BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) — With little talk about how great they are going to be in the upcoming season, the Philadelphia Eagles already have taken a different approach.
The challenges haven't changed, though. Not even close.
In fact, the obstacles placed in their way heading into the 2012 schedule might be more formidable than the self-created hurdles of a year ago.
You remember the Dream Team proclamations, the Super Bowl expectations, the Philly phanatics going wild about all the additions to the roster. That team thought so highly of itself, then plummeted.
But at least those Eagles didn't have to overcome tragedy.
Now, weeks after the death of coach Andy Reid's son Garrett in a dormitory room at the Eagles' Lehigh training camp, this team has found the right perspective.
"I know that we are very tough," Michael Vick said. "We are a very tough football team. I know we have guys on this team who care and who want to win. We'll go the extra mile to make sure that we have a great chance of having success. That's gratifying."
The Eagles (No. 8 in the AP Pro32) have rallied around Reid, who returned to his job just days after his son was buried — citing what Garrett's preferences would have been. It's exactly the reaction expected by general manager Howie Roseman, the man who brought such talents as cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, defensive end Jason Babin and defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, running back Ronnie Brown, quarterback Vince Young and receiver Steve Smith to Philadelphia for a 2011 title run that never came close to happening.
"Bringing a team, an organization together, it comes through in moments like that," Roseman said. "It shows how much you care for each other, and these guys all respect and care for Andy. There is that support for one another on all levels."
Reid senses it, too, noting the togetherness of these Eagles.
"As a coach, you are in the middle of it and want to see certain things that build you as a team," said Reid, who enters his 14th season in charge of the Eagles. "It didn't happen soon enough last year, so we need to make sure it happens this year. Sure we were able to finish strong, but it was not good enough. Now, we need to make sure we're good enough."
Are they, in a division with the Super Bowl champion Giants, the Cowboys and the seemingly improved Redskins?
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