The Eagles are early birds, and happy about it.
Most of the team shows up at the NovaCare Complex at the crack of dawn, or even before, to prepare for whatever lays ahead of them on the NFL schedule.
When they have to play at 8:30 p.m., like they will on Sunday against the Cardinals (for the fifth of six times this year), it cramps their style.
“We’re used to playing these games,” Chip Kelly said.”I mean, I’d rather play at one o’clock but just tell us when we’re going to play and we’ll play.”
While the rest of the NFL (save for Monday Night’s combatants) is in the heat of battle,the Eagles are, well, lounging around.
“It’s a lot of down time,” safety Walter ThurmondIII said.”I personally don’t like it, especially on the EastCoast. It’s so late, an 8:30 game, I prefer it on the West Coast at 5:30. You get in, youget out, you can still eat, hang out with family and friends. Most of the time there is stuff not even open after [a late] game.”
The Eagles are, of course, focused on one game at a time. But their late kickoff in Week 15 allows them to be scoreboard watchers as the Redskins and Giants each play their respective games at 1 p.m.
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“You just get more sleep during the day,” linebackerBrandon Graham said.”For me, I try and make sure I’m really rested and ready when 8:30 comes. For us we would ratherjust wake up and get it going.”
Philly could potentially be in first place all by themselves if the early games go their way. But that’s not something they’re concerned with.
“We pay attention to all that,” Graham said. “We have to make sure we go out and play our game that’s the biggest thing. We don’t worry about what we can’t control.”
It’s fitting that the Eagles will be under the national microscope as they fight for their playoff lives. After back-to-back wins against the Patriots and Bills, the 6-7 squad continues to play with backs against the wall.
“We’ve had a lot of opportunities to play in prime time games,” Thurmond said,”and we will be focused and ready to go. We have a lot on the line, our playoffs started a couple weeks ago, that’sthe kind of mentality we have had.”