The Eagles are 3-0, one of the few undefeated teams left in the NFL. You’d think all would be harmony and happiness in the locker room. And then you’d remember this is Philadelphia we’re talking about, where nobody ever takes the easy path when there’s a more prickly one to travel.
Cornerback Cary Williams heralded the end of a triumphant, hard-won victory not by taking pride in the team, but by griping about practice.
“I’m burnt out. Burnt out. I’m not the only guy that feels burnt out,” Williams said. “I’m just a guy that’s man enough to stand up for players and just say that we’re burnt out. My legs hurt. My legs were done in the fourth quarter. My legs were done in the third quarter. My legs were done before the game started.”
Granted, the Eagles were playing a short week, having beaten Indianapolis on Monday Night Football six days before. But even so, Williams said that the absence of an off day hurt him and the team.
“Something has to be modified and something has to be changed, and I’m not afraid to say, ‘Hey look, that’s what needs to be done,'” Williams said. “I’m not hurting anybody. I just know what this locker room feels like. I know what the guy to the left of me to the right of me feels like. I know what it’s like, so I’m in close connection with these guys. It’s not just an individual game. It’s a team game. You’ve got to understand, you need all 11 guys out there on the field.”
The Eagles gave up three pass plays of 40 yards or more, and two of those were thrown in Williams’ direction. Is there a connection here? Perhaps.
The issue of practice is a touchy one; many old-line pros and football types feel that players are too coddled as it is with limited hitting. The players, obviously, would prefer to rest whenever possible to be fresh. And the varied schedule, especially for a noteworthy and nationally attractive team like Philadelphia, means that establishing a consistent schedule that builds in off days can be a tricky process.
Overall, though, this brings to mind another Philadelphia athlete’s thoughts on practice:
It’s a good bet Williams is going to be hearing enough about practice to drive Allen Iverson insane.
The Eagles have three more weeks of games before their bye week. You can bet that several of Williams’ teammates and head coach Chip Kelly will be answering questions about practice before then.