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Root of the matter: Eagles see progress in tough times

Center Jason Kelce
Center Jason Kelce

One of the great things about the NFL is the 24-hour rule and the chance to go at it again the following week. For the Eagles, that means a second straight road trip, this one to Detroit to play the Lions. Nothing has changed in terms of what the Eagles look to accomplish and how they hope to do so – keep grinding, working together, and improving day by day for a young football team.

The grind continues. That's a way of life in The League.

"We're still coming back to work here every single day," center Jason Kelce said on Wednesday from the NovaCare Complex. "Still going in and trying to get better in the film room, on the practice field. I think that's what this is about. Obviously, we're not where we want to be as a team right now. We're not good enough. But all you can do is go back and work. You don't get to take your ball and go home. You can't cash it in or pout or whatever. You've just got to go back to work. That's what the message is. That's what being on a team is about. I know I have a ton of faith in the guys here. I have a ton of faith in all the guys playing next to me on the offensive line.

"We're just going to go out there and try to keep getting better each and every day."

Kelce pointed to the leadership in the locker room and the messaging from the coaching staff as his reasons for optimism and his feeling that the team is sticking together. He has been through this before in his Eagles career – as recently as in 2018 and 2019 when the team turned its season around and reached the playoffs – and knows there are only two options to take in a season that contains so many ups and downs.

And only one of them is palatable.

"You either keep fighting and believing in each other and keep going out there executing and doing your job better or you start pointing the finger and blaming other people. It goes south real quick if you do the other one," he said. "To me, there's only one option to go."

Head Coach Nick Sirianni welcomed the players back to the NovaCare Complex on Wednesday with the message of working together and understanding that, while the results aren't quite there yet in terms of wins, a foundation is being laid and improvement is happening.

"What's going on here is that there's growth under the soil," Sirianni said. "I put a picture of a flower up, and it's coming through the ground, and the roots are growing out. The roots are continuing to grow out. Everybody wants to see results. Shoot, nobody wants to see results more than us, right? We want to see results too. But it's really important that the foundation is being built and that the roots are growing out. And the only way the roots grow out every single day and they grow stronger and they grow better is if we all water, we all fertilize, we all do our part, each individual, each individual coach, each individual player, everybody in the building, that we do our part to water to make sure that, when it does pop out, it really pops out and it grows.

"So that was my message today. Like I said to you guys before, I'm always thinking of different messages to give to the team that are either messages that I think really fit to the situation that I've gotten before in a situation from another head coach or from my dad or whatever. So that was my message today because we are going through tough times, and everybody wants to see results. But just keep doing what we're doing, keep watering, and look at yourself first and know are you watering and are you fertilizing every day? So, when it's time to pop, it will pop."

Kelce pointed to a decrease in penalties the last two weeks and improvement in fundamentals as tangible points of progress. The offense, he said, is getting there. He sees it when he's on the field and when he watches game film. He feels it as the players better understand the schemes and the coaches better understand how to use the players here.

It's a slow process, a transitional process. But Kelce and the Eagles are keeping the faith, even when things are frustrating at times.

"I think we're really starting to find ourselves better offensively with our personnel," Kelce said. "We're starting to make better decisions, fewer mistakes. If the game hadn't gotten out of hand (in Las Vegas) the way it did, we would have had a much better day offensively. I look forward to proving that this week."

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