September 9 Philadelphia Inquirer
“Andy Reid opened training camp saying he was “curious” to see how all the changes to his Eagles team would play out.
He is just days away from getting his first real answers, and they will come against a Green Bay Packers team that finished third in scoring offense and seventh in scoring defense in 2009 and is favored by many to reach the Super Bowl.
“I welcome the challenge,” Reid said Wednesday. “I think our football team welcomes the challenge. We know that they’re a good football team. People are predicting them to go to the Super Bowl, and rightly so.”
With a tumultuous off-season, a grueling training camp, four preseason games, and a final weekend of roster maneuvering behind them, the Eagles on Wednesday held their first full-length practice focused on the regular season and the Packers.
There are certainly easier games the Eagles could open with, given the rest of the teams on their schedule.
“That’s not Philly style, though,” quarterback Kevin Kolb said with a laugh. “We know they’re a great team and I like that. We’re going out and we’re testing ourselves right off the bat.”
With no regular-season games to use as reference, the one word Reid repeated most often throughout his Wednesday news conference was unknown.
Will the Eagles‘ offensive line be able to handle the Packers’ pass rush? How will center Jamaal Jackson hold up through a full four quarters of play? Will the starting offense finish inside the red zone?
How will a reshaped defense handle a team that put up nearly 29 points per game in 2009? And a rising quarterback – Aaron Rodgers – who threw more touchdowns last year than anyone except Drew Brees, Brett Favre, and Peyton Manning?
There will be few available excuses if the Eagles fall short: Every player on their active roster practiced Wednesday and should be ready Sunday, a rarity coming out of training camp.
It will still be another three days of practice and game-planning and waiting, but the purpose of all the grinding that has come since the end of last season is in sight for the young Eagles as Sunday nears.
“I think we’re all excited to get on with it,” Reid said. “It’s unknown territory, but that’s OK. That’s the challenge of it.””
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