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Quick Turnaround Extra Tough On Rookies

For even the most seasoned veteran, playing a football game on three day's rest is no small order. After all, a normal week offers two days rest before the first practice, let alone another game. But for a rookie, it's an entirely different story.

This week in college football is dubbed as "Championship Week", as the nation's top teams vie for conference supremacy and align themselves for the postseason bowl games. After Saturday, only a handful of college football games remain on the schedule – while most collegiate athletes are finished for the season.

But for the 12 rookies on the Eagles active roster, their season is just beginning. With five games remaining, and everything left to be decided, the home stretch starts Thursday against a Texans team that's dangerous on both sides of the football.

With a short week, and fighting the proverbial "rookie wall", Eagles first round pick Brandon Graham says any aches and pains will be gone come game time.

"I think once we get to the game, we'll feel a lot better," Graham said Tuesday. "Right now, we're all pretty sore but we're still going out there and working hard. Everybody's not really worried about how sore we are because once the game comes, our momentum and our enthusiasm will take over."

Like most all rookies in the NFL, Graham has never played a football game on such short rest; not in college, high school or pop warner. So this week he sought the advice of former running back and current Eagles coach Duce Staley.

Staley's advice? "Ice, massage and rest. That's what you do."

For rookie receiver Chad Hall, his preparation is even more vital with the injury to Riley Cooper. After injuring his knee against Chicago, Cooper hasn't practiced yet this week and is very questionable for Thursday night. But unlike Week 5 when Hall was preparing to possibly play in his first NFL game, he now knows what it takes to be ready on game day.

"It's a lot easier," Hall said. "I've been there and I've gotten the experience. I prepare each week so if something happens and they call my number I'm ready to go. So if Riley (Cooper) can't get ready by Thursday, I'll be ready just like every other week."

Just like Graham, Hall has never played a football game on such short rest. He expects it to be a challenge physically, but nothing the team can't handle from a mental aspect.

"I think it's tougher physically," Hall said. "Mentally, we're all big boys, we can't do anything about (last week's game). It's over, it's done with. And we can't let it beat us twice. So we're not going to do that, and we're ready mentally. It's just physically getting your body ready."

-- Posted by Josh Goldman, 8:01 p.m., November 30

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