Monday, January 31, 2005

Owens starting to practice again.

From sports.yahoo.com:
T.O. is almost a go.

Terrell Owens, the Philadelphia Eagles' All-Pro receiver, practiced Monday for the first time since injuring his ankle last month, moving closer toward returning for the Super Bowl.

``I won't say anything outside of `He looks great. He looks great. He looks great,''' Eagles safety Michael Lewis said.

Owens took part in less than one-third of the team's 30 plays, getting a pass each time he ran a route. Just last week, Dr. Mark Myerson, the surgeon who operated on Owens' right ankle in December, said he would not clear him to suit up against the New England Patriots on Sunday.

``We limited what he did, but he did it well, and he did it with the team,'' Eagles coach Andy Reid said. ``He moved around pretty well. I'll have to see how he does before we decide whether he'll play.''

Owens hasn't played since he severely sprained his ankle and broke his leg in a game against Dallas on Dec. 19. He's expected to be on the field when the Eagles resume practice on Wednesday.

In his first season with the Eagles after eight years in San Francisco, Owens led Philadelphia with 77 catches for 1,200 yards and 14 TDs.

``It's always a lift when you can get anyone out there, an added weapon,'' quarterback Donovan McNabb said. ``He did make some big plays for us. He did an excellent job of coming in and presenting a different type of feel for our passing attack.''

Myerson inserted two screws in Owens' ankle and a plate on the outside of the ankle three days after he was injured. Owens was told after surgery that he had only an outside chance of returning for the Super Bowl, which was 6 1/2 weeks away at the time. But he rehabbed vigorously, hoping to help Philadelphia win its first NFL championship since 1960.

After a checkup last week in Baltimore, Myerson said that while he's pleased with Owens' recuperation, the operation requires a recovery period of eight to 10 weeks. Myerson added that any attempt to accelerate the rehabilitation process poses the same risk for injury.

The final decision on Owens' status will come down to the player, Reid and the team's medical staff.

``Could the same injury occur? Yes,'' Reid said. ``But he won't damage it any further than he already has.''

Owens wasn't available for comment. He's supposed to take part in Tuesday's interview sessions.

``He looked pretty smooth out there,'' tight end L.J. Smith said. ``He's not trying to push it. He's getting his timing down and he caught a couple balls.''

The injury to Owens was a devastating blow for a team that dominated the NFC and clinched the No. 1 seed in the conference after just 14 games. Owens invigorated the Eagles with his attitude, enthusiasm and stellar performance, adding a swagger to a team that desperately needed a personality.

With him, the offense was extremely potent, averaging 25.4 points in 14 games. After Owens was injured, the Eagles lost the last two regular-season games in which most starters hardly played and others were rested.

But the Eagles are 2-0 without Owens in games that matter. While the offense hasn't been dominant without Owens, they've scored 27 points in each of their playoff games against Minnesota and Atlanta.

``He looked good running routes and he caught a few balls,'' center Hank Fraley said. ``You have to account for him when he is on the field because he is a playmaker.''

This is some of the best news we have heard since his injury. We are all hoping that he is ready for the big game this weekend, but only time will tell. There is not doubt in my mind that he will be playing regardless of what the doctors, trainers, or coaches say, but the question is, how well will he play coming off this injury? Ofcourse this leaves room for judgement, on if this will effect his team in a negative way, but we have to keep in mind this is Terrel Owens and the Super Bowl. This could possibly be the biggest game of his career, so lets hope he makes a full recovery before the biggest game of the year and lets also hope that this upcoming game won't be T.O.'s last game. GO EAGLES, BRING US BACK A RING!

Monday, January 24, 2005

SUPERBOWL BABY!

From sports.yahoo.com:
Fireworks soared above the roof of ``The Linc.'' A blizzard of glitter swirled in the bitterly cold breeze. Fans toasted their team and each other with beers and hugs.

It was a Super-sized celebration four years in the making. And quite a relief, too.

Yo, Philly, how's this sound?

Your Eagles are going to the Super Bowl.

Donovan McNabb & Co. overcame the burden of three straight losses in the NFC championship game and warmed a frozen city's heart, stuffing Michael Vick and the Atlanta Falcons 27-10 on Sunday.

McNabb isn't satisfied yet.

``There's no relief for me,'' he said. ``We'll have relief after the Super Bowl. We set a goal of winning the Super Bowl, not just the NFC. So that's where I'm going. We're excited, but we're not done.''

The Eagles already have soothed a city's fragile psyche, burying the disappointment of the last three years and pulling within one victory of Philly's first major pro championship since the 76ers won the NBA title in 1983.

Twenty-four years ago, the Eagles made it to their first -- and, until Sunday, only -- Super Bowl with a team coached by Dick Vermeil and led by Ron Jaworski. They fell flat in the title game, losing to the Raiders 27-10.

That score went the Eagles' way this time. They will meet New England in Jacksonville, Fla., on Feb. 6 for the NFL championship. The Patriots beat the host Steelers, across Pennsylvania in Pittsburgh, 41-27 for the AFC title.

``We want to go to Jacksonville and get some closure and finish this up,'' receiver Freddie Mitchell said.

