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November 23 Camden Courier-Post:
“A month ago, the Eagles might have lost a game like Sunday night’s, when running lanes weren’t open, when receivers weren’t catching passes, when quarterback Michael Vick looked more human than superhuman.
But things have changed for the Eagles, and not just at starting quarterback.
The 27-17 win over the Giants wasn’t the smoothest showcase for the offense. It relied too heavily on field goals, and DeSean Jackson and Jason Avant dropped sure touchdown passes that could have made the game a blowout by halftime.
But the positive was that the defense took another step forward. It accounted for three takeaways and stonewalled Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw, the NFC’s second-leading rusher.
On a rare night when Vick and the offense couldn’t carry the team on their backs, the defense did carry the team. You couldn’t have said that about the Eagles‘ defense four weeks ago.
“If the offense isn’t doing well, the defense picks them up on the sideline and in their play, and vice-versa,” coach Andy Reid said Monday. “And listen, like I said, everything isn’t going to be roses. But you have to fight and fight through those barriers there and take a very aggressive approach.”
The defense comes off its most impressive showing this season, allowing a season-low 208 total yards to the Giants, who averaged only 4.0 yards per play. Bradshaw managed only 29 yards and lost a fumble, while quarterback Eli Manning was picked off three times and lost a fumble.
November 23 Philadelphia Daily News columnist John Smallwood:
“NOBODY IN Lincoln Financial Field felt worse than Jason Avant.
The Eagles receiver was standing alone in the end zone when Michael Vick threw a perfect pass to the bread basket.
The only way the Eagles don’t score a touchdown and take a commanding early lead over the New York Giants was if Avant impossibly dropped the ball.
The impossible happened.
But as Avant shook his head in disbelief, Eagles tight end Brent Celek ran up to him and patted him on the shoulder as if to say, “Don’t worry, bro, we’ve got your back.”
From the first day of training camp, Eagles coach Andy Reid talked about his interest in seeing how his young team would grow and establish an identity throughout the upcoming NFL season.
This was going to be an unfamiliar adventure for Reid because for the better part of a decade the Eagles had a firm identity set by a veteran core of players.
Ten games into the season, the Eagles have a surprising 7-3 record and sit on top of the NFC East Division.
They’ve been through a couple of quarterback changes; offensive-line and defensive lapses; injuries to key performers.
November 23 Philadelphia Daily News columnist Les Bowen:
“IT WAS JUST about exactly a month ago that an ESPN reporter speculated Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott could be fired at any moment – speculation the organization quickly spiked.
Yesterday afternoon, McDermott looked pretty secure as he talked to a small group of reporters about the way the 7-3 Birds shut down the Giants’ No. 1-ranked offense Sunday night, allowing just 147 yards passing and 61 yards rushing, while forcing five turnovers.
The Eagles came out of the weekend leading the NFL in takeaways, with 26. Their run defense, which ranked 27th after the Oct. 3 loss to Washington, left the Linc Sunday night ranked eighth. The Giants clearly came into the game thinking they were going to establish the run (running on first and second down their first two possessions, gaining a grand total of 2 yards) and they were thrown off when that didn’t happen.
Two big things on the night the Birds took over first place in the NFC East – Michael Vick fought through some adversity, leading a late comeback for the first time as an Eagle, and McDermott’s defense showed its promise, showed what it seems to be on the verge of becoming. Hard to say which development meant more.
“I don’t get involved in all that,” McDermott said, when reminded of the firing speculation. “That’s the business that we’re in. I know this – I’ve made a living off proving people wrong my whole life. So this is no different situation. You just continue to work hard and good things happen.
November 23 Philadelphia Inquirer:
“Cornerback Ellis Hobbs is out for the season with a neck injury, his agent said Monday, meaning the Eagles will be without their starting kick returner and some veteran depth in the secondary.
The neck injury, Hobbs’ second in two years, raises questions about his future in the NFL. The cornerback is “just thankful to be walking,” his agent Kevin Omell wrote in an e-mail.
“He’s doing fine,” Omell said in an interview. “He’s just going to take the next few days to rest and figure out what his future may be.”
Omell said the sixth-year cornerback will go on the injured reserve.
An MRI Monday revealed a disk injury in Hobbs’ neck, according to head coach Andy Reid, though he did not provide a long-term prognosis.
Hobbs had a herniated disk repaired last year, but Reid said it was a different disk that was damaged Sunday in a head-to-head collision with the Giants’ Dave Tollefson.
With Hobbs out, rookie fourth-round pick Trevard Lindley could dress for games to back up starters Asante Samuel and Dimitri Patterson. Lindley filled in earlier this season when Samuel missed time with a concussion.
Another cornerback, Jorrick Calvin, could get another shot on kickoffs with Hobbs out, but he was inactive Sunday after a fumble and a muff against the Redskins. Calvin has averaged 22.1 yards per return; Hobbs averaged 21.6.
Running back Eldra Buckley filled in on returns Sunday after Hobbs was hurt. Wide receiver Chad Hall returned kicks in the preseason, and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin is a potential return man, as well. The Eagles will also have an open roster spot to fill.
Omell said there has been no decision made on whether Hobbs will need another surgery. Reid said it appeared Hobbs would be OK without surgery, based on the information the Eagles had Monday.
Hobbs, back in his first game since a hip injury sent him to the bench, was hurt on the opening kickoff of the second half and, in a frightening moment, lay on the turf for more than 10 minutes as trainers attended to him. Hobbs was determined to play this year after missing most of last season due to injury and spending time on the bench.”
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