Friday, December 16, 2005

Waiting For Next Year Can Wait

The past few weeks, when the games mean nothing, at least concerning a postseason berth, the same comments could be heard from one locker to another by virtually all the Eagles. Yes, the game didn't have actual importance, but the players are still taking this seriously, even though the Eagles are 5-8 team playing another 5-8 squad, the St. Louis Rams.
"I don't care if it's kickball, if you have somebody with different jersey, you want to beat them," Eagles defensive end N.D. Kalu said.
This is true, but there is another reason why so many Eagles don't want to letdown in the final three games - their livelihood is at stake.
The days where a player could pack it in late in the season are over. There are too many other players out there looking for employment.
Even veterans such as Eagles offensie tackle Jon Runyan can't take the final three weeks off. Runyan will be a free agent next season and if the Eagles don't re-sign him, there are 31 other teams to attempt to impress. No doubt his resume, which includes 141 consecutive NFL starts, will catch the eye of some teams if the Eagles choose to look in a different direction to fill their right tackle spot.
Unlike this season, next year's training camp should have a number of jobs on the line, both for the starters and reserves. This is the time for the players to accumulate a few extra brownie points with the coaching staff.
So even though there isn't the drama associated with a team on a playoff run, the players are approaching these games as their lives depended on it.
Many know if they want to remain in the NFL, then they can't be doggin' it the final three games. That is why the play should be spirited in St. Louis and the final two weeks in Arizona and home against Washington.
It may not produce the best of results, but the effort should be there. The Eagles coaches made it a point to tell the players that such a lackluster performance as their 42-0 loss to Seattle on Monday Night Football, won't be tolerated anymore.
And that is why the players on the Eagles do have a sense of urgency, even though they won't have anywhere to go in a football-sense, after New Year's Day.