As is customary, I posed 5 questions to my SB Nation brethren JB, who runs the Eagles blog, Bleeding Green Nation. Below are JB's responses.
JB: Well, the chanting started before the Packers game was even over. My favorite chant BTW was "ODEEE OD OD ODEEE". So this is a pretty big deal. Personally though, I can't stand it. I'm so sick of hearing "the player's" name (thank you Parcells for sparing us all BTW) that I dread this more than I am excited about it. I don't dread it because I'm scared, I just don't look forward to yet another week of more TO talk. Everything that went on will be rehashed and recapped again and again on all the pregame shows, during the whole game, after the whole game. As if everyone in America hasn't heard it all 5 billion times.
I honestly urge people to check out my myspace page.
The comments there and the fans on my page do a better job illustrating how the fans feel about TO and this weekend better than me. Warning, it's not very tasteful... just like you would imagine....
BTB: Donovan McNabb is having a good season so far. Is it because the distraction of Owens is gone, is it because he's healthy again, or is it something else outsiders might not be seeing? Or perhaps a combination of things?
JB: I think it's 100% because he's healthy. Clearly last year that sports hernia affected his game. He couldn't move the way we were used to seeing him move, he had less velocity and accuracy on his throws because he couldn't plant or turn his body. All the physical skills that make him the palyer he is were severly limited. Bascially what you are seeing this year is a healthy, all pro QB in the prime of his career. He's back to his old self, if not better. The TO factor, as with everything TO related, is way overblown. McNabb was an all pro MVP candidate before TO ever got here.
ESPN flashed up an interesting stat during the MNF game. McNabb's numbers at this point in his career are almost identical to Favre's at the same point in his career(minus all the picks though...)
BTB: Give us what you know about the status of all the injuries the Eagles currently have. Especially Westbrook and Stallworth.
JB: Westbrook by all reports seems to be alot better. Apparently the knee swelling that's bothered him so far this is gone. They aren't entirely sure it won't pop up again at some point, but "so far so good" seems to be the news out of Eagles camp. That said, he was held out of practice yesterday but was upgraded to questionable..
Stallworth is listed as "doubtful" but it's pretty much a mystery as to what will happen. He tweaked his hamstring, which I'm sure you know is an odd injury. It held TO out of camp, but he was able to "miraculously" recover to be 100% for opening day... Steve Smith missed a bunch of camp and 2 games, but game back and was dominant right away. So it's hard to say at this point. For what it's worth, he seems to think he will play and be fine.
Lito Sheppard, the Eagles pro bowl corner who has missed just about he whole year so far is back practicing and will play. That will go a long way in helping my response to question 4...
BTB: The Eagles defense has shown some vulnerability this year, especially in the 2nd half of games. What's going on there?
JB: In short, the secondary sucks. In my opinion, that's been 100% of the problem. The good news for the Eagles is that it may be a problem that fixes itself. Starting CB Lito Sheppard and 3rd corner Rod Hood have both missed all or most of the game this year so far. Lito was a pro bowler in 04 and Hood is a guy who many regard as starting quality after the job he did filling in for an injured Sheppard last year. The Eagles offense has put up so many points early in games, that when the second half rolls around and teams start throwing to catch up, they are abusing the Eagles 4th and 5th corners. Especially the Giants..The injuries got so bad that 2 of the corners that played last week were not even on the team at the start of the year.
Lito Sheppard will be back for this week's game, but he hasn't played since week one... so there's conern about rust. Hood did not practice yesterday and is listed as doubtful. So help is on the way, but it's coming slow.
Andy Reid's playcalling and lack of an ability to grind down the clock in the second half has been an issue also(except for on Monday), but more than anything the injuries to the secondary have been devastating so far.
BTB: With Dallas, we know our biggest rival amongst the fan base are the Redskins. Who do Philly fans consider thier biggest rival? Giants, Cowboys or some other team?
JB: The Cowboys and it's not even close. I personally have always despised the Giants more, but most Philly fans do not share that. It's not uncommon to see anything Texas related, sports or otherwise to be greeted with a "Dallas Sucks" chant by philly fans. They have hated the Cowboys since the Staubach years, but in my lifetime it was the Aikman-Irvin-Smith teams of the 90s that were maybe the most hated in history. Eagles fans consider the moment where Emmit Smith ran straight into the line something 4 times in a row and couldn't get one yard one of the great moments on team history. There's the throwing snowballs at Jimmy Johnson, the Irvin injury, even back to the 1980 NFC championship game. All moments burned into Philly sports lore.
Again, just check out my Myspace page... No one did anything like the stuff on there for the Giants game.
All you have to do is see the way Jimmy Johnson and Michael Irvin are still treated anytime they are in philly to see the level of dislike the Eagles fans have for Dallas. The Giants are the next most hated rival. Eagles fans have always kind of ambivalent to the Redskins, they don't like them but it's not a big rival. The Falcons are probably a bigger rival than the Skins at this point.
BTB: Bonus question: Is Andy Reid related to the Pillsbury Dough Boy?
JB: Oddly enough he has apparently dropped a lot of weight. He even became the spokesman for some sort or weight loss plan locally. Frankly though, I don't see it...