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Eagles finally come together as a team

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys Getty Images

Back in late July/early August, as the Eagles were compiling a roster of stars, something was missing.  There indeed was a dream, but no sense of team.

Now, even with the Eagles’ dream officially dashed, the 53 players truly have become a team.

A strong sense of togetherness finally enveloped the locker room in the days preceding Sunday’s win over the Cowboys.  According to a source with knowledge of the situation, the players simply didn’t know each other in the early days of the season, and it took time for them to feel comfortable with each other.  They now do, and they had a strong sense of confidence about their chances of success in the postseason.

Thus, despite being eliminated from playoff contention, where the Eagles potentially would have been one of the most dangerous teams in the entire field, the players believe that, with a full season together and a complete offseason to continue to work toward the same goal, they’ll be a much better team in 2012.

Of course, the Dream Team will undergo inevitable changes, from a player and possibly a coaching standpoint.  Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo may have done enough down the stretch to stay.  Then again, maybe that all hinged on making it to the postseason.

From a personnel standpoint, the biggest question mark arises from the status of receiver DeSean Jackson.  After Sunday’s win over the Cowboys, he pointed to that sense of team in explaining his desire to stick around.

Our future is going to be bright,” Jackson said, via CSNPhilly.com.  “This is really our first year playing together with the new additions, and it’s a year under our belt, so next year we can come back and keep doing what we’re doing.”

And so the team with the highest expectations since the 2000 Redskins (who also failed to make it to the postseason) already is building excitement and, yes, high expectations for 2012.  The difference next year could be that the Eagles will have a much better chance of living up to that standard.

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65 Responses to “Eagles finally come together as a team”
  1. tnsteve says: Dec 25, 2011 7:01 AM

    Mike. Good morning. Merry Christmas. Now, go be with your family…

  2. speedlimit41 says: Dec 25, 2011 7:14 AM

    They are just another team that didn’t make the playoffs,no different then the rest.

  3. jimmysee says: Dec 25, 2011 7:15 AM

    A big part of that team is Andy Reid. Hope he stays.

  4. adm350 says: Dec 25, 2011 7:16 AM

    You brought them here for a reason Lurie. Let them finish what they started. Bring em all back (plus a LB or two, maybe a safety…..um, a cpl linemen, a big target receiver)….fly eagles fly….

  5. pastabelly says: Dec 25, 2011 7:18 AM

    They join the Red Sox as the biggest disappointments in sports in 2011.

  6. imongo says: Dec 25, 2011 7:27 AM

    Nice. I still hate the eagles, but look out next year. Merry Christmas Mike, I hope your 2012 is as good as your 2011.

  7. kitwor says: Dec 25, 2011 7:35 AM

    If the Eagles faithful would have been told prior to picking up these new additions that they would take a full year to gel, would we all have been for this? I don’t think so. This just appears to be another exuse being used to keep Fat Boy around longer.

  8. tatum064 says: Dec 25, 2011 7:36 AM

    The Eagles have landed….out of the playoffs….

  9. acasar123 says: Dec 25, 2011 7:48 AM

    Now Eagle’s fans will get to hear a bunch of reasons for why they should wait ’till next year! I have news for them…as long as they have that ex-con named Michael Vick under center, they’re going to hear the same excuses 12 months from now. Here’s a guy who has somehow managed for the last ten years to keep the promise of his greatness in the future while his pathetic fans forget that his past has produced absolutely nothing of value in terms of what NFL quarterbacks are judged by!

  10. blackqbwhiterb says: Dec 25, 2011 8:09 AM

    Who the hell remembers expectations for the 2000 Redskins????Although, I do recall they beat that great Ravens team that season….

  11. klee0384 says: Dec 25, 2011 8:09 AM

    They’ll never win a championship because their fans are the definition of “Front Runners”.

  12. mjposner says: Dec 25, 2011 8:11 AM

    Mike, you must be filled with Christmas spirit (or just spirits :) to write that about the Birds. Looking back, I see an offense that if they bring djack back and get a better second running back they will have a very good offensive season (assuming Vick stays health and they lower the turnovers).

    Defense needs help in the middle and at safety. Assuming they plug these holes, they should be a much better team.

    Merry Christmas to all…

  13. dolphins4 says: Dec 25, 2011 8:12 AM

    Dallas Sucks!

  14. bcjim says: Dec 25, 2011 8:19 AM

    Lmao. Please…they won a game utterly meaningless to the opponent…with no starting QB..

    Way to “come together” Eagles!!!