The fourth consecutive appearance in the NFC title game proved to be the charm for the Eagles, even though they didn't have top receiver Terrell Owens -- reduced to the role of MVC (Most Valuable Cheerleader) on the sideline.

Nothing was going to stand in the way of this team, which entered the season with a Super Bowl or Bust mentality and met those enormous expectations.

McNabb threw a pair of touchdown passes to Chad Lewis, including the clinching score with 3:21 remaining. That turned the final minutes into a delirious coronation, the 67,717 fans saluting a team that fulfilled its destiny.

``Super Bowl! Super Bowl!'' they chanted when play was halted for the two-minute warning.

The only warm-weather team left in the playoffs went cold in its biggest game of the year. Vick was sacked four times by the fearsome Philly defense, which also came up with a crucial interception that set up David Akers' second field goal.

The significance of the day was evident on the field -- the Eagles pranced and posed after every big play -- and in the stands, where most of the fans never bothered to sit down on a 17-degree day.

``This team has great personality,'' coach Andy Reid said. ``Everybody here in Philadelphia loves 'em.''

The Eagles will be going for their first NFL title since 1960, which predates the Super Bowl by six seasons.

McNabb completed 17-of-26 passes for 180 yards, a workmanlike performance that solidified his position as one of the game's best quarterbacks. He also ran 10 times for 32 yards.

Vick's debut on the Super Bowl stage will have to wait. He completed just 11-of-24 for 136 yards, while the Eagles stifling defense kept him from pulling off one of his signature runs.

He ran it just four times for 26 yards, but gave up even more yards on the sacks. Derrick Burgess dropped the elusive quarterback twice, and Jevon Kearse kept Vick hemmed up on the other side. The Eagles didn't blitz much -- a change in philosophy -- but they made sure Vick didn't get a chance to warm up.

``I didn't get outside the pocket,'' Vick said. ``I think that was their first priority.''

Philadelphia led only 14-10 at halftime, a bit too close for a team that had lost to St. Louis, Tampa Bay and Carolina in the last three NFC title games. Even more galling -- the two more recent defeats were at home.

But, as the sun gave way to a nearly full moon over Lincoln Financial Field, the Eagles dominated the final two quarters. Akers connected from 31 and 34 yards, then McNabb and Lewis teamed up to finish off the Falcons with their 2-yard touchdown.

Owens, who didn't play because of a severe ankle injury, had a prominent role nonetheless. He drew plenty of attention with his sideline antics, flapping his arms and waving a towel to urge on a crowd that didn't need any encouragement.

And he may just recover in time for the Super Bowl.

``I have a feeling he will,'' Reid said.

Owens' teammates filled in admirably. McNabb worked his passes around to eight players, led by Brian Westbrook with five catches for 39 yards. Westbrook also handled the bulk of the running load, carrying 16 times for 96 yards.

Then, it was time for the party -- Philly-style.

``For those about to rock, we salute you,'' AC-DC screamed over the sound system. Fireworks went off above the stadium. And tons of glitter fluttered over the field, recreating the blizzard that swept through the city a day earlier.

``This is their fourth trip in a row to the championship game,'' said Jim Mora, the Falcons' rookie coach. ``They've been in this position before, and they played like they've been in this position before.''

It was a great season for the Falcons, who came within one win of their second Super Bowl after going 5-11 last season. With Vick at quarterback, the future looks bright.

Philadelphia scored on its second possession after Chris Mohr managed just an 8-yard punt into a stiff wind. The Eagles appeared to go three-and-out, but a holding penalty on rookie cornerback DeAngelo Hall kept the drive alive.

Westbrook broke off a 36-yard run, scooting through a huge hole on the right side and breaking through Brian Scott's attempted tackle. Dorsey Levens finished it off with a 4-yard touchdown run, appearing to be stopped at the 2 but getting a shove into the end zone from offensive guard Jermane Mayberry.

The Falcons responded by holding the ball for almost nine minutes, also benefiting from a defensive holding penalty on third down that kept the drive alive. But Philadelphia stiffened on first-and-goal from 2, throwing T.J. Duckett for a loss -- only the second negative run of the season for the 254-pound back. Atlanta was forced to settle for Jay Feely's 23-yard field goal.

Back came the Eagles for another touchdown, set up by another big play. McNabb lofted a pass to Greg Lewis, who was covered by undrafted free agent Christian Morton. Lewis slowed up to catch the ball while Morton stumbled out of position, the result being a 45-yard completion to the Atlanta 4.

Two plays later, it was another Lewis, tight end Chad, making a spectacular catch in the corner of the end zone. He somehow managed to drag both feet inbounds after leaping to pull down the high throw. Atlanta challenged, but the replay clearly backed up the refs' call.

The Falcons followed with their most impressive offensive display. In only five plays, they shredded the Eagles for 70 yards, capped off by Warrick Dunn's 10-yard touchdown with 2:02 left in the first half.

But Atlanta's offense never warmed up over the final two quarters.

While the temperature at kickoff was 17, it felt more like zero. A steady 26 mph wind -- gusting as high as 35 mph -- swept in through the openings on the north end of the stadium.

