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Celek: 'Teams come in here and laugh at us'

john gonzalez csnphilly

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 04:28 AM


Celek: 'Teams come in here and laugh at us'

November 27, 2012, 1:19 am

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Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith dubbed the game “the battle of the bads.” That makes the Eagles really bad. Especially bad. The baddest of the bad.

Put another way, they’re not good. And they know it.

The Eagles lost to the Carolina Panthers, 30-22, on Monday night (see Instant Replay). It was the Birds' seventh consecutive loss. They are now 3-8 and tied for the worst record in the NFC.

When it was over, Brent Celek stood in front of his locker and answered questions. He has done that all season. No matter how ugly things get, Celek refuses to hide. That is to his credit, not that he would (or should) accept back pats considering how grim the year has been.

“I’m embarrassed of losing, to be honest,” Celek said. “To be a team that was considered basically one of the powerhouse teams in this league, and to probably have teams come in here and laugh at us? That’s embarrassing. I don’t want to be part of something like that. I want to turn it around. I want to win games. Like I said, it makes me sick.”

Go back. Read that again – particularly the part about the Eagles being a punch line for other teams in a never-ending, season-long comedy of errors and misery.

Is the opposition really laughing at the Eagles?

“Probably,” Celek said. “I would be. Look at how we’re playing.”

The man has a point. Just when you think the Eagles have hit bottom, when you think they’ve found the floor, when you are certain they can’t sink any lower, they dig deeper into their own despair.

Football fans across the country – some of them, anyway – watched it all unfold on Monday evening on national TV. Maybe, like Celek said, they also laughed at the Eagles or shook their heads before turning the channel to pro wrestling or that Lindsay Lohan made-for-TV movie that everyone has panned.

That’s how bad the Eagles have been this season. It’s hard to blame all the people – and there were lots of them – who didn’t even bother to show up to Lincoln Financial Field. Why drive all the way down to South Philly to watch that mess when the fridge is still stocked with Thanksgiving leftovers? Frustration and anger taste better when served with a cold turkey sandwich.

It was harder still to blame the people – and there were lots of them – who left the Linc early. Why stick around on a cold November night when you can warm up the car and head home?

That is the type of year the Eagles are having. Stay home or leave early. Those are the options these days.

The old adage, the one Bill Parcells and coaches everywhere have long employed, is that you are what your record says. Their record says the Eagles have three wins and eight losses, and that no other NFC team is worse than them. Has that reality sunk in yet, or do they cling to the delusional refrain that they are somehow better than how they have performed?

“This is my team – of course I’m going to say we’re better than our record,” Jeremy Maclin said. “But we are 3-8. The only way to change that is to win football games.”

They haven’t won a football game in a long while. The last time the Eagles lost seven games in a row was 1994. Rich Kotite was the coach. The team started 7-2 – then fell apart each weekend for the rest of the year. The current Eagles incarnation might be even worse than Kotite’s crew.

Figuring out who’s to blame for the ongoing Birds debacle is next to impossible. There are too many candidates. The passing game mustered just 119 yards against the Panthers. The special teams, thanks to Brandon Boykin, fumbled the ball on a critical return. And the defense gave up 30 points, including two huge plays in the first quarter on broken coverages.

“It shouldn’t happen,” Andy Reid admitted. “It shouldn’t happen at all.”

Even the things that went right eventually went wrong. Bryce Brown rushed for 178 yards (a team record for rookies) and two touchdowns on 19 carries. It was an amazing night for him – until he lost two fumbles.

It was a sloppy performance all the way around. But that’s nothing new for the Eagles. Not this season.

“We weren’t disciplined enough,” Reid said.

No, they weren’t. Not in any facet.

But at least Alex Henery set the team-record for most consecutive field goals made. There were even fireworks to commemorate the occasion. You were probably thrilled about that.

E-mail John Gonzalez at jgonzalez@comcastsportsnet.com.

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 04:29 AM

The football laughs at Celek as it bobbles out of his hands.