2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Unselfish play key for first-place Eagles

By ROB MAADDI - AP Pro Football Writer
    2013-12-10 18:20

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - From Jason Avant's blocks to Brent Celek sliding short of the end zone to run out the clock, the Philadelphia Eagles have a group of unselfish players.

That's part of the reason they're positioned to go worst-to-first.

The Eagles (8-5) were in sole possession of first place in the NFC East when they took the field for an indoor practice Tuesday.

Chicago's win over Dallas on Monday night gave Philadelphia a one-game lead with three to go.

So, the Eagles control their playoff hopes. If they win out, they'll secure their first NFC East title since 2010 and at least the No. 3 seed in the conference.

It's an impressive turnaround for a team that finished 4-12 last season.

But rookie coach Chip Kelly instilled a new attitude along with his innovative offense and players have bought into his philosophy from the start.

Unselfishness is a priority.

''The people we have here is a great place to work,'' quarterback Nick Foles said. ''It's an honor to be a Philadelphia Eagle because of the people here. We hold each other accountable and we play for each other. That's why I love it here.''

Players care more about the team's success than individual stats. A prime example came at the end of Sunday's 34-20 victory when Celek caught a pass from Foles and had a clear path to the end zone.

But he slid into a pile of snow at the 10-yard line so the Eagles would run out the clock instead of giving the ball back to Detroit with just under two minutes left.

Point differential is far down the list of tiebreakers, so Celek's heads-up move is unlikely to cost the Eagles in a negative way.

''That's the kind of player Brent is,'' guard Todd Herremans said. ''He always puts the team first and before his own accolades.''

Then there's Avant, a slot receiver who does whatever it takes to win. Avant doesn't get the ball thrown his way as often as DeSean Jackson or Riley Cooper, but he contributes with downfield blocks to spring LeSean McCoy for big gains.

Avant drove cornerback Bill Bentley to the ground and blocked him into safety Louis Dumas on McCoy's 57-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.

Jason is on the sideline asking me: `Can we run the ball my way?''' Kelly said. ''I don't know how many wide receivers in this league are asking to have the ball run their way, but I think that's kind of a testament to the team we have right now.''

Avant's whatever-it-takes attitude is contagious.

''We are just trying to do everything we can to win,'' Avant said. ''As a receiver you want to catch passes, but if you don't get that opportunity there are other ways you can help. If that's what we need to do in order to win, I'll do it.''

After winning three straight games at the Linc following a franchise-worst 10-game losing streak at home, the Eagles hit the road to play Minnesota (3-9-1).

They return home to face the Bears (7-6) in a prime-time game on Dec. 22 and finish up at Dallas (7-6) in a game that could decide the division.

The Eagles are 4 1/2-point favorites against the Vikings and it would be easy to overlook them with two tough opponents looming on the schedule. But the coaching staff has cautioned players not to take any team lightly.

''We hit the reset button,'' offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. ''Our guys believe in the process that we go through each week. The veterans that have been around here have helped them. They've been really good about putting the last game to bed and moving on. We talk about this being the best Tuesday of the year, and they've embraced it.''

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

---

Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP-RobMaaddi

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Deone BucannonJul 24 11:32a

Arizona Cardinals S Deone Bucannon was not dropped into the starting lineup during offseason workouts, as the team has faith in FS Tony Jefferson and FS Rashad Johnson. He [ More ]

Ray RiceJul 24 11:31a

Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice will be suspended for the first two games of the season, according to sources. The announcement is expected Thursday, July 24.

Blake BortlesJul 24 11:22a

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles' lower-body mechanics likely will be revised. Bortles' flaw has been over-reliance on his right arm when throwing; he doesn't use his legs enough. A [ More ]

Mikel LeshoureJul 24 11:14a

Detroit Lions RB Mikel Leshoure is currently believed to be the fourth tailback on the club behind RBs Reggie Bush, Joique Bell and Theo Riddick heading into training camp [ More ]

Justin BlackmonJul 24 10:53a

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon was arrested for possession of marijuana Wednesday, July 23, in Oklahoma.

Jordan PalmerJul 24 10:52a

Chicago Bears QB Jordan Palmer still has the first shot at winning the backup quarterback job, according to head coach Marc Trestman.

