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Spadaro: What's the vibe in the locker room ahead of 49ers rematch?

Kevin Byard
Kevin Byard

We've got another home game on Sunday with the San Franciso 49ers coming to Lincoln Financial Field and the Eagles are ready to meet, once again, one of the best teams in the NFL. The Niners have won three straight games, are 8-3 overall, and are competing with Philadelphia (10-1) and Dallas (9-3) for the best record in the NFC.

This is a nationally televised game (4:25 PM, FOX) and it has major implications.

What is the locker room like? Honestly, it's the same as it is every other week. The Eagles are gearing up for Sunday ...

WR A.J. Brown: Offense must be ready to play its best game

How do the Eagles attack a San Francisco defense that has allowed only 15 points per game this season? That's a big question for Sunday and wide receiver A.J. Brown believes that the 49ers are as good as their numbers.

"They're extremely good. Their whole defense is really good," Brown said. "We have our work cut out. We have to come prepared and play our best. We cannot continue to, honestly, play like we've been playing, up and down, because we've kind of been getting bailed out."

For Brown, yes, this is "just another game." And he means it.

"For me, honestly, it's the next game on the schedule. That's all I can focus on," Brown said. "I think the fans and the media, that's their job, to hype the game up. Some of the players have been hyping it up, too (smiles). For me, it's another game. I'm blessed to play this game and get another opportunity and that's the only thing I can focus on, to do my job at the highest level. It has to be another game.

"It's going to be another emotion on the field, so you don't want to get riled up too much before the game."

S Kevin Byard: 'It's going to be about who executes'

Week by week, it has been "the biggest game" for the Eagles on the 2023 schedule and so Sunday's game against San Francisco is no different, and safety Kevin Byard knows that whichever team stops the run, limits big plays, and does all the little things right is the team that is going to win this matchup.

"It isn't any different, really. We know what kind of team we're playing," he said. "Very talented, great offensive approach. They go after your weaknesses and they make it tough for you. We have to be at our best. We have to execute our game plan and let the chips fall where they may."

Byard says what everyone says: The Eagles haven't "played our best ball, but we've found ways to win. It's great we've been able to do it, but we want to be able to play a more complete game, for sure."

Byard is in the thick of what the Eagles are doing defensively and it's an involved approach against such a multiweapon offense. It's a showdown of two of the top teams in the league, so it should be that way.

"Every week, you have to prepare with the same urgency and attention to detail," Byard said. "This is the NFL. You make a mistake and you're going to pay for it. We have our plan and they will have their plan and we will see what happens on Sunday."

LB Nicholas Morrow: 49ers have 'elite' talent on offense and more

He has spent the entire week watching film of the 49ers' offense and what else can linebacker Nicholas Morrow think? He's impressed by what the Niners do and who they are.

"Dynamic offense. They've got at least three guys that I think are elite and they've got some guys that are great, too, so you have to be careful with your eyes. You have to have good eye discipline because they can put whoever in the backfield and they can still run the ball and pass the ball," Morrow said. "They're looking for certain matchups, so you have to be keen for those matchups. From there, you have to put your cleats on the ground and play."

Morrow named left tackle Trent Williams, tight end George Kittle, and running back Christian McCaffrey as "elite" and then named quarterback Brock Purdy and wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk as impact players as well.

"They've got a lot of guys you have to be aware of," Morrow said.

Morrow played 87 snaps against Buffalo. The linebacker room is thin with available bodies. There are challenges to overcome here.

"That's part of the NFL," he said. "We'll be ready to play, all of us. Our guys have been here and they've been asking questions and they know what is going on.

"As for how I feel, I feel great. Body is great. I do everything I can to recover, to get my body right. Once that ball is kicked off, I'll be ready to go."

LB Ben VanSumeren: Ready to take his next NFL step

He made the practice squad as an undrafted rookie free agent after transitioning from fullback to linebacker in college. In the final preseason game against the Colts, Ben VanSumeren had 17 total tackles. He is an outstanding athlete still finding his way at linebacker at this level.

And, oh, he was signed to the 53-man roster prior to this Sunday's game after moving up from the practice squad for three games, a very big deal in a young player's life.

"They believe in me and that's a great feeling, so I'm ready to go," he said. "I take things day by day, play by play. I don't let the moment get too big for me or anything like that. Ever since I got here, I've just loved it. I love playing football and I love being here. I don't get too far ahead of myself. I'm here to do my job and playing these last three weeks (on special teams) was great for me.

"We practice hard and so playing in the games hasn't been that huge of a jump."

VanSumeren's dream as a young boy and through his high school career was to be in the NFL and, he's being real here, to be a star in the NFL. Not until he slowed down and lived in the moment did things really advance.

"Now that I'm here in the NFL, I've got aspirations of doing more than just being here," he said. "I'm going to continue to just stay where my feet are. San Francisco is a very good team. It's going to be a great, great battle when we get to kickoff."

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