It's Thursday afternoon and the instant the locker room door at the NovaCare Complex opens, it's all energy. Music pumping. Linebackers dancing in the back left corner. Brisk, excitable energy as the Eagles change coming off the cold, windswept practice field. This has been a week that truly has flown by after the Monday night game, and with full attention on the Colts in Indianapolis on Sunday, there was something different in the air.
"We're pumped. Bringing in guys like Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh, it does a lot," defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said. "We're serious about winning. We have some players banged up on the defensive line, so going out and getting some good players, players who have done it in this league, it makes a difference. We all recognize that."
So, the locker room was electric on Thursday as the Eagles aim to bounce back from their first loss of the season. Joseph arrived earlier in the day, signed his contract and had his first practice and then talked about it being "like a dream come true, for anybody," to join an 8-1 team with so many pieces already in place. He is a massive man who understands the role ahead, the job he has had for the entirety of his 13-year NFL career that has included two Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl.
"I'm here to do whatever they ask me to do and whatever technique they want, I've done it before," he said. "I want to control the middle and get after it against the run and play physical football, give it everything I have. I had the first summer off I've had in a long, long time, not playing football. It was great to have family time, but I stayed in shape and I waited for the right opportunity. I followed the Eagles, of course. They were 8-0, the only team I saw in the league that had balance. I know all about them, having been in the NFC East for so long (he played with the Giants from 2010-13) and then losing to them in the NFC Championship Game (when he played with Minnesota in the 2017 season).
"We all want to get to the top. I'm just here to help. They're doing everything they can do to win and I'm so happy to be a part of it."
His arrival helps in so many ways, same as Suh. They are both professionals, they are both Super Bowl Champions, and their arrivals send an unmistakable message to the locker room: The Eagles are in it to win it.
"I love it, man," said cornerback Darius Slay. "I mean Suh, that's my guy. My guy guy. He was so great to me in Detroit (they were teammates from 2013-14), showing me how to do it and I won't ever forget that. I know he can still play and come in here and help us. He gets after it. LJ (Joseph) I saw him today in practice and I loved what I saw. So, it's a very positive message. We're going for it all and that's the way every team should be. You have an opportunity to win and you go after it."
Look, there are no guarantees here. Executive Vice President/General Manager Howie Roseman is adding the best pieces he can find, always looking to upgrade the roster and hopefully things work out. There is a lot of work to be done, no doubt. Teams are going to continue to play copycat offense – run the ball, run the ball, try to convert on third-and-short situations – until the Eagles stop them.
Nobody is getting ahead of the game here. Indianapolis is the team to beat on Sunday.
Still, there is energy. And it is very positive.
"For sure," cornerback James Bradberry said. "For me, personally, with all the moves we made in the offseason and now during the season, it shows that we are definitely trying to make a push to do some greater things than just make the playoffs, to make an impact. We just added two guys who have played a lot of football, seen a lot of football. I think it's going to be pretty easy for them to pick things up and help us. I'm glad to have them."
Said defensive end Brandon Graham: "I'm being real: We know our issues and it's OK. Right now, Jordan Davis hurt and Marlon hurt and Fletch and (Javon) Hargrave playing so many snaps with Milton (Williams), it's nice to get some experience in there. I know we are going for it, because we have the opportunity. Older guys, but they have some juice in them. It's sometimes good to hear what they have to say about what we're doing coming from the outside. I think everybody feels it. It's kind of like a perfect fit seeing Linval out there today."
The bottom line is this: The Eagles are 8-1. This is a good football team. If Roseman sees there is a chance to make it a better football team, he's going to do what he can to upgrade the roster, without putting a major dent in the future assets, of which the Eagles have plenty. The future is very bright here. The present, well, the present is worth going for.
What was neat to see late on Thursday afternoon was the way the locker room felt it, the vibe of the room. Very positive. Very together. Completely understanding what adding Joseph and Suh meant and the message that those additions send.
"I think they're going to help a lot," Hargrave said. "It's experience. They know what it takes to win a Super Bowl. They just know how to play great football. They've been playing it at the highest level."