Eagles aim to stay perfect post-bye under Reid
Whatever the Philadelphia Eagles do when coach Andy Reid gives them a week off works perfectly.
Under Reid, the Eagles are 12-0 following a bye. They're looking to extend that winning streak when they host the Dallas Cowboys (3-3) on Sunday night. It's another must-win for the Eagles (2-4), who can't afford to lose any more after a poor start.
Given Reid's success after a bye, the Eagles might want to petition the NFL to have two weeks off like they did in 1993.
''I get asked that every year, and I don't think there's any secret,'' Reid said Wednesday. ''You just do what you do. We're going to practice just like we did last week and the week before that, and so on. So I don't know if there's any secret to it.''
Linebacker Jamar Chaney thinks it's more than just a fluke.
''The great coaches make adjustments,'' he said. ''Halfway through the season, you have to make adjustments and that's one thing you do at halftime when you go in and on the sideline. And pretty much whenever you have your bye, you're going to make adjustments, go ahead and scout your team and see what they're doing good and what they're doing wrong and come back and make those corrections. And I think he's been doing a good job of that.''
Reid and the rest of the coaching staff already made some adjustments that helped the Eagles beat the Redskins 20-13 in Week 5.
On offense, Reid abandoned his pass-first philosophy for one game at least. LeSean McCoy had a career-best 28 carries and the Eagles had more rushing attempts (38) than passes (32).
The biggest change came on defense where the Eagles altered their wide-nine scheme against the Redskins. Opponents had an easy time running the ball when Philadelphia put its ends way outside in the wide-nine. Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, in his first year at the position after switching from the offensive line, closed the gaps, moved the linebackers closer to the line of scrimmage and brought safety Kurt Coleman up to create an eight-man front. The results were excellent.
''The more time you have with each other, the more you can feel each other out and stuff like that,'' defensive tackle Mike Patterson said. ''So that's what it came down to, team chemistry. That's how I feel at least. You know, when guys are trying to do what we do, we have to gel together. I think everybody's starting to learn how each other are playing.''
The defending NFC East champions are sitting in last place, two games behind the New York Giants. It's a long way from where the Eagles expected to be at this point. The team entered the season with Super Bowl aspirations after a wild, summer spending spree brought several big-name players to Philadelphia.
But a four-game losing streak followed a season-opening win at St. Louis. The win at Washington saved the season temporarily. Losing to the Cowboys would put the Eagles in a seemingly insurmountable position, and could signal the beginning of major changes.
The team isn't ready for that.
''The outcome is going to affect both teams tremendously,'' quarterback Michael Vick said. ''We just want to go out and put our best foot forward, get another win and keep moving.''
Notes: DE Trent Cole and LT Jason Peters both practiced and are expected to start after missing the last two games. ... This will be the first time the projected starting offensive line will play together in the regular season. ... Reid downplayed comments made by CB Asante Samuel regarding being on the trading block last week. ''Asante and I talk,'' Reid said. ''I'm not worried about that at all. He loves to play the game and we're going to move forward. I don't have any comments past this, and I know he doesn't, so we're moving on here.''