But the sun and a brilliant blue sky were a striking change from conditions a day earlier. Snow was piled up around the edge of the field, remnants of a blizzard that dumped about a foot of snow and paralyzed much of the East Coast.

The bitter conditions didn't diminish the mood of the fans, nearly all of whom bundled up in something green. They began gathering in the parking lots -- where snow had been plowed into piles higher than their vehicles -- just after sunrise to get an early start on the expected celebration.

Leading up to the kickoff, there was another Philly moment.

The ``Rocky'' theme blared from the speakers, sending the crowd into a towel-waving frenzy. The video board showed clips from the movie interspersed with highlights from the Eagles' season.

Now, they've got a chance to show the biggest highlight of all -- a Super Bowl championship.
Its been 25 years since we have had this oppurtunity, and it couldn't come at a worse time.Owens, Lewis, and Smith are all out with very little chance of returning for the biggest game in the last 25 years. Although it isn't looking to good at the time being, we still crushed the falcons, proving that those guys aren't totally necessary. However, if we want to win this game, these second string guys, need to step up and play like experienced veterans. We aren't done yet, we still got a ring we have to get, keep up the cheering you guys!

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

No more dances for Moss

From sports.yahoo.com:
No team in the NFC scored more offensive touchdowns than the Minnesota Vikings. The Philadelphia Eagles allowed the fewest points in the conference.

When the Vikings meet the Eagles in an NFC divisional playoff game on Sunday, it'll be a classic matchup between an elite offense and a superior defense.

``I rank them right up there with Indianapolis and St. Louis,'' Eagles linebacker Ike Reese said of the Vikings. ``They're a quick-strike team. They can beat you in different ways. They run a lot of formations. They're not afraid to put the ball up
Pro Bowl quarterback Daunte Culpepper and star wide receiver Randy Moss lead an offense that scored 405 points, second in the NFC to Green Bay's 424. But Minnesota had 47 of its 50 TDs on offense, while the Packers got five of their 50 TDs on defense.

The Eagles gave up 260 points, an average of 16.3 per game. That number was inflated by the 58 points allowed by the reserves in the last two meaningless games of the regular season.

While Culpepper, Moss, running backs Michael Bennett and Moe Williams and wideout Nate Burleson give the Vikings multiple threats, the Eagles' star-studded defense includes defensive end Jevon Kearse and four Pro Bowlers; middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter, cornerback Lito Sheppard and safeties Brian Dawkins and Michael Lewis.

``We have a strong defense,'' Reese said. ``We don't get in shootouts with anybody. We don't need our offense to score a lot of points.''

In the Vikings' 31-17 victory over Green Bay in Sunday's NFC wild-card game, Culpepper threw four TD passes, Moss caught two scoring passes and the offense racked up 384 yards. Minnesota had 14 plays of 10 yards or more against the Packers, including a 68-yard TD catch by Williams and TD receptions of 20 and 34 yards by Moss.

``We have to be conscious of not giving up the big plays, keeping everything in front of us,'' Eagles cornerback Rod Hood said. ``All of their receivers are deep threats. We have to make the tackles when they catch the ball.''

The Eagles beat the Vikings 27-16 in a Monday night game the second week of the season, despite being dominated on the stat sheet. Minnesota held the ball for almost 38 minutes and gained 410 yards, but settled for three field goals when the game still was in reach. Culpepper lost a fumble at the Philadelphia 1 to end a drive in the first half, and a penalty on Moss killed another drive.

``They thrive on big plays,'' Reese said. ``The key for us is to make them drive the ball down the field instead of scoring in three, four or five plays. We have to get 10, 12-play drives out of them and then hold them to field goals.''

Vikings coach Mike Tice said his team won't be intimidated by Philadelphia's notoriously boorish fans.

``You take the fumble and penalty away and then we have a lot closer game that could have been won by either team,'' Tice said. ``We only lost by 11. There will be no fear of playing in Philly, as there was no fear of playing in Lambeau.''

Culpepper had the best season of his six-year career, throwing for an NFL-best 4,717 yards, 39 TDs and just 11 interceptions. He'll back up Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb at the Pro Bowl.

At 264 pounds, the elusive Culpepper outweighs all of Philadelphia's linebackers and its secondary and is within two pounds of the starting defensive ends. Like McNabb, he creates problems whether he runs with the ball or throws it.

``Culpepper can scramble and make you miss or chuck it down field for a big play. He has a canon for an arm,'' Lewis said.

The Vikings are hoping to become the first sixth seed to reach a conference championship game. Since the NFL expanded the playoffs to 12 teams in 1990, eight No. 6 seeds, including seven in the NFC, have won a playoff game. Each team lost in the next round.

``You've got to have that attack attitude,'' Minnesota tight end Jermaine Wiggins said. ``You've got to jump on somebody's throat, and you've just got to smother them.''
I think its about time to get Moss back in his cage with D. He has been running all over without a care in his mind( except his little dances), and I think we have just the recipe to stop him. Our defense has been solid all through the year, and I think its about time that we show our stuff. Lets stop Moss before he does anything stupid!