Philadelphia Eagles News

News, Notes And Things I Think I Know

  • You believe in omens? The Eagles are 3-0 this season when an American Idol star sings the national anthem (Ruben Studdard vs. Browns, Taylor Hicks vs. Vikings, Jordin Sparks vs. Giants). Guess who is signing the national anthem on Sunday? Sparks, a Glendale, AZ native. Not a bad way to start the game, if you believe in those sorts of things.
  • Hey, this is a time to pull out all of the stops, right? The Eagles announced on Thursday afternoon that former running back Duce Staley -- I want to hear a DUUUUUUUUUCCCCEEE from the crowd, got it? -- will serve as the team's honorary captain. Staley, of course, played for the Eagles from 1997-2003 and he ranks fourth on the franchise's all-time rushing list with 4,807 ground yards. He will be out on the field for the coin toss, so be ready to show up, Eagles fans!
  • Other than the increased media at the clearly-increased buzz at the NovaCare Complex this week, it is business as usual for the Eagles. Andy Reid is sticking to the same schedule the team has had since before the Dallas game. He has backed off the team on the practice field to keep them fresh, and he has made sure they are on point with their playbooks and film work. Sounds good to me. The way I'm looking at this game is from the Eagles' perspective: I expect Arizona to play an outstandnig game. The Cardinals are playing terrific football right now. I want to see the Eagles match the intensity that had in wins over Dallas, Minnesota and New York to get to this point.
  • Interesting addition to the Arizona post-practice injury report on Thursday: Punter Ben Graham was limited with a groin injury. I don't know how serious the injury is, or what it means for Sunday, but it can't be good news when the punter has a groin injury three days before the game. Wide receiver Anquan Boldin was limited again in practice with that hamstring injury. It sounds like he will play, though, and the Eagles need to be prepared for his size, strength and ability to make plays after the reception. I wonder how explosive he can be having not really turned it loose in practice after suffering a hamstring injury.
  • Good news for the Eagles: Wide receiver Jason Avant, who was limited in practie on Wednesday, was a full participant in Thursday's practice. His knee injury, apparently, is not an issue. Neither running back Brian Westbrook nor offensive tackle Jon Runyan worked in practice, as expected. Both will play on Sunday.
  • I can't believe I didn't remember this until today: Neither cornerback Asante Samuel nor running back Correll Buckhalter played against the Cardinals the first time around. Both players should be heavy contributors in this game. Samuel will stay on the left side, said defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, who isn't about to change what he does and have Samuel follow star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald all over the field. The Cardinals also have Boldin and Steve Breaston, so Samuel will have his hands full, regardless.
  • I hear Eagles fans are turning up in droves in Arizona. Given how difficult this game ticket is, I will be incredibly impressed if Eagles fans dent the Arizona presence at the University of Phoenix Stadium. Can't wait to see all of the Eagles green in Arizona!
  • A most underrated Eagle in the playoffs? It has to be placekicker David Akers, who has been perfect. Isn't it nice to take the kicker for granted again? Akers had his troubles on longer field goals last season and earlier this year, but he has been outstanding in the second half of the year. Just terrific. He will need to be great on kickoffs, too, as the Cardinals have a dangerous weapon in J.J. Arrington in the return game.
  • What do the Eagles try to establish early in Sunday's game? Do they run the ball if the Cardinals have only seven men in the box, or do they come out and spread the field and throw it? The key statistics: turnovers, third-down conversions and red-zone efficiency. This ain't rocket science.
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