The flag came in the first quarter came after Vonta Leach‘s five-yard touchdown run, as he mixed it up in the end zone with a Ravens defender. It was just one example of the chippiness between the Eagles and Ravens Sunday.
The prime example was the dust-up between DeSean Jackson and Cary Williams, where the two came to blows. Jackson hinted that he was slapped in the wallet as well. “Probably did, but that’s my personal business,” he said.
Last season, Frank Gore accused the Eagles of folding when the 49ers got physical with them.
“I think playing that second half and the way we came out, the Eagles didn’t want to play no more,” said Gore. “We just kept pounding and kept pounding and making plays and we kind of knocked the fight out of them.”
Their will power was further put into question as a result of blowing five fourth-quarter leads in 2011.
Sunday’s game against the Ravens was a step in the right direction away from that reputation. Not only did the Eagles win in come-from-behind fashion for the second straight week, but did so while playing a nasty brand of ball.
“They wanted to come out and push us around but we weren’t having that,” said DeMeco Ryans. “We had to fight back, bring the intensity and bring the fight to them.”
Yesterday, we went over how the Eagles’ offensive talent stacks up.
Today, let’s take a look at the defense.
I sometimes wonder if Sean McDermott looks at the moves the Eagles have made on that side of the ball the last two years and thinks: Where was this when I was the defensive coordinator?
This offseason, the Eagles used three picks in the first two rounds on defensive players. They also acquired middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans from the Texans. But is the Birds’ talent where it needs to be on defense?
“You know how I feel about that. If I can keep them all, I will,” said Reid. “As many as you can keep. I think that’s an important position. Put a lot of responsibility on them. We’ll have to see how the numbers turn out, but I don’t like giving up good defensive linemen.”
Yes, Andy Reid and Cullen Jenkins are back on speaking terms. They are speaking quite a lot, actually.
Since their sideline spat, which was captured by television crews on Monday Night Football, player and coach have talked on three separate occasions. The first was in game. Next was on the plane ride back from New England, then again on Wednesday morning right after Reid’s press conference.
“I apologized to him on the plane and we talked a little bit. He talked about how he needs me, this team needs me to step up and be there,” said Jenkins.
Reporters couldn’t quite put their finger on it in the wake of Andy Reid‘s sideline blow-up in the direction of Cullen Jenkins. He has never been like that before, was our reaction, though that didn’t seem entirely true. We have seen him angry and animated plenty of times over the years.
What I think we were missing, which is more clear today, is that nobody has ever barked back. Here’s the video if you want to re-watch it. Normally Reid will say his piece, the player or coach will absorb the criticism, and life returns to normal. In this case, though, Jenkins rose off the bench and challenged the coach.
Veteran defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins did something to draw the ire of Eagles head coach Andy Reid, and cameras caught the heated exchange on television during the second quarter of tonight’s preseason game against the Patriots.
“It’s an emotional game,” Reid said afterwards. “He was fired up. I was fired up. Those things happen. Cullen is my primary leader on that defensive line so I count on him for a lot of things. He was upset, and I was upset. We talked about it afterwards, and we’re ok.”
As we’ve discussed at length here on Birds 24/7, when that deadline arrives, Andy Reid and company will have difficult decisions to make on their defensive line.
One player whose role could go a long way in determining who stays and who goes is Cullen Jenkins.