Relaxed Birds staying positive
The Eagles were unusually relaxed Thursday, just days before the closest thing to a must-win game on the early part of their schedule.
Several players, including offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, took dips in the ice baths stationed near the practice field. Trent Cole tried on a new green-and-purple spandex shirt featuring the Incredible Hulk. And LeSean McCoy was sporting the newest fad in footwear, oversized slipper socks.
"Don't take my picture," snapped McCoy as he playfully joked with reporters.
If there's panic in the locker room, no one is showing it. Mike Vick complimented coach Chip Kelly for keeping the Eagles focused. He feels like they had one of their best weeks of practice.
"You can't come out and display any kind of discomfort," Vick said. "Our attitude is to stay positive and keep working."
The Eagles could, hypothetically, be in first place after this weekend — if they beat the Giants and the Cowboys lose to Denver. Of course, Chip Kelly doesn't speak in hypotheticals.
"It's funny you say that because I talked to our team about that on Tuesday because I had people tell me, 'I think it's if Dallas loses this weekend and we win, we are in first place,' and I was fired up," the coach said. "I called the league office and I wanted to find out when we get the trophy and when the trophy presentation would be. And they [league office] got the same response; they started laughing, too, because it doesn't matter if you're in first place in the first week of October. What matters is, are you in first place after December 29?"
Kelly was laughing as he spoke, like many of his players as they walked off the practice field. The only somber moment came when someone asked Vick if he was holding onto the football too long.
"I'm not holding the ball too long," Vick said. "Let's not make that an issue."
When another reporter went back in for a follow-up question, Vick became more animated — not agitated, maybe a little frustrated.
"Listen, whoever is saying I'm holding the ball too long, they don't know anything about football," Vick said. "You need to go watch the film. I'm going to pull out the film for y'all and hold the clicker right here. I'll break it down verbatim, play-by-play ... but then again, maybe if you think I'm holding onto to the ball too long, maybe y'all right."
The sounds of sport science
The Eagles appear to be 100-pecent healthy heading into Sunday's game at the Meadowlands. Cornerback Brandon Boykin (shoulder) said he expects to play after being a limited participant in Wednesday's practice. He was full-go Thursday.
Safety Patrick Chung (shoulder) has been limited for the past two days. He'll likely be a game-time decision. If he can't go, rookie Earl Wolff will make his second career start.
All in all, the Eagles have avoided the injury bug this season. Chip Kelly credited his strength and conditioning coaches, specifically his sport science coordinator, for keeping the guys fresh.
"Time lost is the biggest thing you're trying to prevent," Kelly said, "and just the little things, are we getting enough sleep? Eating the right way? Doing the other things, that contributes to it. We don't do that just for the sake of doing it. We do that because we think there's a benefit to it and we hope as you go on, obviously the big issues you look at are the soft tissue injuries because those are preventable.
"If someone breaks a leg, someone breaks a leg. There's not much from a sports science standpoint, or preparation standpoint, that goes into the prevention of breaking a bone."