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    December 21, 2004

    As Terrell Owens moves one day closer to surgery on his injured right ankle/leg, the Eagles have a game against St. Louis to prepare for and a playoff season to face without T.O.
    Reaction among the players to the news that Owens will be lost through the NFC playoffs was dramatic and the mood was upbeat: The Eagles will move on.

    "We know what T.O. means to the team. He's a great player and we hope he comes back and helps us," said wide receiver Freddie Mitchell, who is expected to start in Owens' absence. "At the same time, we're a team. We have other great players to step up in and fill the void. That's our approach. The games continue. We didn't get to 13-1 because of one player. We've had this situation before and we know how to overcome these kinds of injuries."

    Players like Greg Lewis have to step up
    Head coach Andy Reid has yet to announce his plans for the two remaining regular season games -- at St. Louis on Monday night and home with the Bengals on January 2. He'll want to look at his offense, one would presume, without Owens.

    That means the Eagles may continue to play quarterback Donovan McNabb a bit to develop timing and rhythm with other receivers, specifically second-year man Billy McMullen, who could hae a significant role in the final two games here.

    "That's the approach I would take," said ESPN analyst and former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski. "You want to have a little something going once you get to the playoffs. You don't want to be right there in a playoff situation not having any kind of game experience to fall back on. So I would imagine Andy will play Donovan a little bit on Monday night, just so he can get a few throws out to his new group of receivers.

    "I think it's a blow to lose T.O., but the Eagles are still the best team in the NFC. They still have weapons on offense. Brian Westbrook is still there. Andy and his staff are as good as anybody at scheming and coming up with favorable matchups. Not having T.O. makes it more difficult, but the coaching staff will find a way."

    Said wide receiver Greg Lewis: "Obviously T.O. is a big part of our team, but this just means we have other players who need to contribute. You have to be ready in the NFL. They always say you're one play away. The time is now to take the next step. We don't have T.O. around for a while to make plays. It's on us."

    These final regular season games are meaningless as far as the standings go, but they will provide a great testing group for the Eagles and the offense. Mitchell, Lewis, Todd Pinkston and McMullen now must be an even more integral part of the passing game.

    While it's unlikely the Eagles will unveil any new tricks in the next two weeks, they do want to have confidence in the attack heading into the Jan. 15-16 postseason party.

    "That's exactly right," said Jaworski. "You want to have some kind of game experience to put on tape, to show to another team that you've got to account for this formation or this play. Billy McMullen -- I don't know much about him. Teams out there don't know much about him. If he goes in and makes a few plays, all of a sudden a defense has to take notice. That takes some of the focus off of Westbrook and McNabb."

    This is the third straight year the Eagles have had a key member of the offense injured nearing the playoffs. In 2002 it was McNabb who missed the final six games with a broken leg, only to return once the playoff started. He was clearly not the same quarterback as before the injury.

    Last year, Westbrook suffered a torn triceps in the final regular season game and he missed the entire playoff season. The Eagles won one game without him, and then, as McNabb suffered a rib injury in the first half, lost the NFC Championship Game to Carolina.

    "Injuries are part of the game. That's a fact," said Jaworski. "You have to overcome them. The Eagles have been through this. They know how to react. Andy won't flinch. He'll continue to have them ready to play."

Related Topics


  • txramsfan
    Philadelphia no shoo in
    by txramsfan

    An ominous omen for a season with all the potential to fulfill promises, or an excuse for frantic Eagles fans to fret?

    Whether or not the sore right shoulder of Donovan McNabb proves to be a serious injury, the Eagles are hopeful McNabb can carry their offense in 2004. And after three consecutive failed attempts to journey beyond the NFC title game, the Eagles know any trip to Jacksonville is contingent on McNabb’s health.

    Andy Reid says he’s not worried. Even after a pair of organized team activities in which Jeff Blake was the team’s No. 1 quarterback (No. 2 QB Koy Detmer recently underwent knee surgery), Reid believes nothing that happens in June can hinder the team in January. Always spinning positives, Reid told the media the injuries to the top two quarterbacks allowed them to get Blake the prescribed number of reps.

    Sure, there is a lot of white space on the calendar between today and July 30, when veterans report to Eagles training camp, and we’re a full three months clear of the Eagles-Giants season opener. But the pressure of three failed bids to win the NFC title continues to build. If the Eagles’ window of opportunity is to remain open, Philadelphia has to show its fans the promised land.

