give back and give back to the community that supports us so much, it's just one of those feelings that you don't forget about. It means a lot more than the game."

Davis said Jordan Mailata's community impact influenced him to also get involved. He shared that he aspires to be like Mailata, and "this is just the beginning."

BBBS is a valued partner of the Eagles as well. Gregory Burton, Vice President of Marketing and Communications of BBBS Independence, was thrilled by both the success of the meal pick-up event and the players' enthusiasm to help.

"To have them physically be there, say hello, take a few pictures, sign a few autographs, and hand them this meal, it means everything to these families," Burton said.

He also shared that amongst the Greater Philadelphia and South Jersey areas, there are more than 300,000 children who live at or below the poverty line.

Cars were lined up through the parking lot and down the street, awaiting their much-needed and appreciated meal.

"This is one of the true benefits of having a partnership with the Philadelphia Eagles," Burton reflected. "We've had a lot of folks say, 'This really meant a lot for us, times are tough.' So it's an incredible thing that we're able to do at the Eagles."

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