Friday, October 18, 2013
Eagles seek cure for home sickness
By Phil Sheridan
PHILADELPHIA -- Home is where the wins aren’t.
That has been the case for the Philadelphia Eagles, who have tied a franchise record with eight consecutive home losses. Their last win here came on Sept. 30 of last year, against the New York Giants.
“Has it been that long?” tight end Brent Celek said. “I didn’t realize that. That’s tough, especially for the fans. They sell out the stadium every week.”
The cure? Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys.
“We’ve got to get this,” Celek said.
In fairness, the bulk of the streak has to do with former head coach Andy Reid. After the Eagles beat the Giants 19-17 at Lincoln Financial Field last season, they were 3-1. They then went on an eight-game losing streak and won only one more game, at Tampa Bay, the rest of the season.
That was just a beat-up, terrible team playing out the string under a doomed head coach. Those games could have been played at home, on the road or on the moon and the Eagles would have lost.
As for this year, the first under Chip Kelly, the Eagles drew San Diego and Kansas City in Weeks 2 and 3. The Chargers game was played on a short week after a Monday night opener in Washington. The Chiefs game was a Thursday night game, so it was on an even shorter week, for both teams.
The Eagles lost 33-30 to San Diego, 26-16 to Kansas City. Reid, now the Chiefs coach, broke his Linc losing streak before his former franchise did.
The last time the Eagles lost eight in a row at home was during the 1936 and 1937 seasons, when they played at Municipal Stadium (which later became JFK Stadium and is now long gone). Through many miserable seasons at Franklin Field and Veterans Stadium, they never managed to match that streak.
The Eagles moved into the Linc in 2003. They lost their first two games there. Overall, their record is a hardly dominating 43-31 in the regular season. That includes a 7-1 record in 2004, when they went to the Super Bowl. They had 6-2 records in 2008 and 2009, the last year the Eagles had a winning record at home.
Last week, cornerback Cary Williams talked about wanting the Eagles' defense to become “fearless and feared.” That is tied to being tough and intimidating at home.
“I think it’s huge,” Williams said. “It’s vital to win your home games. I know from years past, wherever I’ve been, we always focused on winning home games. You try to split on the road as best you can, but you play tough at home. You’ve got the crowd behind you. As a defense, that’s difficult for the opposing offense.”
It wouldn’t be shocking if the fans were less enthusiastic after paying American dollars to sit through eight losses in a row. Not the case, though, according to Celek.
“The fans are still going crazy, always,” Celek said. “They’re the best.”
Notes: Safety Patrick Chung was limited in practice Thursday. He said he probably tried to return too soon from a shoulder injury. “I didn’t re-injure it,” Chung said. “You just want to be out there.” Rookie Earl Wolff would start if Chung can’t play against the Cowboys.
Left tackle Jason Peters and running back Chris Polk, who suffered shoulder injuries in Tampa, were full practice participants Thursday after being limited Wednesday. They are expected to be available Sunday.