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LBs Already Looking Forward

You have to move forward quickly in the NFL. As the Eagles lick their extensive wounds from yesterday afternoon's 27-20 loss -- a game in which two starters were likely lost for the year -- there is time to examine what went wrong, but the focus is already pointing toward next Sunday's game in Detroit against the Lions.

At linebacker, it's unknown at the moment whether middle linebacker Stewart Bradley will be cleared to play after incurring a concussion in the first half of the season opener. While Bradley is, in many ways, the key cog in the Eagles' defensive machine, there is a solid plan B in place.

"As crazy as it may sounds, I consider myself as a starter on this team," said Omar Gaither, the veteran linebacker who has started 34 games for the Eagles. "I've done it before."

Gaither stepped in as the middle linebacker on Sunday and helped the defense stifle the Packers in the fourth quarter as the Eagles mounted a furious rally that ended up too little too late. The Packers had three possessions in the fourth quarter, as they attempted to ice the clock and run over the Eagles defense. It was not to be, as the defense stepped up to allow only one first down.

"It took about a series (to get back up to speed), I'm not going to lie," Gaither said. "But eventually we got into the swing of things and we started getting off the field."

"One thing that I really take from the game is that we really fought back," said weakside linebacker Ernie Sims, who made his first start as an Eagle. "We really gave ourselves a chance to win the ballgame. I'm really proud of my teammates for fighting and not giving up. We could have easily just laid down and they could have run the ball down the field and scored some points and put us out of the game for sure."

It wasn't quite the debut Sims was hoping for, though he came away impressed with "the intensity of the crowd" and the "level of play." And for Sims, getting up for next week's game will be pretty easy. After all, the Eagles are traveling to the place where Sims spent the first four years of his career to play the team that shipped him away in the off-season.

"I can't really lie and say that I didn't (have t his game circled on my calendar)," Sims said. "I'm looking forward to going back to Detroit. It's definitely going to be an emotional game for me. I spent the last four years there. But every week is a challenge, that's the way you have to look at it."

Next Sunday, the challenge is to get that coveted first win.

-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 9:21 a.m., September 13

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