PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Philadelphia Eagles. Cleaning up the mess of the last two seasons, which saw just 12 wins combined, two disappointing drafts, and a bad taste in the mouth of every fan.
This was supposed to be a year where 7-9 or 8-8 could be considered a success.
The Eagles are 8-5, alone in first place in the NFC East, and rolling. A team that seemed like they were heading for disaster after losses to the Cowboys and Giants have turned it around, and are the hottest team in the NFL, with the league’s leading passer and rusher. So it’s fair to say those expectations of 8-8 and a moral victories are firmly out the door.
“It would mean a lot [to make the playoffs]. I don’t think that’s our only goal, but it would mean a lot,” Brent Celek told 94WIP’s Angelo Cataldi and The Morning Show on Thursday. “We’ve had to work hard to get there and we’ve got a lot of work to do to get there, but I think guys would realize that hey, we’ve done a lot this off season, we’ve done a lot this season. To not get there would be an injustice.”
Celek has had something of a comeback year himself. While his numbers aren’t as gaudy as some of the league’s top tight ends, Celek just looks healthier, dragging defenders and even outrunning some in the secondary.
Kelly’s focus on health and sports science is making a difference. “I know how my body feels now compared to how I felt last year at this time, for sure,” Celek said. “You’re constantly putting your body out there every single day in harms way and all your asking is that, listen just let me take care of my body, help me take care of my body. And that’s what Chip [Kelly] has done. He’s done everything that he can possibly do to help us take care of our bodies more, and then he takes care of us with the way that we practice, all that stuff. When guys see that, guys appreciate that and they play harder.”
While the playoffs are on the radar, the focus for the Kelly and the Eagles will be on Sunday’s game against the Vikings. Minnesota is at the bottom of the standings, but has played their opponents tough in the last few weeks.
“We even talked about it, we can’t—we can’t take this team [Vikings] lightly. The guys that were when we played them last time and they put Joe Webb at quarterback and they came in here and whopped us, we can’t have that,” Celek said. “And I think we understand that there’s a lot at stake right now, and we’ve worked really hard to get where we’re at and to kind of go out there and not finish this thing off would be a huge mistake. I think guys really realize that. We’re preparing hard this week, we’re getting ready for them. So we’re not taking them lightly.”
If not making the playoffs would be an injustice, losing to the Vikings would be a crime as well. We’ll see if the Eagles bring justice to Philadelphia.