Three offensive stars are nursing injuries, and we don't yet know if Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook and DeSean Jackson will play Sunday against the Chiefs. A new impact player, Michael Vick, is ready to make his Eagles debut. The defense has spent the last few days evaluating itself after the tough outing on Sunday, and the special teams are looking to get on track with the little things in Week 3.
And with all of this going on, too many people out there think the Eagles are going to roll against Kansas City, that they are going to cruise their way into the bye week.
Not so fast. It doesn't work that way in the NFL.
To me, Sunday is a great test to see how mature and with how much urgency this team plays. We've seen it in the past when the Eagles have walked right into a trap. We have seen a team that is sluggish through a game with penalties and missed tackles and dropped passes and all of the things you worry about in moments like these.
Hey, the Eagles have their hands full on Sunday. Don't kid yourself. The Chiefs are a scrappy, well-coached team and the players know they are on a short leash. If head coach Todd Haley isn't happy with a player, that young man is in a danger zone. Haley has always shown that he intends to set a hard, disciplined tone in Kansas City. The Chiefs play hard-nosed, aggressive and confident football. They are coming to Philadelphia to win a game, not to serve as a doormat on the Eagles' way to the bye week.
Let's see how the Eagles respond. Again, as we have said over and over again, this football team can't afford to get into a situation where it plays from behind this season. The win-or-the-season-is-over routine is old and tired and not necessary. The Eagles have a bunch of injury questions, which only means that players who don't normally have the chance -- Kevin Kolb, LeSean McCoy, Reggie Brown? -- could find themselves in big-time roles on Sunday.
I want to see a desperate, ticked-off, urgent Eagles team on Sunday. One that is ready to take care of business. One that understands how impactful a loss would be. One that has the attention to detail that the loss to the Saints game did not have. A team that plays with a sense of purpose and a feeling of confidence.
This is not a finished Eagles product. We know that. There are too many injuries and too many new faces and too many shifts in personnel. The Eagles need to win now and then enjoy the down time during the bye week. And to win, the Eagles must rise to an occasion that doesn't happen without the proper preparation and the right kind of focus.
THIS, THAT AND A WHOLE LOT MORE
- Michael Vick made the media tour on Wednesday, beginning with a visit to Eagles Live! and continuing with a group session at his locker and then with FOX's James Brown. Vick was impressive, very much so. He seems genuinely changed and is tremendously excited about Sunday's game and his return to the NFL. Vick said he is the "original Wildcat" quarterback and much of what he did in 2006 was exactly what the Wild Eagle is now: Take the snap in the shotgun and read the defensive ends and run to the open side. What we don't know is the role Vick will play on Sunday and, beyond that, moving forward. Vick came off as mature, humbled and appreciative of the opportunity he has been given here.
- Kevin Curtis was limited in practice on Wednesday and that has to be a concern. The wide receiver just doesn't seem as explosive and loose as he was in the past. Will the Eagles give rookie Jeremy Maclin or veteran Reggie Brown a bump in responsibility should Curtis still be limited as the week goes on? It is something to consider, especially with DeSean Jackson nursing a groin injury. I don't see how the Eagles can keep only four wide receivers active. Figuring that Dimitri Patterson won't play and that only four cornerbacks will be active -- not five, as in previous games -- the Eagles will have room to keep an extra receiver up. They could even make all three quarterbacks active.
- Concerned about Brian Westbrook? Well, it sure is hard not to be, but this ankle injury seems very minor -- only a sprain -- and it sounds like the situation is improving rapidly. Just in case, LeSean McCoy needs to be ready for heavy action, and Eldra Buckley needs to have his game face on.
- Amazing that the Chiefs haven't been in Philadelphia since the awful 1998 season. Kansas City beat the Eagles on September 27 of that season. So long, long ago.
- Look for linebacker Joe Mays to get his first playing time of the season after missing two games because of a shoulder injury.
- The Eagles are inducting Al Wistert and Randall Cunningham into the team's Honor Roll on Sunday. Wistert's No. 70 was retired upon his retirement in 1952 and nobody has worn Cunningham's No. 12 since he left the team. The NFL discourages teams from retiring jersey numbers, so don't expect the Eagles to retire Cunningham's No. 12. And also don't expect anybody to wear it again as long as Jeffrey Lurie owns the team.
- I wonder if Ted Daisher has plans to make some personnel changes on special teams. There have been too many penalties and too many mistakes for him to tolerate. Daisher will get the teams on track. He is an excellent coach with a proven track record.