I have no words. Absolutely none. I can't even begin to describe the gut-wrenching and piss-poor excuse for a performance we the fans were forced to sit through last Sunday afternoon. The poison from this loss has mostly been drained from our collective bloodstreams, but that doesn't excuse anything. The scar still remains. Especially if the rest of the season continues to go as similarly as last year's.
No heart. No passion. No team.
I preached it many times in my early posts. If these guys don't play like they truly want what they say they want (y'know, A SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONSHIP) then their on-field production will suffer. So far, it's been true. The 3-1 start is still debatable as far as which games the Eagles truly earned, and which they made it by the skin of their teeth. However, I at least saw the fight and desire in those 4 games, even in Arizona, that I failed to see in the last 3. Ever since leaving Heinz Field, it has seemed like they have gotten more and more complacent with their situation. Like they're A-OK with coming home losing by a point to the Steelers. Like the overtime loss at home against a currently below-average Lions team was something they wouldn't lose sleep over. They seem fine with no one being a vocal leader that can rally their team together, get their blood pumping and their mouths foaming. Simply put; they looked broken.
Now, I will say this, the whole "Any Given Sunday" speech very rarely happens in football. Quite honestly, all of the Brian Dawkins pre-game antics we were blessed with were the kind of pep talks that very few teams in the NFL ever had. Let's face it, all teams have a defensive or offensive leader that'll say something like "WE GOTTA DOMINATE" or something cliche like that. But Dawkins was someone who could give the team something new week in and week out. If he ever did repeat himself, he made damn sure that each speech wouldn't be forgotten by his teammates. That being said, no one on this roster can ever be what Dawkins was. No future Eagle will EVER be what Dawkins was to this team. Honestly, it's not like these players are thinking to themselves "Gee, I sure wish I could do what DAWKINS did." They're more worried about what they can control. Does that mean they shouldn't friggin' TRY?! Of course not!
The obvious leaders here are Brent Celek, Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson, Jason Avant, Jeremy Maclin, Trent Cole, DeMeco Ryans, and LeSean McCoy. So far, they've been saying what needs to be said to the media. They can't say something too out of line, or it'll come back to bite them. That doesn't mean they can't be more vocal behind closed doors. That's all the fans have wanted!
But allow me to play devil's advocate for a second. We have no idea what happens when the cameras are off and the locker room doors are shut. There's no way any of us can provide any proof that the veterans do or don't say something inspirational to their team, other than hearsay from media reports or maybe the occasional tweet. Andy Reid is known for being one of the quietest coaches in the NFL during press conferences. But from what I've read on their website, he's anything but quiet when he's in the locker room. That comes as no surprise to me, although it might to some other fans. I can see how questioning that could be justified, though, mainly from the fact that we have an incredibly talented team sitting at 3-4. And now it's forever stained Reid's one great accomplishment by putting him at 13-1 for games following a bye week.
He said that everything that happened against Atlanta was "fixable." As far as gameplanning and execution go, I believe him. As far as the unity and motivation of the team goes, however, I'm not so sure. I'm ashamed to admit this, but I left my local sports bar just before halftime last Sunday. I will tell you now, it was NOT because of the scoreboard. It was because of the way those players held themselves after a missed tackle or after watching Atlanta waltz right down the field on their first 3 possessions to take a 21-7 lead. What their physical being said to me was "We are broken." That score wouldn't have meant squat to me if I saw some kind of fire in their eyes. Some way of knowing that my team wasn't going to go down without a fight. But they did. And there was no such flame that day.
We're 3-4. The season, as absurd to some of you as it may be, is still not over yet. My hope and faith are dwindling, but they're still there. If there's any way these guys can find their respective eye of the tiger (forgive the corniness) and realize that their goals are still within their grasp and their destiny is still in their hands, then MAYBE, they can turn this thing around. I don't want to speak too soon, nor do I wish to jinx it, but it sure would be funny (and awesome) if their season rebound came in The Big Easy, the same place Super Bowl XLVII will be held. If they go into New Orleans with the same attitude we've seen the past 3 games, though, and it'll be anything but easy.