Last-place Eagles realize no one’s job is secure

If the Philadelphia Eagles needed a reminder about job security,
they got one when they returned to practice.

The abrupt release of two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Jason
Babin put the entire team on notice. The Eagles (3-8) have lost
seven straight games and players shouldn’t feel safe about their
position, no matter what.

”I guess in a way you kind of expect something to happen,”
veteran Mike Patterson said Wednesday. ”You just feel like the
team is trying to make the best choice for us to win games. That’s
the only thing as a player you look at it.”

Babin was cut a day after a 30-22 loss to Carolina on Monday
night. He had 5 1/2 sacks in 11 games and his playing time had been
reduced in recent weeks. Babin signed a $28 million, five-year
contract last offseason after a breakout year in Tennessee in 2010.
He had 18 sacks for the Eagles last season, but slumped along with
the rest of the defense this year. He was claimed off waivers by
the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9).

The news of Babin’s release came on the team’s day off. Fellow
starting defensive end Trent Cole was with Babin when he got the
call from coach Andy Reid.

”I was surprised,” Cole said. ”I’ve been in the league for
eight years now and seen people come and go and it’s just business.
There’s nothing you can really say. That’s between him and the
franchise and that’s it. We’re going to miss him. He was part of
our D-line; we were tight. We’re a close-knit group. He’s a great
player. He’s a very aggressive player you want to have on your
team.

”He’s going to find another home.”

Babin’s departure creates more playing time for third-year pro
Brandon Graham, a first-round pick in 2010 who has yet to live up
to expectations. Rookie Vinny Curry, a second-round pick this year,
also should get more snaps. Curry made his season debut against the
Panthers after being deactivated the first 10 games.

”I’m excited,” Graham said. ”I can’t wait to go out there and
make plays. That’s all I’m here for is to make plays and to go out
there and do what I do. That’s what I’m going to do. Everybody
right now is fighting with pride. It’s all about pride right now
and how we’re going to finish these last five games. I know I’ve
got pride and I know my teammates do, so we’re going to go out
there, going to give it our all and whatever happens,
happens.”

Releasing Babin is the first of what likely will be a massive
roster overhaul. Reid is all-but-gone, too. Unless owner Jeffrey
Lurie somehow backs off his preseason directive that another 8-8
season would be ”unacceptable,” Reid won’t return for a 15th
year.

That means players will be looking to impress other teams and
coaches in hopes of landing jobs somewhere next season. Even Eagles
with big contracts – like Babin – are in danger of being let
go.

”We’re staying positive right now,” safety Kurt Coleman said.
”We’re not worried about the outsiders. We need to continue to get
better every day. We need to keep picking each other up and
continue to just push each other because right now, it’s tough.
This isn’t an ideal situation that we want to be in, but what we
can do is control what we do today. Then tomorrow will take care of
itself.”

The Eagles play at Dallas (5-6) on Sunday night in their second
consecutive nationally televised game. They’ll be without two-time
Pro Bowl wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who was placed on injured
reserve with broken ribs.

Quarterback Michael Vick and running back LeSean McCoy still
haven’t been cleared to practice because of concussions and it’s
likely they’ll also miss the game. Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox
(tailbone) and center Dallas Reynolds (ankle) also missed practice
Wednesday.

”Losing DeSean’s a big loss,” rookie QB Nick Foles said.
”He’s a heck of a player. He’s such a threat out there, but we’ll
have guys step up. It’s football and I know we’ll have guys step
into that position and do a great job.”

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