  15. richm2256 says: Dec 25, 2011 8:26 AM

    pastabelly says:
    Dec 25, 2011 7:18 AM
    They join the Red Sox as the biggest disappointments in sports in 2011.

    ——————————————————–
    The Red Sox at least had the best record in baseball, before crashing and burning.

    This team never even got off the ground.

  16. eigglesnosuperbowls says: Dec 25, 2011 8:49 AM

    Iam sorry did this band of underachievers come to together and do something Iam not aware of ! I have never in all my years of following football heard about a team that flat out stunk being so dangerous ! Ok,, since I have been brow beaten with this assumption I give the eiggles the most dangerous team of all time trophy ! Now they have to build a trophy case to put it in because they don’t have one!

  17. janvanflac says: Dec 25, 2011 8:49 AM

    As horrendous as the first 2/3 of their season was, keeping the team intact gives them by far the best chance of winning next year. Anyone who believes otherwise is insane.

  18. hus10188 says: Dec 25, 2011 8:52 AM

    Oh man, so that means we now have to hear a whole off season about the same ‘dream team’ that are now a shoe in to go 16-0 and win the superbowl in 2012.

    I’m getting a strong case of deja vu.

  19. sippindasyzurp says: Dec 25, 2011 8:54 AM

    For philly they will never be a great team if Mike Vick is always hurt for 4 games a season. I mean hes not as good as he used to be but he gives the eagles the best chance to win over vince young.

  20. bobbyhoying says: Dec 25, 2011 8:55 AM

    If the Eagles beat the Skins they’ll be 5 – 1 in their division. Has a team ever gone 5 – 1 in their own division and not won it? Any of you stat guys know?

  21. reidstinks says: Dec 25, 2011 9:02 AM

    Definition on insanity – repeat the same mistakes over and over again. You people are insane. “bring back Reid” and I love the “but with a LB and a safety” do you even read what you write?! The fact that we don’t have players at those positions is because of Reid. You are insane to think he is going to change and he is insane because he won’t change.

    FIRE REID bring back the players and get a coach that understands we need LBs and a safety

    PS – anyone notice how great Dawkins has been playing this year before he got hurt? Three years after Reid decided he was washed up.

  22. mattolikesthevikes says: Dec 25, 2011 9:03 AM

    This team could be good. Look at the heat. They didn’t go undefeated like people thought but they started to figure it out and made it to the finals. There is a lot more mo ing parts to football and it takes longer for the team to get in that type of flow. Retain Reid in my opinion and this thing will work. Or fire him so the wilfs can get him.

  23. dzor22 says: Dec 25, 2011 9:12 AM

    The only thing the Eagles proved was they are inconsistent and the media loves to declare them a good team when they finally win a game. In this case it was against Dallas; another team that is not very good and had nothing to play for. Another team that is ‘dangerous’ (??) is San Diego. It’s time you call them both what they are…not quite good enough. They are eliminated days after I heard a Philadelphia reporter say on Mike and Mike (ESPN radio) that if the Eagles made the playoffs they could “surely beat Detroit or Atlanta” (who they would meet in the first round). How about…’no’. Go home and talk about what could have been; if you were good enough.

  24. rugdaniels says: Dec 25, 2011 9:26 AM

    Next stop, preseason, where the Eagles really shine. Who needs an actual championship when you’re good on paper??

  25. jayaredee says: Dec 25, 2011 9:30 AM

    I am a GIANTS fan, so I don’t like the Eagles and enjoy their struggles this year. However going into next year Watchout! They came on strong this year, will have a full training camp and have 2 number one draft picks (They acquired one for Kevin Kolb).

    Barring injuires as much as I hate to admit it the Eagles are going to be very tough to beat next year.

  26. luckyarmpit says: Dec 25, 2011 9:44 AM

    As a Giants fan, I was rooting hard for the Eagles last night. Besides watching the Patriots lose, there are fewer things as satisfying as seeing the depair on Jerry Jones’ face… especially when his team loses in JerryWorld.

    As far as DeSean Jackon goes, he’s a talented athelete, but his arrogance and baggage makes for a tough decision. Do you keep him and take the risk/expense, or cut your losses and let him be someone else’s problem?

    At any rate, it’s too bad the Eagles peaked at the wrong time. They will be a dangerous team next year.

  27. jarheadjed says: Dec 25, 2011 9:46 AM

    Who are the Eagles?

  28. greymares says: Dec 25, 2011 10:14 AM

    if jackson fires Rosenhaus he gets paid tomorrow.

