When watching football, it's easy to see the physical part of the game. Players are running, throwing, jumping, dodging, catching and tackling. What cannot be seen though is the mental aspect of the game. What is a player thinking after he has a drop, fumbles the ball, or is intercepted?
Jon Gordon, a best-selling author and motivational speaker, understands that aspect of the game and offered his perspective on the Eagles' mindset during this bye week. Gordon previously spoke with the team during Training Camp, discussing with them the four stages of greatness. According to him, the Eagles are currently in the third stage, the one that presents the most challenges and failures.
"The third stage is the growth stage and that is where you are pruned and face events that looked like you failed," Gordon said. "You look like you've been destroyed, but those events are not meant to destroy you because, again, the pruned bush actually grows more fully.
"Those events are actually meant to help you grow more fully, to become stronger and better through the process if you have the right perspective, if you take on those challenges, if you don't give up. What they're facing now, that's what we talked about."
Gordon has worked with teams across the NFL, NBA and MLB. He understands the pressure on professional athletes, which is why he feels this Eagles team is special. Gordon is impressed with the culture in Philadelphia, the players and the coaches in the organization.
In his opinion, the thing holding the Eagles back right now is cluttered minds. He feels the bye week will do the players a lot of good, giving them mental clarity.
"When are you at your best? When you're not thinking. When you're just playing. When you're just loving what you do. When you're going out there with passion and enthusiasm to just play the game you love and you execute," Gordon said. "That's when you're at your best."
If the Eagles stay the course and weather this storm, Gordon believes they will come out a stronger, more dominant team that has the pieces to really compete. Execution will be key, but if the team sticks to the process, there will be sunnier days ahead.
Also on the Eagles Insider Podcast:
Three-And-Outat the 1:41 mark
Game Timeat the 29:20 mark
Mailing It Inat the 44:00 mark
Each week, Fran Duffy and NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell take an in-depth look at the all-22 tape from the week prior, breaking down what worked, what didn't, and what lies ahead for the Eagles. In this week's episode of the Eagle Eye In The Sky Podcast, the two discussed Philadelphia's 27-16 loss to the Panthers and talked about what the team will need to do to adjust coming into the second half of the season.
First on the agenda was the offense, and the passing game in particular. The Eagles rank 28th in the NFL in net yards per passing attempt this season, but in the team's Week 7 loss in Carolina quarterback Sam Bradford showed signs that he's gaining comfort within the offense, even if the results weren't quite there.
"I thought, studying the tape, that he looked more decisive with his decision-making," Cosell said. "I thought he got the ball out quick, he got it to the right receiver, I thought he did some good things in terms of manipulation of defenders in the pocket, and I thought overall it was his best performance so far. And I think you look to grow with that."
The defense, though, has been outstanding all season long. With linebacker Kiko Alonso possibly making his return in Week 9 after missing each of the team's last five games with a knee injury, Cosell and Duffy discussed what that might mean for the rotation at that position given the emergence of rookie Jordan Hicks.
"We've seen some exotic looks from a front-seven standpoint the past few weeks," said Duffy. "I'm thinking of nickel sub-packages where you have Kiko Alonso maybe flexed out wide over a tight end, but then you also maybe have Mychal Kendricks standing over a tackle as a pass rusher, because we've seen him that way in the past even without that depth at that position."
At the 23:45 mark of the podcast, Duffy was joined by Eagles linebacker Najee Goode, who provided a player's perspective on the cross dog blitz, which involves two linebackers crossing over one another and penetrating the A and/or B gaps.
"That double A-gap pressure is something you want to get right on the center, so if you've got a slower or less mobile quarterback you can get pressure right away," he said. "When you can get up on the center, if a running back has to pick you up then the outside guys can get there."
And from the 27:35 mark until the end of the podcast, Duffy previewed Saturday's huge Temple-Notre Dame matchup at Lincoln Financial Field.
On a new episode of the Journey To The Draft Podcast, Chris McPherson and Fran Duffy talked about the week that was in college football and highlighted six 2016 Draft prospects as part of their Pick Six feature. Here's a closer look at the players McPherson and Duffy examined:
Robby Anderson, WR, Temple
The Temple Owls are 7-0 and are currently ranked #21 in the nation, and on the offensive side of the ball Robby Anderson has had a large hand in that success. The senior wideout has tallied 388 yards on 31 catches with five touchdowns on the year, and last week against East Carolina he hauled in eight balls for 126 yards and a score. Anderson missed all of last season after being ruled academically ineligible.
Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU
A projected first-round pick, Tre'Davious White has an ideal build for the cornerback position (5'11", 192). He's a player who shadows opposing teams' top wideouts on a weekly basis, and the ball rarely is thrown in his direction. As a punt returner, he's run the ball back for touchdowns in each of the past two seasons and has an 11.1 yards/return average.
Charles Tapper, DE, Oklahoma
Charles Tapper is a throwback 3-4 end, serving as more of a run stopper and gap-clogger than anything else. In seven games, the 6'4, 283-pound senior's notched 24 tackles with no sacks. He's considered a mid-round prospect.
Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor
Andrew Billings has been one of the more impactful defensive players in the nation this year, notching 8.0 tackles for loss in just six games so far this year from the nose tackle position. He missed Baylor's last game with an ankle injury and is questionable for the team's upcoming game against Kansas State. Most expect him to be selected in the middle of the first round of this year's draft if he decides to forgo his final year of eligibility.
Mackensie Alexander, CB Clemson
A redshirt sophomore out of Clemson, Alexander is expected to be one of the top prospects in this year's draft if he decides to declare. He was recently named a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award and is a corner who largely shuts down his side of the field. Clemson ranked third among FBS teams in passing yards allowed last year and rank sixth this season.
Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
Expected by some to be the first quarterback selected in a draft that is fairly thin at the position, Paxton Lynch has led Memphis to a 7-0 record so far this season. Standing 6'7" and weighing 245 pounds, he is a more traditional pocket passer but also has the mobility to keep plays alive in the backfield. He has thrown 17 touchdowns to just one interception this year, and since throwing the ball 12 times for just 78 yards in Memphis' season opener Lynch has surpassed 300 yards in each of the team's last six games, 350 yards in five of the six games, and 400 yards on two occasions.