As you might expect, it's been a wild week here at the NovaCare Complex. Reporters were aplenty the past few days, and relatively few of them wanted to talk about the upcoming game. It can be difficult, in situations like this, for a team to stay focused on the task at hand.
This week, that task is to travel to steamy Jacksonville and come back with a win. Head coach Andy Reid said he thinks his team has practiced well this week, amidst the increase in media, and is ready for the challenge at hand.
"That's what they do," Reid said Friday. "Players, and this group in particular, they've had three good days of practice. So, they've been aggressively attacking the issue of playing the Jacksonville Jaguars, and that's what's important in situations when there is change that takes place – that you focus in on the things you can control and that you need to work on and exhaust all your energy on Jacksonville."
Guard Nick Cole sat out Friday's practice with some swelling in his knee, adding to the shuffle along the offensive line. In his absence, Reggie Wells took the reps at right guard with the first team offense. Reid did say however that he expects Cole to start Sunday in Jacksonville.
Even with a healthy Nick Cole, the offensive line has some work to do. The Eagles have allowed 12 sacks so far this season, six in each game. But Reid said that with time, this offensive line will start to gel.
"I think we just need to continue to play together," Reid said. ""We need to keep getting the two guys that didn't have the reps during training camp, reps, and I think it will all settle down here.
"And obviously, all those (sacks) weren't the offensive line's responsibility there. So, even though they might take it, but some of those were just overload blitzes that you just don't have enough people to pick up. A lot of times you can spread sacks around to a little bit of everything and everybody."
On the defensive side of the ball, it's all about consistency. The defense has looked phenomenal at times (think final drive vs. Detroit), but has also given up big plays through the air and on the ground. With two rookie starters, an average age of 26 among the starters and five players who started on defense against Green Bay that didn't start in Week 1 of last year, Reid acknowledged that it takes some time for everything to come together.
"I've mentioned this with all the young guys period, it takes a little bit of time to get going," Reid said. "The important thing is that you get better every week. I'd tell you that on the defensive side we just keep getting better every week, and the continuity and aggressive play, energy; all those things come into effect.
"You want to make sure you keep your energy level up as your working through things and this crew does that. I think we've seen that in practice and in the games, they play very hard."
-- Posted by Josh Goldman, 4:05 p.m., September 24