    The Eagles have broken from their usual financial strategy of spending only on their own emerging, under-30 stars in the offseason. The additions of impact free-agent talent that includes DE Jevon Kearse and WR Terrell Owens cost the Eagles $26.3 million up front, two players who haven’t played a full season in either of their last two. But their impact could be profound, and it must be for the Eagles to realize their Super Bowl dreams in Jacksonville. Owens’ presence should benefit the offense twofold. Obviously, he gives the Eagles a much-needed No. 1 target. With Todd Pinkston and James Thrash serving as McNabb’s top options in years past, Owens is a major upgrade. With Champ Bailey out of the division, McNabb should never enter a Tuesday film session fretting over a divisional matchup with Bailey. The best corner in the division is probably second-year Cowboys LCB Terence Newman unless Will Peterson comes back at 100 percent for the Giants.

    Without the aid of an elite cornerback, every division foe should be expected to provide help in the form of a free safety or extra defensive back. Banking on steady double-teams on Owens is a major reason the Eagles are so amped about their running game. With a tremendous line of run blockers, expect breakout seasons from Correll Buckhalter and Brian Westbrook. Buckhalter has the build of an every-down back without being considered an upper-echelon runner. Reid and offensive coordinator Brad Childress plan to continue a rotation at the position, using scatback Westbrook as a change-of-pace back and do-it-all type. Reno Mahe...
    -06-18-2004, 07:52 AM
  • DJRamFan
    [Eagles] A Grief Interlude
    by DJRamFan
    By Shannon Ryan

    Inquirer Staff Writer

    Like the rest of the city, Terrell Owens' teammates know he was brought to Philadelphia to help the Eagles reach the Super Bowl.

    Now it looks as if they are going to have to do it without him.

    Owens likely will miss the rest of the season, with only a sliver of hope of returning from an ankle sprain, joint damage, and a leg fracture in time for the Super Bowl - that is, if the Eagles can make it that far without their star wide receiver.

    His teammates said they were disappointed but determined, and knew they would have to pick up the slack.

    "I feel for Terrell," quarterback Donovan McNabb said in a statement. "He's worked hard. We've all worked hard to try and bring a championship to Philadelphia. I know he will do everything he possibly can to get better and be a part of what we want to accomplish."

    "In any event, we have to move forward," McNabb said. "We have a number of weapons on offense and we all just need to go out and make plays."

    Linebacker Ike Reese said the Eagles would look to "do it collectively."

    "We can't hang our heads," Reese said. "There will be some guys, some young receivers, who will have to step up."

    Everything can't be put on McNabb's shoulders, Reese added.

    Owens will undergo surgery tomorrow. He was in Baltimore seeing an ankle specialist yesterday for testing, which revealed the extent of his injuries.

    Afterward, Owens talked on the phone to many teammates, including wide receivers Freddie Mitchell and Todd Pinkston, free safety Brian Dawkins, and McNabb.

    "I just wanted to let those guys know that I'm behind them," Owens said yesterday afternoon. "I'm going to be their biggest cheerleader."

    Since arriving in Philadelphia this year, Owens has been an offensive spark, deemed the missing ingredient for a team that has lost the last three NFC championship games.

    Reese said he was looking forward to seeing Owens perform on the big stage of the playoffs, for which the Eagles have secured the home-field advantage and a first-round bye.

    "I knew in the postseason he would go to another level," Reese said. "I know he was brought here to bring our playing in the postseason to another level."

    The Eagles have dealt with end-of-season injuries to key players in the past.

    Last year, it was running back Brian Westbrook.

    If there is a bright spot, offensive tackle Tra Thomas said, it is that the Eagles have been through this drill before.

    "We just have to keep working," he said. "Everyone has to step up when a key person goes down."

    More than being worried...
    -12-21-2004, 10:33 AM
  • RamWraith
    Playoff drama is missing this time
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas

    It's the third weekend of December, with playoff races heating up all over the NFL, and here the Rams sit with the same record as Philadelphia. Most Rams fans - even most Rams players - gladly would have taken that position if offered back in August or September.

    "Right, right, right," linebacker Trev Faulk said. "It definitely would've sounded good."

    The Eagles, after all, have been the gold standard of the NFC in recent years, with four straight appearances in the conference title game, plus a trip to the Super Bowl in February.

    Unfortunately, equal footing with the Eagles doesn't count for much these days. Like the once-proud Eagles, the once-proud Rams are saddled with a 5-8 record. In five of the past six seasons, either the Eagles and/or the Rams have played in the NFC title game.

    That won't be the case this season; both teams were eliminated from playoff contention with losses last week.

    "Anything can happen in this league," wide receiver Torry Holt said. "I would've thought the Eagles' record would've been a lot better than it is, with everything that they had coming back. But in the National Football League, nothing is guaranteed."

    The same could be said for the Rams. Defensive end Leonard Little thought this was the most talented Rams team he has been part of in a while. But like the Eagles, the Rams were hampered by injuries and controversy.

    Philadelphia has 12 players on injured reserve; the Rams have seven. The Eagles are down to their No. 2 quarterback; the Rams are working with No. 3. In terms of controversy, Philadelphia had Terrell Owens; the Rams had Mike Martz's illness and a season full of palace intrigue and front-office feuding.

