There's life after Carson Wentz.
As hard as it has been for the Eagles to move on after their starting quarterback and unquestioned leader tore his ACL under the rosy sky just before dusk about a month ago, they have. They have moved on.
When asked about his team getting over the shock of losing Wentz, head coach Doug Pederson admitted that he hated to say it, but "the game keeps going."
"Listen, the train's still kind of moving," Pederson explained this week. "Even though we're sick to our stomachs that these guys are not with us out there on the field, the train is still moving, and the sooner we get over that and get on to the next order of business, the better we're going to become.
"But that's a process. That doesn't happen overnight, you know what I'm saying? It takes a little time."
When the Eagles lost Wentz, it was a punch straight to the gut. The entire organization felt it. Throughout the next week of practice, no matter how uplifting Pederson tried to be, there were understandably despondent faces slumping through the halls of the NovaCare Complex. There were some gloomy times.
Wentz has been in the building over the last few weeks and that has undoubtedly helped with morale. He's there in the early morning for QB meetings but is gone by the afternoon when the team begins installing its offense. At that point, it's Nick Foles' team. While Foles shows deference to Wentz as much as he can, it's on him to lead the team into the playoffs as the starting quarterback.
"We still have to go to work the next day," Pederson said. "Nick [Foles] has to get himself ready to play. I've got to coach the next day. I've got to coach the next quarterback. I've got to coach the coach. Football is not going to stop. The games are not going to stop. We have to get ready for the next week."
Loud and proud
The Eagles haven't won a playoff game at home since the wild-card round of the 2006 season. That was the year before Brent Celek, the longest tenured athlete in the city, arrived in Philadelphia. It's been a long time.
So you can bet, even with the Eagles' coming in as an unusual top-seeded underdog, that the crowd at Lincoln Financial Field is going to be rocking on Saturday afternoon. The Eagles are banking on it.
"We want teams to come into our stadium and to feel our fans and to feel the excitement and to feel the noise and to feel everything about Philadelphia," Pederson said. "I've been a visiting player coming into this stadium in a playoff-type atmosphere and it's tough to play because our fans are loud from the opening kickoff to the last whistle of the game.
"So this is what obviously we expect Saturday afternoon, our fans will be a huge influence on the game. You've seen it time and time again whether it be communication, delay-of-games, timeouts being taken, and it's a credit to our fans. So we're excited, number one, to be playing at home in front of those folks."
For those going to the game, the Wells Fargo M, N and P lots will open at 9:30 a.m., K lot opens at 11, and the Citizens Bank Park lots open at 1 p.m. The HeadHouse Plaza opens at 1:30 p.m., while club/suites and the inner gates open at 2:30 p.m. before the 4:35 p.m. kickoff. Have fun!
It's safe to say Alshon Jeffery is over talking about his game against the Raiders on Christmas Day. Zero catches on two targets. It was arguably the worst statistical game of his six-year NFL career.
That game has come up a lot over the last couple weeks as folks question whether or not Foles and Jeffery have enough chemistry to work well together in the playoffs. After all, it seemed to take a while for Wentz and Jeffery to get on the same page earlier in the season.
Whenever the Raiders game comes up, Jeffery is quick to point out the Giants game before it. In that one, he caught four passes for 49 yards and a touchdown from Foles.
"I can't compare them," Jeffery said of his budding relationship with Foles compared to his rapport with Wentz. "They're two different quarterbacks. But me and Nick had a great game against the Giants. Oakland didn't go as well, but that's part of the game. Sometimes, you'll have a good one, some days it doesn't go your way."
Saturday's game will be the first playoff game of his career. Jeffery is excited about it but said he's also remarkably relaxed. While most would probably be anxious during this long layoff, the laid-back Jeffery is just waiting patiently.
During the last couple of weeks, Pederson had some of the Eagles with Super Bowl rings get up to talk to the group and offer advice. Jeffery said he appreciated their stories and was happy to hear them, but he doesn't need help getting motivated.
"Just me, I'm fired up enough," he said. "You didn't have to talk to me about it."
Quote of the Week I: "We've earned the right to sit and watch games for a week." — Chris Long
Quote of the Week II: "We have an opportunity to win and put ourselves deep into the playoffs. We win one game, we’re in the NFC Championship at home. I don’t care who we got at quarterback, who we’ve got on offense. We’ll take those odds." — Malcolm Jenkins
Quote of the Week III: "Basically we're getting ready for war out there. Three-game season, leave it all out on the line. That's our focus." — Jay Ajayi
Random media guide note: Jason Kelce's three items needed on a deserted island: duct tape, lighter, fishing pole