BRYCE BROWN MIGHT HAVE TO SHARE
An awful lot changed for Bryce Brown in a week, and more change might be looming.
Brown returned to the Nova-Care locker room Monday the day after the Tampa Bay Bucs proved he was not the most amazing NFL rookie running prospect ever, after all, and one of the first things he heard was that LeSean McCoy has passed concussion testing and might practice Tuesday.
It still seems unlikely McCoy will play Thursday, when the Eagles host the Cincinnati Bengals, because he still has to get the OK from an independent neurologist, and this is a really short timeframe. But it suddenly seems much more possible McCoy will play again this season, and probably not just here and there to spell Brown, who ran for 347 yards in his first two starts.
McCoy looked himself, walking throught the locker room, but turned down requests to speak.
Nobody knows how this is going to fit together when McCoy and Brown are both healthy, whether it's later this month or next season. If it's next season, we don't even know the coach or the scheme.
"I shared it with Dion [Lewis]," Brown said, when asked if he is willing to share the backfield. (Lewis got one carry for minus-4 yards Sunday. Pretty sure that won't be the plan with Shady, Bryce.) "I think it's great. The more talented guys we've got in our corner, the better chance we have of winning."
Brown ran a dozen times in Tampa, for 6 net yards, and the worst part was, one of the runs went for 11 yards, helping set up the Eagles' opening field goal. So the other 11 carries totaled minus-5.
Not that it was Brown's fault. The Bucs entered the game first in the league against the run, and they proved they deserved that ranking. Sometimes when Brown was taking handoffs, Nick Foles' hands weren't the ones closest to him. He was regularly met in the backfield by more than one Buc.
"They stunted a lot," Brown said. "It was just their day, because they stunted into everything we were going to, and the safeties did a good job, and the corners did a good job of cutting everything. They were right where they needed to be to stop the run."
Brown was a top national high school prospect who barely had a college career, bouncing from Tennessee to Kansas State to the draft last spring. Had he ever compiled more runs than yards?
"I can't really remember it, so I'll go with never. First time for everything," he said.
* If you wanted to design a play to lose yardage consistently against a physical, aggressive run defense, that shotgun draw the Eagles kept running Sunday would sure do the trick.
* Wanted to see the Eagles' offensive line do a better job of building on its Dallas performance. Wasn't terribly impressed, though the two late comeback drives were better that what transpired earlier, in terms of sacks and pass-rush pressure. "We knew they were going to move a lot. That's difficult for any offensive line,'' rookie right tackle Dennis Kelly said Monday. "All their stunts and everything like that, we did have a hard time with it.''
* Long snapper Jon Dorenbos told the Eagles' website he didn't get the right rotation on the field-goal ball Alex Henery didn't hit well enough to put through from 31 yards. After the game I asked holder Mat McBriar, who said he didn't know whether he got the laces out or not (he didn't), which seemed puzzling, but I assume McBriar was just trying to steer clear of fingering Dorenbos, who makes a mistake regularly, every 7 or 8 years, by my count.
* According to the esteemed Reu-ben Frank of CSNPhilly.com, Nick Foles was the third rookie quarterback ever to throw for 380+ yards, at least two TDs, and no interceptions. Andrew Luck did it earlier this year, and Marc Bulger did it in 2002.
* A few Eagles rookies seemed absolutely dazed and amazed Monday by the prospect of having just a 4-day gap between games. Let's hope Foles isn't in that camp.
* Bucs wideout Vincent Jackson caught six passes for 131 yards, but no other Tampa Bay receiver managed more than 19 yards. Partly because Josh Freeman was terrible, partly because the Eagles actually played the coverages the way they were supposed to be played.
* The most impressive thing about Foles' performance might have been how he handled that aforementioned pass-rush pressure, sliding around the pocket, keeping his eyes downfield, finding lanes. This was light-years ahead of where Foles was in his first start, Nov. 18 at Washington.
That firing Jim Washburn would make Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie play better?
Remember when we used to puzzle over the fact that the Eagles hadn't beaten anyone by more than two points? They still haven't. Not such a pressing concern anymore, though.
Some intrepid folks were trying to work the gee-despite-the-win-you-were-eliminated-from-playoff-contention angle in the locker room Monday. Of the handful of Eagles available after a brief practice, nobody seemed shocked they weren't going to the postseason.
"It felt great to win, especially under the circumstances, with a lot of young guys in, a lot of key players out in key positions," tight end Clay Harbor said. Despite how the question was phrased, Harbor didn't even mention the playoffs.
"We weren't really even thinking about it that way," right tackle Dennis Kelly said. The Eagles' minuscule chances disappeared when the other three NFC East teams all won. "We were just worried about the one game. Unfortunately, like you said, other things fell into place."
Defensive end Trent Cole said: "We needed this win, and we needed some positivity to be going on around here. Losing, and the way we've been losing ... it starts to become emotional, and having a win is just great for us as a team, and as fans as well."
This is the first time Andy Reid has missed the playoffs in back-to-back years, and it will be the Eagles' first losing season since 2005.