    "There's a lot of similarities," Holt said.

    "I think it's been a crazy season for both sides," safety Mike Furrey said. "They've got one guy (Owens) doing stuff. We've got a bunch of stuff going on here. But it's one of those things where every week, you've got to put it behind you, and go out and do your thing. ... And just keep plugging."

    What else can they do? Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome, the Rams and Eagles meet for the fifth time in five seasons. There's nothing at stake this time but pride.

    "Yeah, it's a little different feel," center Andy McCollum said. "Because normally, we're fighting with them for a playoff spot and maybe home-field advantage, or something like that. Or we meet 'em in the playoffs. But we've both been struggling this year - both teams."

    If the Eagles lose Sunday, they will be assured of their first losing season since 1999, Andy Reid's first year as Philadelphia head coach. After a 4-2 start, they have dropped six of their...
    -12-18-2005, 05:58 AM
  • RamWraith
    Rams, Eagles Mirror Images
    by RamWraith
    Friday, December 16, 2005

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    When the NFL schedule was released before the season, Sunday’s game between the Rams and Eagles was probably circled on most calendars as a potential playoff-altering contest.

    In fact, even the Fox network had the game pegged as an important late season matchup with playoff implications. If anyone had told St. Louis before the year that it would have the same record as defending NFC champion Philadelphia at this point in the season, it probably would have been more than happy with where it stood.

    “Anything can happen in this league,” receiver Torry Holt said. “I wouldn’t say I would take it, but I would have thought the Eagles’ record would have been a lot better than what it is with everything they had coming back. In the NFL, nothing is guaranteed.”

    While nobody expected either team to be 5-8 and mathematically eliminated from the playoffs at this point in the year, the similarities between the teams are almost eerie.

    When Sunday’s game kicks off at noon, both teams will be in the odd position of playing for something less tangible than a playoff spot. Instead, this matchup will award a sense of pride for the winner and a better draft position for the loser.

    Not exactly what either team had in mind.

    “It’s a different feeling around here,” center Andy McCollum said. “Even in the past when we didn’t make the playoffs at this point in time we were still fighting and we still had a chance to get in. It’s a different feel, but I have been there before way back. It’s not where we want to be, but you have to be able to make the best of it. You keep trying to get better, you keep trying to win and our goal is to finish 8-8 because that’s the highest we can do.”

    Likewise, the Eagles would also like to run off three straight wins to finish at .500 and grab some momentum to carry into the next season. The surprising fall from grace for a pair of teams that were among the final eight left in the playoffs a year ago can be attributed to a number of factors.

    Both teams have been victims of injury upon injury. The Eagles have lost starting quarterback Donovan McNabb, running back Brian Westbrook, cornerback Lito Sheppard and left tackle Tra Thomas, among others.

    The Rams have taken their hits, too, losing starting cornerbacks Jerametrius Butler and Travis Fisher, quarterback Marc Bulger and linebacker Dexter Coakley, among others.

    “Because of that we are kind of a mirror of each other,” defensive lineman Tyoka Jackson said. “Neither one of us has our quarterback in, neither one of us have our starting back field in completely, they are missing their Pro Bowl cornerback, their starting tailback is not there, their center and left tackle aren’t there so they are playing a bunch of guys who will get ….just like we are. That’s...
    -12-17-2005, 04:56 PM
  • RamsFan4ever
    McNabb done for the year with ACL tear
    by RamsFan4ever
    PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb will miss the rest of the year because of a torn ligament in his right knee, ending his season early for the third time in five years.

    McNabb was carted off the field early in the second quarter of Philadelphia's 24-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

    The Eagles said McNabb tore his ACL.

    "That's normally an eight month to a year injury, so he's done for the year," Eagles coach Andy Reid said.

    McNabb was rolling to his right near the Tennessee sideline and tumbled out of bounds after throwing an incomplete pass. He grabbed his leg and was immediately tended to by trainers. He was replaced in the lineup by Jeff Garcia.

    McNabb, a five-time Pro Bowler, came into the game tied with Peyton Manning for the league lead with 18 touchdown passes and was second in the league with 2,569 yards passing.

    McNabb had surgery for a sports hernia and missed the final seven games last season when the Eagles finished 6-10 a year after going to the Super Bowl. McNabb also sat out the final six regular-season games of the 2002 season with a broken ankle before returning for the playoffs.

    The Eagles were 2-5 with Mike McMahon filling in for McNabb last year and went 5-1 with Koy Detmer and A.J. Feeley starting the last six games in '02.

    McNabb was 6-for-13 for 78 yards and threw an interception in the end zone before leaving the game.
    -11-19-2006, 02:52 PM