  29. eaglessuperfan says: Dec 25, 2011 10:18 AM

    All the excuses about not having had minicamps did in the end prove to be true. The sad thing is that many other teams did quite well without them. Of all the top teams in the NFL though the Eagles had the most changes. I just hope they have the guts to make the hard choices that could take this team to the very top of the league.

  30. lenmad3 says: Dec 25, 2011 10:25 AM

    Too little, Too late!

  31. fcs34 says: Dec 25, 2011 10:28 AM

    Somewhere Andy Ried smiles as his wife prepares the traditoinal xmas double turkey, one for him and one for the rest of the family

  32. thumpman says: Dec 25, 2011 10:30 AM

    Who says they’ll be anything next year….

    Vick will be 32 yrs old
    Babin 32
    Jenkins 31
    Nnamdi 31
    Samuel 31 (if he isn’t trades)
    Hansen 31

    These aren’t JAGS, these are key players (and before someone says Hansen was not a key player he was their best slot CB).

    Now, they might pick up right where they left off this year and be dominant….or they might start to show some signs of age and drop off a notch. The only thing we know for sure is that the iggles have gone another year without a SB…nothing new there. Enjoy watching the playoffs on TV, Dream Team!!

  33. pflynn20 says: Dec 25, 2011 10:36 AM

    I can’t wait to see how the Eagles spin this disaster of season in the offseason. Joe Banner prior to the 2011 season: “We are trying to win the championship every year,” Banner said then. “We went into each of the last few years believing we had . . . a good enough team to compete. And next year won’t be any different. . . . If we don’t win it next year, there’ll be nobody here making excuses or saying we needed another year to get the team ready to go. We’re not setting the bar any lower than going all the way and winning a championship.”

    “Next year” is over…Don’t be fooled by these last 4 games Eagles fans. This was easily Reid’s worst coaching job this year. 13 years of same old same old

  34. howley1 says: Dec 25, 2011 10:44 AM

    Best team to not make the playoffs ever! Third place. Can’t wait for more of the same next season.

  35. pkswally024 says: Dec 25, 2011 10:47 AM

    Anyone who calls philly fans front runners simply because we boo and get upset so passionately, has no clue what kind of fans we really are? When’s the last time you heard of an eagles game being blacked out???? Even through this down season, the Linc was packed. Families in front of their tv and we still attempt to believe. You couldn’t hack it in Philly, so stay in Kansas or Oklahoma or whatever Podunk city you live in.

  36. howley1 says: Dec 25, 2011 10:51 AM

    “At any rate, it’s too bad the Eagles peaked at the wrong time.”

    lolwut? The end of the season is the best time to peak. Assuming you can do better than 4-8 over the first 3/4 of the season.

  37. rollore says: Dec 25, 2011 10:52 AM

    I said at the beginning of the season that the roster looks good on paper, but we’ll have to see on the field. And I wasn’t impressed.

    Experience was the best teacher, not the Eagles’ coaches in 2011. And as for those teams who still played at a high level from last season, they didn’t make as many changes as the Eagles did.

    When you look at it, take a long look at this team and the rest of the league from a youth standpoint. This Eagles team right now is somewhere around the top five youngest team in the league based on an age-average. This hiccup they had will be all forgotten if this team can get it together during the off-season and additions in the draft in 2012.

    And expect DeSean Jackson to be taggeed if his contract isn’t fixed by then and expect a Lawrence Welk if your team tries to get him (a one, and a two)…..

  38. howley1 says: Dec 25, 2011 10:53 AM

    “Of all the top teams in the NFL though the Eagles had the most changes.”

    You seriously consider the Eagles one of the “top teams in the NFL”? Dude they may not even go 8-8.

  39. bleed4philly says: Dec 25, 2011 10:57 AM

    @ bobbyhoying

    The raiders went 6-0 in their division last year but finished 8-8 behind the chargers and chiefs. But there’s nothing wrong with rebuilding a team and almost making the playoffs, especially when we owned our division, now we just gotta own everyone else.

  40. howley1 says: Dec 25, 2011 11:04 AM

    “If the Eagles beat the Skins they’ll be 5 – 1 in their division. Has a team ever gone 5 – 1 in their own division and not won it? Any of you stat guys know?”

