Wednesday, August 24, 2005

T.O., McNabb on the same page?

According to Bob Grotz in the, the un-conjoined pair are just that, at least on the field. Here's what he said about a scene at today's practice:

It's been two weeks since Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens told off his head coach, his assistant coach and his Pro Bowl quarterback.

Two weeks since the Pro Bowl wide receiver was sent home suddenly from Lehigh University after telling Andy Reid to "shut up," offensive coordinator Brad Childress to stop speaking to him and later, everybody on his front lawn to count his sit-ups and free weight curls.

Two weeks since Owens called quarterback Donovan McNabb "a hypocrite."

The national soap opera has calmed so dramatically it seems like months since the lid blew.

At practice Wednesday, the same McNabb who warned Owens to keep himself and the entire McNabb family out of the receiver's business congratulated his previously frustrated teammate for a rugged touchdown grab in a red zone drill.

"Good job, good job!" McNabb implored.

Owens smiled.

Away from the bright lights of his news conferences, Reid seems comfortable that the worst has passed.

"It will work out," Reid said. "It will all work out. I'm not going to get into all the other stuff. I know he loves playing the game."

Reid thinks McNabb and Owens are communicating enough to get back to the Super Bowl. Without going into detail, the head coach sees his stars getting comfortable again with each other. Reid is convinced the offense can click.

"I'm sure it can," Reid said. "There's communication on the football field and that's the important part. T.O. is very coachable.

Read the rest of the story.

SEPTA resumes 'Sports Express'

From the 'News You Can Use' division:

PHILADELPHIA (PRNewswire) -- SEPTA's Broad Street Line is ready to welcome football back to town with "Sports Express" service to the Philadelphia Eagles first preseason home game on Friday, Aug. 26.

The Eagles will kickoff the home portion of their preseason schedule with a game against the Cincinnati Bengals at 7:30 p.m. at Lincoln Financial Field.

Sports Express trains will leave Fern Rock Transportation Center every 10 minutes from 5:45 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. en route to the South Philadelphia Sports Complex.

Nearly 15,000 fans used the SEPTA Sports Express service during the Eagles two preseason home games last year and more than 69,000 used the Broad Street Line to travel to Lincoln Financial Field during the 2004 season.

SEPTA Broad Street Line Sports Express service originates from Fern Rock Transportation Center with trains stopping only at Olney Transportation Center, Erie, Girard, Race-Vine, City Hall and Walnut-Locust Stations en route to Pattison Station. The express trip from City Hall to the South Philadelphia Sports Complex takes only about eight minutes. It is a 27-minute ride from Fern Rock. Local Broad Street Line trains are also in service throughout the day.

SEPTA also will open the lower level platform at Pattison Station before and after the game allowing for easier travel into and out of the station. After the game fans will find trains standing by to provide express and local service back to Fern Rock.

For additional service information, call SEPTA Customer Service at (215)
580-7800 or access the SEPTA web site at

Birds blew it banking on Buck

Add us to the growing list of critics who can't help but wonder what the Eagles were thinking when they re-signed running back Correll Buckhalter during the off-season, after he had missed two of the previous three seasons after major surgeries to each knee.

Make that three out of four, now that head coach Andy Reid confirmed today that Buckhalter had suffered a recurrance of the same injury that knocked him out last year -- a torn right patellar tendon -- after taking what appeared to be a minor hit during training camp at Lehigh earlier this month.

If memory serves correctly, Buckhalter tore up the ACL in his left knee before his sophomore season in 2002 simply making a cut during the first session of the first preseason mini-camp. No contact at all.

Knees, as we all know, are fragile pieces of machinery - especially for pro athletes and most especially for NFL running backs. Seen old-schoolers Earl Campbell (Oilers) or Larry Brown (Redskins) try to walk round lately? It's not pretty.

Add to that Buckhalter's occasional brushes with behavior problems -- a pot bust in November 2001 and oversleeping to miss a meeting and workout in 2003 -- to things we know about the team's current management: This is not an organization prone to extreme loyalty towards its players or taking major personnel risks, other than trading production for problems with Terrell Owens.

You can't help but wonder .... what were Joe Banner, Tom Heckert and Andy Reid thinking? Probably that signing Buck was a cheap investment, since the injuries had devalued him on the free agent market, and the risk was worth the reward.

After all, Buckhalter has shown flashes of greatness when healthy. With 586 yards on just 129 carries in 2001, he broke the Eagles' rookie rushing record set by Keith Byars in 1986. He also broke the club's single-game rookie mark with 134 yards on 21 carries in his first NFL start, against Arizona on Oct. 7, 2001.

But that was now three knee surgeries and almost four years ago.

As with Owens, the Eagles' brass can't help but be re-thinking that sort of risk vs. reward calculation. In Buckhalter's case, was it really worth it for a team with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations and no other running back as tall as even 5-foot-10?

First look: Eagles team capsule from AP

Here's what The Associated Press says in its annual pre-season capsule of the Birds (they like 'em):

PHILADELPHIA (13-3, 2-1 playoffs)

OPTIMISTIC: Eagles remain class of NFC East and can win fifth straight division title. Return most starters and have improved offense with additions of rookie RB Ryan Moats and rookie WR Reggie Brown, and return of G Shawn Andrews. Jim Johnson-coached defense is always a strength. Determined and hungry to win championship after coming close last season.

PESSIMISTIC: Must avoid post-Super Bowl letdown. Five of last six teams that lost Super Bowl didn't make playoffs in following season. Have to overcome distraction and disruption caused by disgruntled WR Terrell Owens. Loss of WR Todd Pinkston is magnified if Owens doesn't last the season.

ON THE RISE: RB Brian Westbrook, WR Greg Lewis, TE L.J. Smith, CB Sheldon Brown, SS Michael Lewis.

ON THE DECLINE: LT Tra Thomas, RT Jon Runyan.

EXPECT: NFC East championship with strong shot at reaching Super Bowl if Owens stays and plays whole season.