Eagles right tackle Winston Justice is writing a weekly column for the Daily News this season. His column appears Wednesdays.
THE GAME on Sunday was the most dramatic comeback win I've ever been a part of in all my years playing football. It was like living a scene from a movie where Michael Vick played the starring role. It is unbelievable how Michael almost singlehandedly brought the team back to victory. Even when I watched the film on Monday, I still can't believe his athleticism. I think Michael is the only quarterback in the NFL who could have executed a comeback like that. And, yes, I'm including Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in that statement. Neither one of them could have done what Vick did. Both would have dropped back, seen no one open, and the drive would have stalled. Nobody in the NFL can make the plays that seem to be instinctual to Michael Vick.
There was a downside to the Giants game; we cannot play three quarters of below-average football and expect to win in the last 7 minutes. We did not execute offensively or defensively in the first three quarters. Sunday was kind of a sweet blessing because even though we ultimately won the game, we also gained the knowledge that we can't win when we start slow and play mistake-prone football like we did against the Giants.
This past Sunday, as we were on the team bus driving from the hotel to the stadium before the game, one thing that stuck out in my mind was how all the fans were giving us the bird and how much they looked like they sincerely hated us. There's nothing like playing a division rival in their territory - the emotion and intensity carries over to the fans, too. In fact, my family was at the game and watched DeSean Jackson's mom get pushed by a Giants fan in retaliation for her zealous cheering after the big win. It's unfortunate that fans take it that far. The only pushing and shoving should be done on the field.
Where do we go from here? As a team we need to stay focused and clean up all the mental errors. I want to give a big shout out to Chris Peduzzi, the assistant trainer who gave me a call last night, warning me not to be late to treatment (even though I never am). Coach Reid was on the prowl, handing out hefty fines for anyone trying to cut corners. I have to hand it to coach Reid, he always knows after a big win, the players need to stay grounded - especially when it comes to doing the small things that make us better. If we can stay disciplined doing the little things, we can definitely stay disciplined in the big games when it counts.
Prior to writing this column, I did check out Sheil Kapadia's Playoff Scenarios on philly.com, so of course I know how important these last two games are to the playoff seeding.
It can be spelled out in three words: WE MUST WIN.
Here's a letter:
What type of workout program would you suggest to a young talented freshman high school football player currently 6-6, 230 pounds. He is currently attending winter workouts with his high school teammates. Would you suggest for his parents to send him to a private workout guru or maintain the mental and physical balance of being with his teammates during workouts. Thank you.
Gary, If your son has time, he should do both. Mind you, I didn't start playing football until I was 16 so he does have time. But you should always do extra. Even now I do extra. I work out with the Eagles and I also work out on my own with Power Train Sports, and their training staff. Their website is www.powertrainsports.com. I like to work on different attributes of my game. In the offseason, I even throw in some mixed-martial arts training. For a high school freshman I would recommend focusing on speed and explosion. Strength will come as your son matures physically. But if he is truly 6-6 as freshman, maybe he should be playing basketball, too.
Thank you to John Clough, holding it down for Eagles fans in Alaska. And Michael Pallante all the way over in Alicante, Spain. Hopefully the Philadelphia Eagles will make it out to Europe for a game!
I also did enjoy hearing from RJ Falls and the West Deptford High School football team. What a blessing hearing from young kids doing well in sports and in school. RJ and his friends put together a little rap for the team, and even I got a mention: "Our line rolls so heavy, forklift couldn't lift 'em, And we got Laws and Justice, like the court system."
Have a question for Winston? Send your question, along with your name and town to
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