Philadelphia Eagles news and stories from around the web…
“Asante Samuel sat out Eagles practice Thursday, a bad sign for his availability Sunday. He watched a portion of practice from the sideline but then left.
“His knee’s sore,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said. “He had it checked out and there’s nothing structurally wrong.”
Samuel had participated in some of Wednesday’s practice but had a large bag of ice on his knee after the session. The fact that he had to sit out Thursday was ominous for the Eagles.
Reid, however, would not rule out the Pro Bowl cornerback for the Cowboys game. Samuel suffered a knee sprain against the Giants on Nov. 21. It kept him out of the last two games. He was unavailable for comment Thursday.
If Samuel is out, he would again be replaced as a starter by Joselio Hanson. Rookie Trevard Lindley would come in on nickel packages.”
December 10 Philadelphia Daily News columnist Les Bowen:
“THE EAGLES‘ most important defensive player was going to get healthy. That was what was so great about that 9-day break between games, after the Birds outlasted Houston a week ago last night.
Then Asante Samuel left the NovaCare indoor practice facility after watching a tiny sliver of yesterday’s workout, throwing into doubt his return for Sunday night’s game at Dallas. If Samuel can’t practice today, he is unlikely to play, and that could make a huge difference in a key divisional matchup as the Birds jostle among a crowded playoff field for first place in the NFC East.
“He might try to come out there [today]. We’ll see. If not, we’ve got to pick it up again, try to get this win, because it’s a huge game,” said Joselio Hanson, who has subbed for Samuel at cornerback in the base defense the past two games. Samuel suffered an MCL sprain Nov. 21 against the Giants. “I thought he would [practice yesterday]. Freak injuries, you just never know.”
Hanson said Samuel told him “he was feeling a lot better than last week. [Wednesday] he looked a lot better . . . It’s just all about when he’s ready to go full-go. You don’t want to go out there when you’re not 100 percent and set yourself back another week. He doesn’t want to miss the next three games because he went out there too early.”
Certainly, the Eagles need the NFL’s interception leader full-strength to make any sort of postseason run, but losing to the rejuvenated Cowboys could seriously damage their chance to make the postseason.
“It’s a tough challenge, man. Great team, great players. It’s going to be interesting,” Hanson said.
December 10 Camden Courier-Post:
“The Eagles‘ defense wants to forget more than losing three games to Dallas last season.
Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott also wants forget how the Cowboys bashed the Eagles.
You can’t really blame him.
The relentless pounding by the Cowboys’ running game hurt not only during last year’s games but all offseason, too.
“Well, last year was last year,” McDermott said Thursday before practice for Sunday night’s game in Dallas. “We’ve learned from last year and probably over half of this defense wasn’t even here last year. To go back on last year really doesn’t do us any good, other than to learn schemewise what we can do better.”
The Eagles must do better.
In the last two meetings against Dallas last season — both in January, six days apart — the Eagles were gashed for 377 rushing yards.
In the regular-season finale Jan. 3, the Cowboys rushed 32 times for 179 yards. Then, in the Jan. 9 Wild Card playoff game, Dallas rushed 35 times for 198 yards.
They were the two highest rushing totals allowed by the Eagles‘ defense.
December 10 Camden Courier-Post:
“When DeSean Jackson runs onto the field Sunday night at Cowboys Stadium, the Eagles wide receiver will undoubtedly see the huge blue star in the middle of the field.
What Jackson won’t see is a red bull’s-eye on his back, but it’s there — or it at least seemed like Dallas slapped a target on him last season.
The Cowboys’ defense didn’t just limit the explosive Jackson to a few big plays last year, it kept the Pro Bowl player from making any big plays in two regular-season games and a playoff matchup.
And without Jackson making plays, the Eagles lost all three games.
The super-confident Jackson doesn’t feel Dallas has his number, though.
“That was last year; I am focusing on this year,” he said before Thursday’s practice. “Whatever they did last year, I give them credit — they did a good job.”
In last year’s two regular-season games against Dallas, Jackson made a combined four catches for 65 yards and no touchdowns.
In the other 14 regular-season games, he amassed 58 catches for 1,091 yards and nine touchdowns.”
