There was a lot of big talk coming out of the Philadelphia Eagles camp before the games started in earnest.
But along with ‘Dream Team’ crap came a cautionary tale from none other than Michael Vick.
“Nothing’s going to be given to us, and everybody is going to be gunning for us,” Vick said during training camp. “But we’re ready.”
Vick was right about the first part but given their 1-3 start, we’re not so sure about the second.
The Eagles’ season is not yet lost but they desperately need a road win on Sunday at Buffalo against the surprising Bills as they still have home-and-home games against both Dallas and Washington plus home dates against the Bears, New England and the Jets left on their schedule.
So they have got themselves into the position where they can’t let any more games get away from them as they did last Sunday in their shocking loss to San Francisco.
Nobody knows this more than Vick.
“The dream team thing is over,” Vick said in an interview with the team’s web site. “Now we just have to forget about everything that’s happened and take it one game at a time. That’s what I’ve sensed in the locker room. I sense change. Nobody’s happy about this.”
As for being 1-3, Vick added: “It’s the worst.”
Before the season started the Eagles no doubt looked at the road game in Buffalo as a breather, a sure win situation in a soft spot of their schedule. But so too was last week’s home game against the 49ers and look how that one turned out, a big lead squandered, no offence when it mattered.
“We’ve got to dig deep,” Vick said about what has to be done by the time they arrive in Buffalo. “It’s right there for everybody to see what is taking place, how it’s been done, what hasn’t been done and what needs to be done.”
Blowing 24-3 leads is not the stuff of playoff-bound teams.
“It’s unacceptable to give up a lead that size in the second half,” defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins said. “If we don’t win, we’re just a bunch of talented people who haven’t done anything, and there’s a lot of teams like that.”
The Bills, meanwhile, have their own problems.
Nobody called them a ‘Dream Team’ during their training camp but they came out and played like one in the opening three games when they raced to a 3-0 record.
Then last week against the Bengals they blew a 17-3 halftime lead.
It leads to two teams searching for an identity and a loss would shatter the dreams of both.
The Eagles look like a group of players who are not playing like a team.
“The biggest thing that we’re missing here is attitude,” Jenkins said. “You look around, you look how people are when things are going bad, you’re seeing there’s not that fire, that attitude, that mental toughness that you’re going to make it happen and we’ve got to get that, somehow, some way,
“Maybe it’s because everybody’s spending so much time adapting, trying to get to used to each other, but at some point the man in you has to come out.”
At the Bills camp this week, coach Chan Gailey was asked if he thinks the Eagles are a desperate team and if that poses any special problems.
“Everybody needs a win,” he replied. “You walk into any press conference, anywhere, and everybody will say the same thing. Everybody’s desperate. They’re no different than anybody else we play.
“I think a lot of times if you use the word desperate, then you start trying to do things you can’t do and that creates more of a problem than a solution.”
The solution awaits one team Sunday and a victory for either could go a long way in determining the fate of their respective seasons.