Eagles starting right tackle Winston Justice writes a weekly column for the Daily News to provide his insights into the team. His columns appear Wednesdays.
Have a question for Winston? Send your question along with your name and hometown to
Winston will answer the best of those submitted in future columns.
IT IS ALWAYS GREAT to beat the Giants. It is good for our team and it is good for personal reasons, as you guys may know. Along with the normal butterflies before a big game, this past weekend I was dealing with a little more than usual for a pregame routine.
I wouldn't use the words superstition or bad karma, as I believe in a higher power, but Saturday morning after leaving practice, I was heading home to get dressed and get back on the team bus to New York when I was involved in a car accident.
Now, this accident wasn't just any car - I crashed into a marked police car. How's that for luck?
I believe I was traveling at safe speed through a green light when the car coming from the opposite direction attempted to make a left turn.
I'd like to think I have fast reflexes - maybe it's all the times I've practiced getting off the ball on the snap count - so as soon as I realized, this car is about to crash into my driver's side, I attempted to shift my body over to the passenger side.
Now this is not easy to do when you are 6-6 in a small Toyota Hybrid Prius, but I managed to avoid any serious bodily harm. Unfortunately, I had to travel up to New York on the team bus with an ice pack on my swollen knee. But I was just grateful to make it out of Saturday alive and well.
Q & A
Winston: We hear a lot about defenses getting the "timing" and "cadences" of an offense when being successful (broadcasters have repeatedly noted that Eli Manning shouting "Omaha" immediately before the snap could be a sign for the defenses). Could you shed some light on how offenses, especially those of you in the trenches in the front line, adjust your timing presnap and how that impacts plays? Aman Alexander, South Orange, N.J.
Thanks, Aman. Are you sure you're not someone sent in from one of our opponents coming up? Everything is really based on getting off the ball as fast as you can. I don't really know about the Giants' offense, but I would assume "Omaha" would refer to Eli reading a blitz from the defense and changing the play. Often, defenders try to guess the snap count and that's why offenses need to change up the snap count regularly, so defenses don't get the extra step. Let's say the snap count is "Ready, Set, Go" and the defense knows the ball will be snapped on "Go." They will start going on "Set" just to get that extra jump off the ball. You might think that would lead to a penalty, but when you are dealing with fractions of seconds, their moves often end up being just on time.
There are two types of cadences that teams use. One is a verbal cadence from the quarterback and the other one is a silent count from the center. Half the game for the players in the trenches is becoming an expert at getting off the ball or reading the cadence. It takes a long time to master.