    Raiders went 6-0 and didn’t win their division last year. Otherwise, going back to 2002 (all 5-1)…
    49ers 2009
    Packers 2006
    Panthers 2006
    Redskins 2005
    Vikings 2005
    Rams 2004
    Cowboys 2003
    Seahawks 2003
    Broncos 2003
    Giants 2002

  41. sonopazzo6 says: Dec 25, 2011 11:06 AM

    amen!!!……..merry xmas to all!

  42. t16rich says: Dec 25, 2011 11:07 AM

    greymares says:
    Dec 25, 2011 10:14 AM
    if jackson fires Rosenhaus he gets paid tomorrow.

    Smartest comment on here in a while. Eagles will pay their players. They wont pay doosh bag agents that manipulate the mind of their clients though.

  43. eagleswin says: Dec 25, 2011 11:10 AM

    You had to expect the usual puff piece after the Eagles win a game. The Eagles beat a cowboys team down to it’s 3rd string QB and 3rd string RB who were playing to not get hurt and looking for a game next week that actually means something to them.

    Seriously, let’s not hail the resurrection of the mighty eagles until they win games that actually mean something.

    In the end my worst nightmare came true. They would win a few meaningless games at the end of the season that would prompt the media to clamor that the Eagles have arrived and no changes need to be made.

  44. tombrookshire says: Dec 25, 2011 11:22 AM

    This team will be awesome next season. It took all season to gel, but once they did, you can see tons of potential for a strong bid for the SB. Reid and Castillo stay. Jackson stays but at a more realistic pay for his value as the number 2 wideout. Samuel is gone and DRC takes over at his corner spot. Asomugha back to the pro bowl with the LT and RT, both pro bowlers anchoring the O line, and two improving rookies. I would look for most improved next season, wait for it, Casey Matthews at the Mike. There is no holding back those genes. Birds’ biggest off season challenge is not to waste their early round draft choices, which they do with aplomb with a fastasy football geek pulling the strings. Would have loved to have had Jason Pierre Paul, but instead got Brandon Graham in the first round, who will likely be out of football two years from now. How did they miss that one so badly? I guess when you put accountants and lawyers vs. football men in charge of your FO, you get those kinds of drafts. Kind of crazy though how Reid just signs off on everything they put in front of him without a minute of vetting.

  45. bkostela says: Dec 25, 2011 11:22 AM

    bobbyhoying says:
    Dec 25, 2011 8:55 AM
    If the Eagles beat the Skins they’ll be 5 – 1 in their division. Has a team ever gone 5 – 1 in their own division and not won it? Any of you stat guys know?
    ____________________________________

    the 2010 raiders went 6-0 in the afc west and missed the playoffs (kansas city won the division)

  46. laeaglefan says: Dec 25, 2011 11:41 AM

    Eagles will franchise DeSean Jackson and then trade him for a 3rd or 4th round draft pick. That team will recognize his talent and pay the man. Jackson will go on to become a superstar in the NFL and come back to haunt the Eagles many times over.

  47. thumpman says: Dec 25, 2011 11:53 AM

    Who says they’ll be anything next year….

    Vick will be 32 yrs old
    Babin 32
    Jenkins 31
    Nnamdi 31
    Samuel 31 (if he isn’t trades)
    Hansen 31

    These aren’t JAGS, these are key players (and before someone says Hansen was not a key player he was their best slot CB).

    Now, they might pick up right where they left off this year and be dominant….or they might start to show some signs of age and drop off a notch. The only thing we know for sure is that the iggles have gone another year without a SB…nothing new there. Enjoy watching the playoffs on TV, Dream Team!!

  48. eaglesfan94 says: Dec 25, 2011 11:54 AM

    Better late than never I guess, even if it is too late to really matter. If they can trounce the Redskins at home next week, maybe they can ride some momentum onto next season, hopefully following a defensive coordinator change and a good draft. Let’s go Eagles!

  49. kwk69 says: Dec 25, 2011 12:02 PM

    After next sunday, they can go be a team together on VACATION!!!!!

  50. Bob Messenger says: Dec 25, 2011 12:10 PM

    I’m tired of the whining and handwringing and the, oh boy, those eagles are dangerous now chatter. Know what, wake me up when they win something.

  51. Bob Messenger says: Dec 25, 2011 12:13 PM

    And by the way, Mike Vick is not the long term answer. Too brittle. Eagles need to get a young, potentially-good QB in the draft and develop him. Isn’t that Reid’s m.o., developing QBs.

