Dec 012010
Eagles TE Clay Harbor

Eagles TE Clay Harbor

December 1:

Philadelphia Eagles news and stories from around the web…

Samuel practices but is questionable for game vs. Texans

December 1 Philadelphia Inquirer:

“The news Tuesday on Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel was mixed. The Pro Bowler was back at practice but was limited in the last full session before Thursday night’s game against the Houston Texans.

“I don’t know” if Samuel will play, defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said after practice. “We’ll see. He was out there a little bit today and it’s a day-to-day thing.”

He added: “He looked a lot better than yesterday, and we’ll welcome him back when he’s ready.”

Samuel, recovering from a sprained left knee, didn’t say much after practice. “Working hard to get better every day,” he said.

The Eagles missed Samuel on Sunday, when they allowed four passing touchdowns to Jay Cutler.

Defensive end Juqua Parker (hip) sat out practice again. He hasn’t practiced since the win over the Giants on Nov. 21. Wide receiver Riley Cooper (knee) sat out for the second straight day.”

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Asante’s absence hits Eagles hard

December 1 Philadelphia Daily News columnist John Smallwood:

“HERE’S SOMETHING you probably didn’t think would be a problem with cornerback Asante Samuel out of the lineup for the Eagles.

“Missed tackles,” were what Eagles cornerback Dimitri Patterson called the biggest deficiency in the 31-26 loss in Chicago on Sunday. “That’s what stands out all about Sunday.

“We had our hands on guys and just didn’t come up with the tackles. That’s something we can control.”

OK, it’s a stretch to say that the presence of Asante “They don’t pay me to tackle” Samuel would have made a difference as Bears running backs and receivers were passing through Eagles defenders like turnstiles.

But what happened to the defense does illustrate the shortsighted view of those who want to discount Samuel – who missed the game with a knee sprain – as a difference-maker on the field.

Next to defensive end Trent Cole, Samuel is the guy on the Eagles‘ defense with whom the opposition is most concerned.

When he’s on the field, the opposing quarterback, wide receiver and offensive coordinator are thinking about him.

Samuel, who leads the NFL with seven interceptions, can turn a game around on a single play.

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Reid was right to call out Jackson

December 1 Philadelphia Inquirer columnist John Gonzalez:

“Young and talented football teams are a little like puppies. When they do the right thing and listen to your commands, you pat them on the head and smother them with affection. Other times, when they make a mess in full view of your friends, you stop petting them, roll up the newspaper, and give them a good whack for disciplinary reasons.

And so continues the education of a young and talented football team through the reported scolding of a young and talented pup named DeSean Jackson. Depending on which account you believe, Jackson was singled out by Andy Reid after the loss to the Bears for failing to properly prepare during warm-ups. Or maybe Jackson was singled out by Reid for texting and not paying attention during the coach’s post-defeat, closed-door, team-only tirade. Or maybe both. Or maybe neither, and this was all a big misunderstanding. The truth is in there somewhere.

Here’s some more truth: It doesn’t matter what triggered Reid’s ire. It doesn’t even matter whether his actions were genuine or manufactured. What matters is that Reid did the right thing. By losing his temper, he sent a much-needed message, and his team received it.

The Birds began the season with the fifth-youngest opening-day roster in the NFL. After they beat the Giants to momentarily claim sole possession of first place in the NFC East, every pundit from Boston to Bakersfield tried to be the first person to put “Eagles” and “Super Bowl contenders” in the same sentence.

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Jackson: Relationship with Reid is fine

December 1 Philadelphia Inquirer: 

DeSean Jackson said Tuesday that everything was fine between himself and Andy Reid as the star receiver and Eagles head coach attempted to stamp out any lingering concerns about their reported dustup after Sunday’s game.

“Yeah, we’re good,” Jackson said when asked about his relationship with Reid. He declined to discuss any words the two exchanged after the game or in the days since. “I’m here to play football, have fun, go out there and win football games. That’s my job and that’s what I’m here to do.”

Reid reportedly dressed down Jackson as he ripped into his team after Sunday’s 31-26 loss in Chicago, but the two met Monday afternoon to smooth things out. Until Tuesday, Jackson had not spoken to reporters since the Bears game.

