Eagles Notes: Hobbs, Justice win praise
There were two interesting moments on either side of the Eagles' winning locker room yesterday at Lincoln Financial Field. On one side, kick returner Ellis Hobbs was greeted by owner Jeffrey Lurie as he dressed following the team's 40-17 rout of the New York Giants.
There were two interesting moments on either side of the Eagles' winning locker room yesterday at Lincoln Financial Field.
On one side, kick returner Ellis Hobbs was greeted by owner Jeffrey Lurie as he dressed following the team's 40-17 rout of the New York Giants.
"Great job," Lurie told Hobbs. "You set the tone for the entire game."
On the other side, offensive tackle Winston Justice was approached by coach Andy Reid after he finished talking to reporters.
"He told me that was a lot better than last time," Justice said.
Both remarks were accurate.
Hobbs set the tone when he returned the opening kickoff 35 yards to the Eagles' 40-yard line and gave them great field position for a three-play drive that resulted in a touchdown.
The next time Hobbs touched the ball, he returned it 39 yards to the Eagles' 46, setting up a 54-yard touchdown pass from Donovan McNabb to DeSean Jackson.
A year ago with New England, Hobbs was second in the NFL with a 28.5-yard kickoff-return average, and he also has three career returns for touchdowns, including one of 108 yards. But through six games and 14 returns this season, he had a 24.2-yard average, which ranked 17th in the league.
"I've been great at it every year," Hobbs said. "It has just been one of those things where you have a lot of young guys out there and a lot of guys you haven't performed with, and today we just kind of clicked on all cylinders."
Hobbs said he thinks there are more good returns in his future.
"I expect to make big plays," he said. "I think even when I haven't had big returns, they've seen how hard I run, and I try not to let one man stop me."
Hobbs said it felt "real good" to be lauded by Lurie.
"Right now, though, everybody is riding on cloud nine, so if I want to keep getting those handshakes, I have to keep doing it," he said.
Justice got a compliment from his head coach after playing a strong game against the team that defined the first three years of his career because of how poorly he played in his only career start before this season.
When it was suggested that the Eagles gave Justice a lot of help against defensive end Justin Tuck, Reid said that wasn't the case.
"I thought Winston played very well just on his own," Reid said. "On most of our plays, he wasn't being helped. Both of their ends are great players. We helped out [left tackle Jason Peters], too, so it was pretty balanced there in terms of when we helped and who we helped."
Justice declined to say there was any special significance in having a good game against the Giants.
"All glory to God and not me," he said. "I've grown as a person since that game."
Reid said that even if rookie safety
Victor "Macho" Harris
had not been inactive with a sprained ankle, veteran
would have been the starter at free safety against the Giants. It was Jones' first start with the Eagles.
"He was going to be the base guy and the nickel guy," Reid said. "I thought he did a decent job, but with safeties, you have to look at the film and see how things went.
Jones, who signed as a free agent in the off-season, was credited with six tackles, including one for a loss, and a quarterback hurry.
Second-year safety Quintin Demps also received playing time and came up with his first career interception late in the first half to set up a touchdown pass from McNabb to Jeremy Maclin.
As expected, running back
did not play after suffering a concussion a week ago at Washington. A team source said Westbrook had recurring headache problems when trainer
tried to put him through exercise testing to see how he was recovering.
Reid said after the game that Westbrook was doing well yesterday.
"He actually feels pretty good right now," the coach said. "I kind of took the cautious route. I think it was important we didn't force the issue."
injured his right quadriceps in the first half. He returned in the second half only to injure his right hamstring. Rookie
Defensive end Chris Clemons sprained a shoulder joint and did not return. Defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley returned to the field after suffering a knee injury.
Jackson, the wide receiver, has six touchdowns of 50 yards or more this season, tying the team record set by
in 1962. The NFL record of eight is shared by
Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch
(2007). . . . The Eagles' 23-point margin of victory was their largest over the Giants since a 24-0 win on Dec. 1, 1996. . . . The Eagles' 5-2 start is their best since they were 7-0 in 2004. . . .
string of 171 straight extra points ended when the Giants blocked an attempt in the first quarter. . . . The Eagles have 14 interceptions this season, one fewer than all of last season and four more than they had in 2007.