Nov 212010
Eagles MLB Stewart Bradley

Eagles MLB Stewart Bradley

November 21:

Philadelphia Eagles news and stories from around the web…

Man in the middle a riddle

November 21 Philadelphia Inquirer:

“There might not be an Eagle more aggravating to interview than Stewart Bradley.

The middle linebacker isn’t interested in providing insight into the Eagles for probably the same reasons Andy Reid refuses to play the media game – fear of saying the wrong thing or of tipping off an opponent.

It’s particularly frustrating with Bradley because he is an otherwise articulate, well-read man with a myriad of interests outside football. Mention James Joyce or I.M. Pei or the latest Arcade Fire album, and he’s likely to become a communicative partner.

Wanna talk football? Forget about it.

And don’t even try to broach the subject of his own play.

Understandably, he’d rather not discuss it, especially considering the criticisms he’s received this season. Looking to Bradley for clues as to why his play has been lacking is like using tackles as a barometer for his production. You don’t get the full story.

“I feel good,” Bradley said. “I’m feeling more comfortable as the season goes on. I’m at a point where I feel really good now.”

Bradley entered the season as the savior of all the defense’s ills from a year ago. There’s no denying that his season-ending knee injury last August muddled the Eagles‘ plans for the middle of their defense.

But based only on an impressive 2008 sophomore season, Bradley was supposed to solidify a unit that was exploited up the middle and by opposing tight ends. In April, as Bradley concluded his rehabilitation from a torn anterior cruciate ligament, he joked that a beam of light wasn’t going todown from the sky once he took the field in the opener.

Instead, the only thing to fall to the turf – well, aside from his three injured teammates – was Bradley, who stumbled to the ground with a concussion. The Eagles sent him back out on the field several plays later – a decision that drew much criticism – but he was eventually pulled and missed the next game and a half.

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High stakes in a big battle

November 21 Philadelphia Inquirer:

“The Eagles are back in prime time, and this week the stakes are even higher.

After using the big stage of Monday Night Football to announce themselves as Super Bowl contenders and make Michael Vick the biggest story in sports, the Eagles play Sunday night in a game that will determine first place in the NFC East.

The Eagles and Giants are 6-3, tied for the division lead, and have not faced off this year. As the final weeks of November tick off the calendar, both have established themselves as members of the NFC’s elite.

And then there are the teams’ proximity and fan animosity that add heat to any Eagles-Giants game.

“When I first got here, I heard that the Cowboys rivalry was the biggest. But now that this game’s here, everybody is saying this game is even bigger,” rookie safety Nate Allen said.

One locker over, his partner in the defensive backfield and a veteran of NFC East scraps, safety Quintin Mikell, says he expects the kind of game that leaves both teams sore for several days.

“When you think about football and what it should be, these are the games I think about,” Mikell said.

Added wide receiver DeSean Jackson: “We love these big games. Sunday nights, Monday nights, the whole world is watching.”

It likely won’t be as easy as it was last week.

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A script that’s perfect for prime time

November 21 Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Phil Sheridan:

“The guiding principle of his revolutionary, aggressive defense was to “find out who the second-string quarterback was,” Buddy Ryan once said.

In those days, Ryan made no bones about trying to break bones. The 46 defense was created to confuse and fluster and pressure quarterbacks. Its architect considered injuring the starting QB a legitimate strategy, a way to win the game.

Things are just a little different now. The NFL has been on a crusade against big hits all season. If a player so much as taps a quarterback’s helmet, as Trent Cole did to Peyton Manning two weeks ago, there’s more yellow on the field than in a Van Gogh landscape.

The league is so polite and dainty now, the commissioner’s office felt the need to “investigate” allegations that Washington players spit on Eagles center Mike McGlynn and taunted DeSean Jackson about knocking him out with another concussion. It was like an episode of CSI: Landover.

In this atmosphere, the New York Giants’ defense has managed to knock five quarterbacks out in the first nine games of this otherwise genteel season. Sunday night, that defense will be lined up across from a man who just delivered one of the most dominating performances by any quarterback in league history. Michael Vick vs. the No. 1 defense, statistically and in sheer nastiness, in prime time?

The guys writing the scripts for Roger Goodell will have a tough time topping this one.

It is tempting to suggest that the Giants won’t play with the same apparent lack of enthusiasm or passion as Washington did Monday night. If you’ve seen the widely circulated video clip of defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth lying facedown, visibly unmotivated to pursue Vick anymore, you know what we’re talking about.

“To you it looked like we played with ease,” Vick said in response to a reporter’s question last week. “But this game is tough. Nothing comes easy. It’s not going to be easy against New York. It wasn’t easy against Washington. It may have looked easy, but it wasn’t.”

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