Humbled by an awful start, the Philadelphia Eagles are ready to bury that ”Dream Team” label.
The defending NFC East champions are 1-3 in a season that began with Super Bowl aspirations. That’s their reality.
”I think the ‘Dream Team’ – that word is dead now,” quarterback Michael Vick said Wednesday. ”You can’t talk ‘Dream Team’ anymore. Maybe it put pressure on some players, maybe it didn’t. But I think just the fact that it was lingering around and people were talking about it creates a sense of pressure.
”So, it’s over with now. We’re one of the teams that has to scratch and kick from the bottom now and try to figure out how we’re going to get ourselves back to a position where we can compete with the best teams in this league.”
The ”Dream Team” notion was started by Vince Young, who signed a one-year deal to be Vick’s backup on July 29. That capped a whirlwind two-day span in which the Eagles acquired three Pro Bowl players on defense: cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha and defensive end Jason Babin.
When Young arrived at training camp a day later, he was asked about Philadelphia’s new acquisitions.
”Dream Team. From Nnamdi and Cromartie, and from Jason to myself, I know they’re going to do some more things,” he said. ”It’s beautiful to see where we’re trying to go. I’m all for it.”
Team owner Jeffrey Lurie, coach Andy Reid and others tried to downplay that comment, saying Young was out of line. But the media ran with it.
”I don’t know what the theory was behind it,” Vick said. ”Obviously we all know that it surfaced, and that term was lingering, and we just have to deal with it. So now it’s just over and done with, now we can focus on being the Philadelphia Eagles and playing good hard football.”
The Eagles weren’t done after signing Young. They added defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, running back Ronnie Brown, wide receiver Steve Smith and several other free agents.
So far, the moves haven’t paid off.
”We all have talent,” Brown said. ”At 1-3, that’s not where we want to be. No more buying into this ‘Dream Team’ stuff. Everybody has to take ownership and do whatever we need to get better and go get a win.”
Philadelphia visits Buffalo (3-1) on Sunday. These aren’t the same Bills, who’ve had just one winning season since 1999.
”We know as a team when we look at film that we see we are one play away here or one play there,” Eagles guard Todd Herremans said. ”We could be so good. We should be. We’re going to be. It’s time to wrap it all up and do it.”
After blowing a 20-point lead in a 24-23 loss to San Francisco – their third straight fourth-quarter collapse – many players spent the past two off days at the team’s practice facility. They watched film, worked out and tried to figure out ways to get out of their funk.
”I was encouraged by the number of guys who were in here the last couple of days,” Reid said. ”When they didn’t have to be here, they were here. I’m very fortunate as a head coach to have guys that want to change, and coaches that want to change. The coaches were here, obviously, late last night, and there are a lot of head coaches that might be sitting in this seat that probably can’t say that, but I’ve got guys that want to get better, and coaches that want to get better, and that’s a good start.”
NOTES: Rookie first-round pick Danny Watkins will start at right guard vs. Buffalo. Watkins was benched in favor of Kyle DeVan four days before the season opener. ”Honestly, these last four weeks I’ve just been coming in early, leaving late, just trying to get better and work away at it,” Watkins said. … Reid said DE Trent Cole (calf) and LT Jason Peters (hamstring) will ”struggle” to play against the Bills. King Dunlap would start for Peters.