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Spadaro: The pulse of the locker room? Focus is all on Washington

Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro
Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro

In the context of everything that defensive tackle Fletcher Cox has seen in his 11 Eagles seasons, this is nothing over which to break stride. Yeah, it's nice that the Eagles have won their first two games and, of course, the players and coaches understand that storyline that is Carson Wentz as the starting quarterback for the Washington Commanders on Sunday.

Two things to consider here, no doubt, but given the natural course of the season, not much more than blips.

"It's about us and that is something I say every week," Cox said on Wednesday as the Eagles prepared for their walkthrough practice at the NovaCare Complex. "We have to get ready for a football game on Sunday against a good Washington team that knows us, that is in our division. We know that every time we play them it's a battle. That is our focus."

Said Brandon Graham, also team captain and the longest-tenured pro athlete in the City of Philadelphia: "It's always a hard-fought game because those division games are just different. Whatever you think about the team, it doesn't matter. We're preparing like we always prepare. You have to pay attention to detail in these games. Washington is always physical and it's always crazy there so here we are, let's just take care of our business. Coach is making sure that we stay focused on what got us to this point. You learn to shut it off and get ready for the next one."

Look, the energy at the NovaCare Complex is great. Always is. Nick Sirianni has shown such a strong feel for when to back off the players and allow them to get their legs back and their minds fresh. Monday night's win feels like forever ago – at least in the cycle of an NFL season.

All attention is being paid to Washington and that's the way it has to be. Sirianni had a direct message for his players when he addressed them on Wednesday.

"I think when you focus on – so the compete, the not skipping steps and the attention to detail, I think when you focus on the process of the week and all those things, you don't get affected by the outside noise. Obviously, people are telling us how good we are now. Whether it was last year at this time people are telling us how bad we were, right. When you truly are in the moment of where you are and focusing on what you have to do for that day, people can tell you whatever they want. Your job today is to do this and not to skip any steps.

"And OK, if we are as competitive as we say we are in this room and as we preach in this room, then I don't care if you're 2-0, 0-2, if you won 24-7 or if you lost 7-to-24, you're going to come out and want to take the guy your playing's heart away this next game. I don't care if you're playing a one-on-one basketball game – rock, paper, scissors – I don't care what it is, you are going to go and try to win that competition. So, when you can stick true to your core values and what's important for a week, all the outside noise and all the waves of the season, we play once a week, so I understand. You guys had a lot of stories to write about before we play again and so we understand what it is, but you have to stay true to what you're doing in that particular day, and the core values that we have.

"So, that's what we kind of talked about."

The Wentz story is obviously something that everyone knew was coming and, truly, nobody really cares much about. That's one for the media and for the fans to play up between now and 1 PM on Sunday. Quarterback Jalen Hurts couldn't have been more professional and precise answering multiple questions about his time with Wentz in the 2020 season, saying it was "learning and teachable moment." He praised Wentz for his talents and said the two have "a mutual respect and I wish him nothing but the best."

Story over. Focus is on Sunday.

"It's still early," Hurts said, "and we're still building."

And that's the truth, right there. The goal is always to play the perfect game and the Eagles have not come close to that. This is a team that keeps an even keel, led by a quarterback who shows the same pulse in every circumstance.

One step at a time, every day.

"It feels great that we've won our first two games, but we know it's a long season and we know that once we lose focus, it can all turn around in a hurry," tight end Dallas Goedert said. "We're getting ready for Washington. We aren't listening to anything but what happens in this building. That's the way it always is. That's the way it's always going to be. All I know is that we had a good walkthrough today and we're going to have a good practice tomorrow and I'm excited about that, excited about getting back to work and getting after it."

There you have it. That's the pulse. That is the mood in the locker room. And that's all that matters.

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