R. Griffin IIIJul 24 10:22a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III's designed running plays might be 'few and far between,' according to head coach Jay Gruden. He still has the green light to scramble [ More ]

Daniel FellsJul 24 09:42a

New York Giants TE Daniel Fells has received the first snap in 11-on-11 drills during the team's two days in training camp. Kellen Davis and Adrien Robinson have [ More ]

Ahmad BradshawJul 24 08:33a

Indianapolis Colts RB Ahmad Bradshaw (neck) has been cleared to practice. Bradshaw is an RB4, but he could be worth more if Trent Richardson fails to produce again.

Roddy WhiteJul 24 08:33a

Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White signed a four-year extension with the team that will keep him under team control for the next five years, according to sources.

Donald ThomasJul 24 08:33a

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (hip) and OG Donald Thomas (quadriceps, biceps) have been cleared to practice.

Josh GordonJul 24 08:23a

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will have his appeal hearing for his one-year suspension Aug. 1.

Greg OlsenJul 24 01:43a

Carolina Panthers TE Greg Olsen said he is tired of hearing criticism about Carolina's new receiving corps, which is largely made up of journeymen and unproven commodities. Olsen added [ More ]

Aldon SmithJul 24 01:13a

San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith is expected to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in the near future, which likely would lead to a decision on any discipline for Smith.

Anthony BarrJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings LB Anthony Barr was with the team for just a few days during offseason workouts due to NFL rules. Head coach Mike Zimmer is eager to see [ More ]

Sharrif FloydJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings DT Sharrif Floyd had a good offseason, but head coach Mike Zimmer thinks the defensive tackle is trying to be too fine. 'Sharrif has a lot of [ More ]

C. PattersonJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson will remain on kickoff returns despite an expanded role in the offense this season. 'We want our best players to get their hands on [ More ]

Montell OwensJul 23 11:23p

Detroit Lions FB Montell Owens has company, as the team will employ a more traditional fullback in the offense. They signed FB Jed Collins for the role. Owens is [ More ]

Harrison SmithJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings safeties Jamarca Sanford and Andrew Sendejo will be battling during training camp and the preseason for the starting job opposite FS Harrison Smith. 'That will be interesting, [ More ]

Matt CasselJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings QBs Teddy Bridgewater and Matt Cassel saw a majority of the snaps during spring workouts, but QB Christian Ponder has a chance to start, and head coach [ More ]

Chad GreenwayJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings LB Chad Greenway could be used as the starting middle linebacker, according to head coach Mike Zimmer. 'It's a possibility. We keep working him in there. We're [ More ]

Troy NiklasJul 23 10:23p

Arizona Cardinals TE Troy Niklas (hand) has been cleared to participate in training camp, and was working Wednesday, July 23.

Dan WilliamsJul 23 10:23p

Arizona Cardinals NT Dan Williams will open training camp as the team's starting nose tackle with NT Alameda Ta'amu (knee) on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) list.

Johnny ManzielJul 23 10:23p

Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine thinks QB Johnny Manziel needs to increase dedication to earn the starting job. 'I think he knows that in order to compete well, [ More ]

Theo RiddickJul 23 10:23p

Detroit Lions RB Theo Riddick has the chance to break into the rotation at tailback, and he has drawn considerable praise from his teammates and coaches for his development [ More ]

Joique BellJul 23 10:23p

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell (nee) missed most of the offseason due to a knee injury, although he has said his condition is minor and he expects to be [ More ]

Jed CollinsJul 23 10:23p

The Detroit Lions are re-incorporating the traditional fullback into their new offensive scheme this season, and that's why they went out and signed FB Jed Collins.

Cheta OzougwuJul 23 07:23p

New Orleans Saints DE Cheta Ozougwu (undisclosed) cleared waivers and was transferred to the Saints' Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, July 23.

Billy WinnJul 23 06:53p

The Cleveland Browns placed OL Chris Faulk (undisclosed), DE Billy Winn (undisclosed) and LB Tank Carder (undisclosed) on the non-football injury list Wednesday, July 23.

Kyle OrtonJul 23 06:33p

Free-agent QB Kyle Orton (Cowboys) does not want to retire and wants to play in 2014, according to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

Conner VernonJul 23 06:23p

The Cleveland Browns placed CB Royce Adams, LB Brandon Magee and WR Conner Vernon on the no-recall waivers list Wednesday, July 23.

Terrance WestJul 23 06:23p

Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns RB Terrance West (undisclosed) said on his Twitter page that he passed his conditioning test and people need to 'stop making up your [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group