Eagles have lost that winning feeling
November 15, 2012, 3:32 pm
It’s been 46 days since they won a game. Forty-six days since they walked off the field with something to celebrate. Forty-six days since they had a reason to feel good about themselves.
An NFL season is 113 days long. So they’ve spent 41 percent of it doing nothing but losing.
“You want to go home after a game and relax and just enjoy the feeling,” LeSean McCoy said in quiet Eagles locker room Thursday. “But when you’re losing, you can’t. You can’t do it. Losing, it just hurts, man.”
The Eagles have lost five straight games, matching their fifth-longest losing streak since 1971. Their last win was back on Sept. 30, 19-17 over the Giants, a win that left them 3-1 a month into the season.
Nothing. Just loss after loss after loss.
“It’s just a weird feeling, knowing we’re such a good team and we’re capable of doing so much more,” McCoy said.
“It’s shocking, the position we’re in. Because we put the work in each week, the players we have, the coaches we have, I would definitely say it’s shocking we’ve gone so long without winning.”
The five-game losing streak is the Eagles’ longest in Andy Reid’s 14 years as a head coach and their longest since they opened the 1998 season with a five-game losing streak in Ray Rhodes’ final year.
They haven’t lost six straight games in a season since the last seven games of 1994, Rich Kotite’s final year.
“We haven’t had that winning feeling in a long time,” Clay Harbor said. “You just miss it. The feeling of winning a football game. We’ve got to get back to that.
“It’s tough when you don’t win. You don’t want to go out to eat during the week. You don’t want to go outside. You don’t want to go to a restaurant. It’s terrible. Just stay in and order out.”
At 3-6, the Eagles are tied for last place in the NFC East with the Redskins, whom they face at FedEx Field on Sunday afternoon.
They’re three games behind the division-leading Giants, although they do have a head-to-head win over the Super Bowl champs and a game remaining at the Meadowlands on the last day of the season.
Since the Giants still have the Packers, Redskins, Saints, Falcons and Ravens left, the Eagles believe they have a chance to make up some ground.
If they can just win a game or two.
“It’s tough, very tough,” Trent Cole said. “It’s hard losing games. Games that we should have won. It’s hard. Very hard. But, you know, it’s in the past and you have to put it behind you and move forward onto the next game.
“Eagles football. In the past, we’ve never given up. We’ve always managed to move forward and try to win games, and that’s what we’re going to do here. Nobody’s given up here. We’re in a positive direction right now in this locker room right now to go out and win games.”
Veteran linebacker DeMeco Ryans is perenially optimsitic and chronically positive, and he said he’s trying to get that attitude across to his teammates.
As bad as things seem right now, he preaches that it doesn’t accomplish anything to dwell on the past, to obsess over the losses and the losing streak.
“You just have to have a strong mind,” he said. “A lot of people can’t separate what’s happened in the past. I’m a guy [who believes] the past is the past, you can’t do anything about it, so don’t worry about it – it’s about what can we do moving forward. I don’t let the past control my mind and drag me down.
“That’s what I’m trying to show. Show the guys to be upbeat, be into what’s going on, have a lot of energy, and then that stuff will be behind you. Because if you focus on the negative things, it just continues to snowball.
“Yeah, you miss that feeling, that winning feeling. But you can’t dwell on it. You have to just go get it. Simple as that. Go get it. We still have a shot. Just have to handle our business.”
The Eagles have already lost more games than they did all year in 2002, 2003 or 2004. It’s only mid-November, and they’ve already matched the fourth-highest loss total ever under Reid.
From opening day 2002 through clinching the No. 1 seed 14 weeks into 2004, the Eagles lost 11 games. They’ve now lost almost half that in 36 days.
“It’s definitely not easy to continually lose, especially when you put in so much hard work every single day throughout the week and you don’t see the results,” Kurt Coleman said. “But this team believes in one another, believes in what we’re doing, and we still believe we can make the playoffs.
“Obviously, it’s not easy. We’ve dug ourselves a hole, but I do believe we have what it takes.
“For me, it’s always about being positive. I do believe we have a chance to make a run. But we can’t wait till next week. We have to get it done this weekend. We have what it takes. We’ve seen it at times, we just haven’t put it all together, and that’s what we have to start doing.”
The Carolina Panthers are the only NFC team with more losses than the Eagles. The Browns, Jaguars and Chiefs are the only AFC teams with more losses.
Another loss Sunday would drop the Eagles to 3-7 or worse for only the fourth time in the last 35 years.
The last two times they were 3-7 were 1986 and 1999, their first year under Buddy Ryan and Reid.
Last time they were 3-7 or worse under someone other than a first-year coach was 1977.
That’s 35 years ago.
“It’s tough,” Ryans said. “You don’t want to be in this position, but you have to be upbeat and you have to all about getting the next one, getting the first one in this case, just to jump start us.
“I see it coming around. I see it coming around. Attitudes changing. We can do this. We can turn it around and better be ready to turn it around this week.”
E-mail Reuben Frank at email@example.com
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Posted 15 November 2012 - 08:56 PM