JEREMY MACLIN hustled downfield and threw blocks on at least a couple of key plays Sunday against the Jets. Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg noticed.
"Jeremy has been blocking like a madman, and you kind of expect that [from him], but he did a heck of a job in ways that sometimes you don't see, or don't get credit for," Mornhinweg said yesterday.
What makes a wideout a good blocker?
"Guts," Mornhinweg said. "The big, strong, physical guys are typically a little bit better, and he's a pretty strong and physical guy." Mornhinweg said wideouts coach David Culley emphasizes blocking and does a good job teaching it.
"You're helping your teammates," said Maclin, who seems finally close to 100 percent in his recovery from a hamstring injury. "That's the most important thing, you do anything you can to help your teammates."
Pittsburgh's Hines Ward is the patron saint of blocking wideouts, long known for punishing defenders downfield.
"He's just playing the game hard," Maclin said. "You see film of when the Steelers are playing, he's always blocking hard. I think that's how you become a complete player, and not just a playmaker."
Mornhinweg credited Maclin, quarterback Michael Vick (ribs) and right tackle Todd Herremans (ankle) for playing through pain the past few weeks.
Two years later, it still stings.
Eagles defensive end Juqua Parker, a Houston native, still hears about how the Cowboys drubbed the Eagles on consecutive weekends in Dallas to end the 2009 season; 24-0 in the season finale, then 34-14 in the wild-card playoff game.
"The games that stick in my mind was 2 years ago; we went down there and got crushed," said Parker, who has played at Dallas three times. "Those things don't leave. I'm going to take that anger down there with me."
Second-year linebacker Keenan Clayton loved the Cowboys as a boy in Sulphur Springs, Texas, 3 hours east of Dallas.
"If I take it from the perspective of, 'I'm going back home, I've got all these people coming to the game, I've really got to show up,' then I feel like I'm putting too much pressure on myself," Clayton said. "I'm going to try to stay calmer this time."
Last year at Dallas, Clayton, a rookie who was maybe a little too excited, injured his hamstring.
The Eagles have won the past 2 weeks despite turning the ball over three times on special teams and getting a punt blocked. As special-teams coordinator Bobby April noted yesterday, it's amazing the Birds are 2-0 in those games.
"We've had four major gaffes . . . those are major, major gaffes, and without a dominant performance by the defense in both games, really dominant, and really a dominant performance by the offense, we probably don't [win]. You can't do those two things in a game and generally win. Those are major gaffes. I mean, you just can't have a blocked punt. You lose a possession, and then they've got, not only do they have possession, they have great field position. And the same way with losing a punt or a kickoff, especially a kickoff.
"A kickoff comes right after they score, so you know, part of the mission of that kickoff-return team is to provide an immediate spark, have something, boom, we're right there, we're right back on you, either to come out of the half, we're coming on you, or they score, so what? Here we come. I've just got to do a better job of coaching them; I've just got to do a better job of relaying the importance of ball security, because it's not an occasional act. It's not like, 'OK, well, we fumbled three times, now we have to do a good job.' It's not segmented acts of securing the ball, it's an attitude; it's a mindset. I obviously haven't created it, because three in two games? Three is a lot for a year."
Cornerback Asante Samuel (hamstring) did not practice yesterday . . . Defensive tackles Cullen Jenkins (groin) and Trevor Laws (knee) were limited . . . Defensive end Darryl Tapp, who sat out against the Jets with a rib injury, practiced fully and said he would play in Dallas . . . LeSean McCoy was the leading vote-getter among running backs in fan balloting for the Pro Bowl, with 962,824 votes. Fans account for one-third of the total voting; players and coaches, who account for the remaining two-thirds, are choosing today and tomorrow.