December 10 Philadelphia Inquirer:
“”I don’t know what a tweet is,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said, “but that was a bad tweet.”
Indeed, DeSean Jackson’s trash-talking entry on Twitter, in which he proclaimed that the Eagles would “sting they ass” before last season’s playoff game at Dallas, stung only the brash receiver and his team.
The Eagles were swarmed by the Cowboys, 34-14, six days after the same team had shut them out. And Jackson was held to a humbling three catches for 14 yards.
Jackson’s tweet (DeSeanJackson10) and some of the bulletin-board material he provided the week before ultimately had little to do with the loss. The better team won. But with the Eagles scheduled to finally play Dallas again this Sunday night, Jackson was asked if the trash-talking and the fallout from it taught the budding star anything about the power of his words.
“It’s a new day, it’s a new life, and that’s gone, so you learn from what you do and things like that,” he said. “But I’m not going to make a big issue out of the Cowboys and myself. We’ve got to play them. They’re on our schedule next.”
If the Cowboys were looking for motivation from Jackson, they didn’t get any from him on Thursday. Perhaps another Eagles employee can film himself spitting on the Dallas star.
December 10 Philadelphia Daily News:
Eagles had matching up with the Cowboys while getting outscored 58-14 in their final two games last season, one of the biggest, literally and figuratively, was Jay Ratliff.
The Cowboys’ 6-4, 303-pound nose tackle helped shut down the Eagles‘ running game and keep Donovan McNabb unsettled in the pocket. He symbolized Dallas’ superiority in the trenches. Ratliff, who was selected for his second Pro Bowl, would have been a tough matchup even for regular Eagles center Jamaal Jackson, but Jackson tore his ACL against Denver, right before the back-to-back with the Cowboys. Guard Nick Cole was the Birds’ center, thrust into a really unfortunate situation.
“We had some problems there. Not with Nick. Nick played pretty well, but we were just off a little bit,” Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said yesterday. “Crowd noise, basically a dome, we were just off a little bit. So hopefully we can do a little bit better that way.”
Current Eagles center Mike McGlynn has never faced Ratliff, who certainly has Mornhinweg’s respect.
“Ratliff is a special player. They’ve got several – you can keep going,” Mornhinweg said. “But Ratliff chews people up. He’s a special player.”
McGlynn was asked if he feared getting “chewed.”
“I’ll let you know on Sunday, after the game,” McGlynn said. “He’s a good player. He does some things you’ve got to be ready for . . . we’ll see what happens.”
December 10 Philadelphia Daily News columnist Paul Domowitch:
“ANDY REID spent seven seasons in Green Bay freezing his ample butt off and learning the West Coast offense from one of its master practitioners, Mike Holmgren.
The screen pass was a staple of Holmgren’s offense in Green Bay, and when Big Red struck out on his own in 1999, he brought along both his ex-boss’ offense and his fondness for the screen to Philadelphia.
Found the perfect screen receiver 3 years after he arrived here when he drafted versatile Brian Westbrook in the third round of the 2002 draft.
Found another one last year when he used a second-round pick on Pitt’s LeSean McCoy.
Twelve games into his second pro season, the 5-10, 205-pound McCoy leads all NFL running backs in receptions (67) and receiving yards (534). A good many of those catches and yards have come on screens.
McCoy had a team-high eight catches for 86 yards in the Eagles‘ 34-24 win over Houston last week. Three of those catches and 65 of those yards came on screens.
Took a screen from Michael Vick on the third play of the game and turned it into a 16-yard gain as the Eagles drove 88 yards for a touchdown.
Picked up 9 yards on a screen early in the fourth quarter that set up a 2-yard score by Vick. Then, on the second play of the Eagles‘ next possession, he used blocks by left guard Todd Herremans and fullback Owen Schmitt on yet another screen pass to gain 40 yards and set up the Eagles‘ final, game-clinching touchdown.
“LeSean’s done a great job in the screen game,” tight end Brent Celek said. “Any time he’s one-on-one in the open field, he’s making people miss. And we’ve got an athletic offensive line that can get down the field fast and get people off their feet.”
PhillySportsCentral.com – Philadelphia sports news, rumors, blogs, & message board discussion forums