  52. pftstory says: Dec 25, 2011 12:17 PM

    Remember, the wisdom was the teams with minimal changes would do well this year. The teams with more changes would struggle. Especially at the start of the year.
    Seems to fit the Eagles, a ton of new players, a bad start, then playing better as the season wore on. The a-hole QB being hurt I’m sure delayed things.
    I hope not, but dont be surprised if the 2012 Eagles don’t mimicthe 2011 Packers. Remember the Packers barely made the playoffs last year. We almost didn’t see that they had but it all together. It could be that is what the Eagles have done.
    Again….hope not.

  53. phillychzstk2012 says: Dec 25, 2011 12:29 PM

    Lmao. Please…they won a game utterly meaningless to the opponent…with no starting QB..

    Way to “come together” Eagles!!!

    ————————————————-

    dont forget the Eagles also kicked the s hit out of the cowboys earlier in the year as well WITH A STARTING QB….

    2011-2012 season Eagles: 54 Cowboys: 14

  54. oldbyrd says: Dec 25, 2011 12:54 PM

    adm 360…..A linebacker or 2 ? They all still stink. Tell me Reid was going to the Super Bowl with Casey Matthews. Brian Rolle? Give me a break. Reid”s judgement stinks.

  55. mjposner says: Dec 25, 2011 1:51 PM

    Reid”s judgement stinks.

    Sure, 9 winning seasons, 7th rated draft in the 2000s (http://tinyurl.com/638v5x5), 5 NFC championship games, 10 playoff wins. Obviously you know little about football if you think his judgment stinks. No team can be elite at all positions, so Reid focuses on areas that he believes matter most, offensive and defensive lineman.

    The Eagles biggest mistake this year was a tough schedule and too many turnovers. Who would have thought San Fran and Buffalo (when they were 5-2) would have been losses.

    Overall, the offense is set for next year (djack should be back), we have an extra 2nd round pick, and the linebackers improved as the year went on.

    Reid isn’t perfect but name one Eagles coach that was better (except Greasy Neal)

  56. luckyarmpit says: Dec 25, 2011 2:17 PM

    “lolwut? The end of the season is the best time to peak. Assuming you can do better than 4-8 over the first 3/4 of the season.”

    As in, they peaked when they had little to no playoff hopes. Sorry if that was too difficult to understand. Lolwut? *rolls eyes*

  57. norcaleagles says: Dec 25, 2011 2:19 PM

    BOBBYHOYING, Im not sure about 5-1 teams, but I know the raiders went 6-0 in their division last season and failed to make the playoffs.

  58. kingpel says: Dec 25, 2011 2:33 PM

    Once the pressure was off, the team played good. I suggest one major off season move. Get Vince Young and his big mouth as far away from this team as possible, as fast as possible.

  59. erlynx says: Dec 25, 2011 2:58 PM

    Way to finally come together as a team! When do pitchers and catchers report again?

  60. jobo50 says: Dec 25, 2011 3:22 PM

    I believe they led the league in turnovers>hard to win when you give the ball away alot. All they needed was to win 1 more game or 2 more and they would have clinched the division yesterday. The nfc east was up for grabs.Anyway you look at it an 8-8 season is mediocore in my book.Just saying I really believe if they got into the playoffs there is not one team out there who would want to play them now.

  61. otis52gsh says: Dec 25, 2011 3:56 PM

    Vick will never win it all as a starting QB. Get rid of him and your odds of winning increase dramatically.

  62. TheWizard says: Dec 25, 2011 3:57 PM

    After next sunday, they can go be a team together on VACATION!!!!!

    And right there is the secret to sports wisdom, my friends.

    You think those players are upset about that?

  63. choice1329 says: Dec 26, 2011 12:14 AM

    bcjim says:
    Dec 25, 2011 8:19 AM
    Lmao. Please…they won a game utterly meaningless to the opponent…with no starting QB..

    Way to “come together” Eagles
    ————————————————
    ————————————————

    Oh yeah they (Dallas) had a starting qb, he just got his a@@ knocked out of the game, btw he is the same qb that faced the Eagles 8 weeks ago, and played the entire game, and Dallas still got beat. Yep that’s the way to go.

  64. choice1329 says: Dec 26, 2011 12:21 AM

    otis52gsh says:
    Dec 25, 2011 3:56 PM
    Vick will never win it all as a starting QB. Get rid of him and your odds of winning increase dramatically.

    ___________________________________
    ___________________________________

    He has already won something or haven’t you noticed. Hating will get you absolutely nowhere.

  65. tigrrrr says: Dec 26, 2011 2:58 PM

    Dream team – lol
    Vick brings bad karma to Philly, ruins their season in 2011,,

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