For a guy like Brent Celek, in his sixth NFL season, the cycle of a season is part of his DNA. He broke in during the crazy 2005 season, went to the playoffs in 2006 and advanced to the NFC Championship in 2008. He played in the postseason in 2009 and won the NFC East in 2010.
Celek knows Philadelphia and the ups and downs here. He understands the intensity from the fans and the framing of the questions from the media.
And he knows how to handle the good times and he knows how to bounce back from the not-so-good game days. And there is no question that the losses linger for Celek long after the final whistle blows.
"I think that's natural. This is your job. This is your livelihood," said Celek. "It's what you live for. You always try to think of how you can make it better, how you can fix things to get us on the right track.
"It's hard to win in this league, just because of the parity. There are great players on every single team. You have to have get yourself ready to play every week."
Celek feels the mental impact of a game -- the wins and the losses -- for a full day after it's over, and then he transitions to the following challenge.
That's the way it is in this locker room. If you thought the Eagles are hanging their heads now, burdened by a four-game losing streak and a 3-5 record, then you don't understand the mindset of an NFL player. The emotions after a game are intense, in every way. A win inspires a 12-hour period of time to relax and unwind and play the game again in the mind. Same with a loss, with just a lot more frustration added in.
But after that, it's on to the ice tubs and the massages and the game film for the next game. Dallas happens to be the opponent on Sunday, so if any Eagles are lingering over the loss in New Orleans, well, it's not the right place to be.
"You learn in the NFL that you have to move on and get ready to play the following week, and that you can only control what you can do," said defensive end Trent Cole. "This is a job. If you aren't doing your job, they're going to find somebody who can.
"We're in here practicing, getting ready for Dallas. We know it's a big game and that we need a win. It's going to take everyone on the team coming together to win this Sunday. Everyone is looking at Dallas and nothing else. It's an urgent situation. Every game we feel that way."
The locker room is a remarkable place. It's truly no different from one Friday to the next. Optimism reigns. The best football players in the world live the moment, feel the spirit, embrace the challenge.
Walk into the Eagles' locker room now and you wouldn't know the team's record. All that matters here is beating Dallas.
"That's right," said Celek. "We have to find a way to beat the Cowboys. That's the only thing that guys are thinking about now. All the other stuff is in the past and we can't change that. We can only make sure to do our best job preparing to beat the Cowboys."
NEWS, NOTES AND A LITTLE BIT OF THIS AND THAT
- Congratulations to former Eagles Tommy Thompson and Maxie Baughan, as well as Lincoln Financial Field public-address announcer Dan Baker, for their induction on Thursday night into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame. It's a wonderful event with a distinguished list of members, and all three are extremely deserving. During a night when great players like Eric Lindros and Mike Piazza were inducted and present, Baker received by far the loudest applause. Good man.
- Still no indication of what the Eagles are thinking offensively, and what they're going to do to slow down the Dallas pass rush. I'm not sure I am feeling a ground-and-pound rushing attack coming, but there certainly needs to be some adjustment with the makeshift offensive line still learning about each other.
- Dallas isn't likely to have running back DeMarco Murray or center Phi Costa, and nose tackle Jay Ratliff is a question mark along with cornerback Mike Jenkins. This is a game between two teams who have lost some key players to injury.
- Interesting self criticism from Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who said the word around the league is that the Eagles "don't want to hit" anybody on defense. The group certainly has not been physical enough the last couple of weeks and the amount of missed tackles and blown assignments is alarming. The players appear to be calling themselves out, collectively and publicly. Let's see if it makes any difference on Sunday.
- If the Eagles do decide to run the football on Sunday, the wide receivers need to be very involved in the blocking game. They need great effort and execution. The Eagles need some big plays in the ground game.
- Would love to see Bryce Brown get some carries in the offense. I think he can LeSean McCoy could be an effective 1-2 punch. Of course, the Cowboys are a very tough defense against which to run.