“I’m not here to talk about any of that,” Jackson said when asked what happened with Reid. “What we talked about in the locker room is between the team.”

Reid effusively praised his wide receiver, despite Jackson’s down day on Sunday.

“DeSean is one of the elite wide receivers in the National Football League. He’s a tremendous football player who loves to play the game,” Reid said, building back his public support of the playmaker. “I love that he loves the ball. . . . He wants it, and he wants it now, and he wants it in crunch time. There are a lot of guys that would climb under this table in crunch time. He wants the ball. I like that; it’s a beautiful thing.”

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Eagles need Jackson as a deep threat

December 1 Camden Courier-Post:

“Wide receiver DeSean Jackson on Tuesday told reporters that he and Andy Reid are fine despite the head coach’s post-game blowup Sunday and that his only concern is getting the Eagles back into the win column.

Jackson and Reid reportedly met Monday to hash out differences that might have contributed to the coach’s locker-room tirade after Sunday’s 31-26 loss to the Bears, but the Pro Bowl wideout stutter-stepped around direct inquiries about the incident.

“I’m not here to talk about any of that,” he said. “What we talk about in the locker room is between the team.”

Asked whether his contract status or production decline since the Nov. 11 rout of the Redskins had any bearing on his demeanor before, during or after the Bears game, Jackson dismissed all conspiracy theories and said he “couldn’t care less” about the media firestorm that ensued.

“People could say what they want, talk about what they want,” he said. “I’m here to play football and go out there and win football games.”

More central to the Eagles‘ concern is getting their top playmaker back to being on the NFL’s premier deep threats in a short time before Thursday night’s showdown against the Texans at Lincoln Financial Field.

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Eagles rookie Harbor is all coached-up now

December 1 Philadelphia Daily News

“After seeing action in the season opener, Clay Harbor took a seat. He remained stuck to it for the next seven games.

Harbor showed good hands and sharp moves in training camp, but one regular-season look was all the Eagles needed to promote veteran Garrett Mills from the practice squad for the second week. Harbor, the fourth-round rookie tight end from Missouri State, then was inactive for 2 months before getting back on the field last month at Washington.

Harbor was not surprised the Birds made him the NFL equivalent of a redshirt, he said yesterday, 2 days after catching a pair of passes against the Bears, for 27 yards.

“I had some butterflies, I was thinking on my way to the line a little bit,” Harbor said. “When you get to play, you’ve got to recognize the defense and know exactly what you’re doing. Now I’ve got that down. I know what I’m doing; I’m confident in it. You can hear the play, look at the defense, and figure out which gap. When I was playing the first week of the season and in the preseason, I’d get the play, I’d be thinking about, ‘What I got? What I got?’ I’d get to the line and finally know what I got, then you look at the defense, and be playing hesitant. You’ve just got to ‘Process it! Process it!’ Now it’s coming a lot quicker for me, and it allows me to play a lot faster.”

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Short week before Texans is especially unkind to Eagles defense

December 1 Philadelphia Daily News

“On its face, it seems inhumane, asking an NFL team to come back from a Sunday evening road game in a cold-weather city like Chicago to play again 96 hours later in Week 13 of the cruelest season in sports.

That’s the physical aspect. The mental preparation is manageable for an offense this deep into a season.

But for a defense, preparing for a nonconference foe in this time frame is a nearly impossible task.

“Thank you,” Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said. “You can come into our defensive staff meeting. I’m biased, but how could it not?”

Studying tendencies on film and then preparing players to recognize them on the field is how defenses succeed in the NFL. The Texans might be 1-5 after their 4-1 start, but they are a top-10 offense almost across the board. They boast such weapons as receiver Andre Johnson and running back Arian Foster, the league’s top rusher.

Against such weapons, lengthy preparation works best.

“Defense is a lot of repetition. You have time to study film,” McDermott said. “You have 4, 5, 6 days sometimes to find that awareness – what they want to do out of this formation, out of that formation. There’s a little bit of uneasiness, when you haven’t had an opportunity to go back and look at it all.

“And it’s not what I know. It’s what the guys know.”

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