Eagles Wake-Up Call: Anger And Edge

eagles-cary-williams-hazingChip Kelly offered up this line back in August, and has used some variation of it on multiple occasions since:

“Once you think you’ve arrived in this game, you’re going to get passed on by.”

Opinions vary as to whether that is what happened this past week against Minnesota: if the Eagles allowed the five-game winning streak to dull their focus, particularly as they prepared for a supposedly inferior Vikings team. Cary Williams made it clear where he stands on this debate.

“I’m glad it knocked us off our high horse,” said Williams. “Point proven right there that you have to be prepared, you have to be ready to come out and play each and every week. You can’t come out and not be physical in the beginning and expect a team to just lay down. To a degree we weren’t necessarily the most physical team out there, we weren’t necessarily the most emotional team out there, and I think we to some degree came out flat. So I’m glad that we lost, in the sense that it helped prepare us for this week, understanding that every week is going to be a different test, every team is going to come at us with their best shot.”

Billy Davis made the point prior to the game that the team’s performance would show how they respond to being the favorites, “and we didn’t respond well.” Jason Avant noticed that they just didn’t have the same kind of energy. No player or coach we spoke with suggested that there was any lack of effort leading up to the game — Davis went as far as to say they had some of their best practices of the season that week — but clearly something was missing.

“I don’t think we were the normal team that we were the last four, five weeks,” said Williams. “I think that we lost that edge. It’s time for us to get that edge back.”

Williams was benched at the end of the game following an unnecessary roughness call. When it was suggested to him that he was sat down because of his dust-up with a Minnesota receiver, Williams took exception, saying that the reporter had the wrong information. So what is the right information?

Williams intimated that there may have been a misunderstanding on the sideline that escalated the situation.

“There was a series of things that went on,” he said. “I was more frustrated at myself [for getting baited into a penalty] and sometimes I need to walk off and I pace the sideline and I talk to myself about the situation…I’m not necessarily going at a person.”

After a conversation with Kelly, Davis and one of his position coaches, Williams says everyone is now on the same page.

“I can be a little angry at times and I use that anger to fuel me to get to the position where I am right now,” he said. “Sometimes it can be a gift and a curse. Sometimes it works well, sometimes it doesn’t. You get around people — especially in this organization that I’m new to — that don’t understand who Cary Williams is, then that’s what it is, you have to deal with it. We’re all still learning each other, everyone’s learning who they are as individuals. People are learning me and I’m learning them.

“Sometimes it does come to bite me in the butt, me dealing with my anger and trying to play at a high level and play with intensity. That’s just a part of the game, I have to learn how to subdue those things to a degree and play great football.”

WHAT YOU MISSED

Sheil offers his game review of the defense.

The latest on the state of the secondary.

Is Nick Foles being judged too harshly? That and more in the latest Twitter Mailbag.

Kapadia provides three leftovers from Kelly.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

The Eagles dropped from ninth to 11th in ESPN’s power rankings. From Phil Sheridan:

The Eagles certainly didn’t look like a top-10 team in Minnesota on Sunday. Their defense gave up the most points allowed by an Eagles defense since 2005. Coach Chip Kelly couldn’t get his offense going until it was too late. A Vikings team with no Adrian Peterson crushed the Eagles 48-30.

But the Eagles dropped only two spots in ESPN.com’s weekly Power Rankings for the same reason they remained in sole possession of first place in the NFC East: Everybody around them was just as bad. On Sunday night, the Eagles face the 13th-rankedChicago Bears, who are in a who-wants-it battle for first place in the NFC North.

That game is rife with danger for the Eagles. The Bears are an even better, more versatile offensive team than the Vikings. Win or lose, though, the Eagles’ season will come down to their Dec. 29 game against the 18th-ranked Cowboys in Dallas.

Jimmy Kempski writes that LeSean McCoy could very well go off Sunday night.

After the Eagles allowed 382 passing yards to Matt Cassel on Sunday, Eagles fans are worried about the prospect of facing arguably the best WR duo in the league.

However, Bears fans are likely to be just as worried about a matchup that favors the Eagles. LeSean McCoy is the NFL’s leading rusher, and the Bears are absolutely horrid against the run.

Last week the Bears held the Browns to under 100 rushing yards, but in the 7 games before that, they allowed an average of over 200 rushing yards per game, which is absolutely atrocious.

COMING UP

We’ll speak with Kelly this morning before practice.

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