As we enjoy (depending on your perspective) the Eagles' bye week, the sorting-out process in the NFC continues in the middle of the 2011 season. There are big games throughout the conference, and while the contention here is that the Eagles must win the NFC East to reach the post-season, you just never know.
So it is with particular interest that Atlanta's game in Detroit means something today. Heck, they all mean something, which is why it is almost impossible to skip on a day of watching television and keeping up to date on the games.
Of course, it's 65 degrees and sunny in Philadelphia, and there aren't going to be many more days like this before winter settles in. I wonder how many of you are watching games today ...
Some things off the top of my head ...
- Has there ever been a worse prime-time schedule in Week 7 of a season than what we have in front of us? New Orleans against an awful Colts team tonight with Baltimore and a terrible Jacksonville team tomorrow night? Can we do early-season flex scheduling?
- Best of luck to Jerome Harrison as he recovers from surgery on brain tumor. Understandably, the Eagles' medical team hasn't said anything about the situation given its severity, and at the end of the day it is a blessing that Harrison was traded and then given a physical. The expectations for a full recovery are great. Remarkable story and, in a sense, a miracle of timing and medical technology.
- Asante Samuel was on a Philadelphia radio station this week and was asked, of course, of about the reports that the Eagles were shopping him around prior to the trade deadline. Samuel expressed disappointment and also resolved to be a professional and play well and hard and let the future happen as it happens. He is someone who is going to have to face the reporters now and show that he is a leader here and can help a 2-4 football team out of a significant hole. More than anything else, the team's success comes first for everyone in that locker room.
- Definitely hope the offensive coaches have taken a lot of time this week to look at what Dallas does on defense with coordinator Rob Ryan. After hearing what New England quarterback Tom Brady had to say about the Dallas D, the understanding here is that the Eagles are going to be challenged on every play by a changing, aggressive scheme that gets after the quarterback off the edges and between the guards. This is a huge assignment for the offense here.
- On the health front, the Eagles hopefully will get defensive end Trent Cole, offensive tackle Jason Peters and defensive end Brandon Graham on the field on Monday. Once again on Graham: I would be surprised if he is active against Dallas. He needs some practice time to be ready for game action.
- How much do the rookies enjoy the bye week? Think about it: They didn't have an off-season to get some of the mental prep work in, and then they've been going a million miles an hour since training camp. I think this rookie class will be extremely refreshed.
- What kind of adjustments did Juan Castillo make to his scheme against Washington? Well, he lined up his defensive ends in a "6" technique, which is tighter than the "Wide 9" technique outside the tackle box. It made a difference. The linebackers were much more aggressive and Jamar Chaney had his best game. Moving forward, flexibility is the key. And aggressiveness. The Eagles must challenge at the line of scrimmage.
- The Eagles practice on Monday, have a players' day off on Tuesday and get back into the routine on Wednesday to prepare for Dallas. Former Eagles cornerback Eric Allen and former defensive coordinator Jim Johnson will be inducted into the team's Honor Roll at halftime of Sunday night's game.