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Spadaro: Locker room eyes strong finish at Giants

Kevin Byard
Kevin Byard

They know the time is now to get back on the winning track with one game remaining before the win-or-go-home playoffs begin. The Eagles play at the Giants on Sunday (4:25 PM, CBS) – the second time in three weeks they will see New York – and the players are excited to get back on the field and return to the plus side of the scoreboard.

We go inside the locker room once again for a feel for what the players are thinking ahead of the regular-season finale.

Dallas Goedert: The mindset is good and we are focused on a win on Sunday

There is the matter of this final game of the regular season against the Giants and the sense that, yes, one win can put the Eagles on the right path when the postseason begins. That's the approach tight end Dallas Goedert is taking.

He believes it 100 percent.

"We want to be playing our best football going into the playoffs. We haven't done that, and that's why Sunday means a lot," he said. "We know they're going to have some adjustments against us, but it's nice being familiar with them and knowing what they might do to try to stop us. I'm taking the positive approach there.

"We're just a spark away. I think everybody in this locker room believes it. We have incredible talent here and if we play a good, physical football game like we can play, it's going to be tough for any team to beat us. We haven't been doing that recently and we need to do that this game, gain some confidence, and hopefully take that into the playoffs and play the best football we can play."

Haason Reddick: As a leader, it's 'about bringing guys along and making sure morale is boosted'

Pro Bowl linebacker Haason Reddick feels the responsibility of being a leader and bringing out the best in his teammates, so as the Eagles prepare for quarterback Tyrod Taylor and a Giants offense they know well, he has in mind an example to set.

"Play hard, get our minds right, and understand that this is where football gets real," he said. "Everything is on the line. It's going to be win or go home and so I'm trying to do my part, being a leader, bring everybody along and trying to get the best out of the guys."

Is the defense in a position to turn things around?

"Of course, I believe that," Reddick said. "At the end of the day, it's the willingness, it's the want-to, and it's putting time on task. It's putting time into your craft and really honing in. That's what we have to do. We have two more definite games – the Giants and the playoffs after that. Everybody understands the importance of what postseason football is and getting back to where we know we can be for as long as our journey is."

Jalen Carter: Need to be more aggressive in the run defense

Rookie defensive tackle Jalen Carter has had an impact season – he is a Pro Bowl alternate – but he knows there is more needed collectively and individually to improve a run defense that has struggled in recent weeks. The answer? Attack, attack, attack.

"We've got be more aggressive," he said. "Get off the ball vertical, impact the running back, and not let him run straight forward. If we can do that, we can stop the run. We have to tackle better, something we've been doing our entire lives. We know how to do it. We've been doing it and now we're at the highest level, so it's a matter of doing what we've been doing all of our lives."

Gaining some Pro Bowl recognition is special for Carter in his first NFL season. He is proud to be an alternate.

"I didn't think that it would happen, but that it happened shows a lot about what people see and what I do on the field and off the field," he said. "It's an awesome accomplishment."

Kevin Byard: Looking for the right meshing on defense

Safety Kevin Byard joined the Eagles just before the NFL's Trade Deadline this season and continues to work his way into the defense, one that, he says, is still trying to come together.

"I think it's just like a marriage of meshing the front, run defense with the back end – just being on the same page and understanding the details of different situations," he said. "For example, if we're playing zone on first and second down, it might be a little different on third down depending on where the sticks are. I think it's just being more detailed in those types of things.

"Obviously, it's always about the fundaments because we can always get better at things like tackling, but I think it's really about being better in the final details of playing within the defense."

Six Eagles were selected for this year's Pro Bowl. A.J. Brown, Lane Johnson, and Jason Kelce will be starters, while Landon Dickerson, Haason Reddick, and D'Andre Swift will be reserves. Check out the best of the Eagles' Pro Bowl players!

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