Eagles still trying new things over final 4 games
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Cullen Jenkins was shocked to find a sizable media throng in front of his locker more comparable for a playoff week than another meaningless game for the Philadelphia Eagles.
"I think you guys confused me with Nick Foles," Jenkins said, laughing.
Don't worry, Cullen. Foles, the rookie QB, had his moment with the media later in the day. But Jenkins, a ninth-year defensive tackle, was needed to shed some light on why coach Andy Reid decided this week to fire defensive line coach Jim Washburn and bring back Tommy Brasher.
Yes, the Eagles' play has bordered on pitiful this season, especially from a punchless line. But Reid's decision to make a change with four games left in a 3-9 season had as much to do with Washburn's prickly personality as it did an underachieving unit. Washburn was known for being abrasive and acting confrontational with other coaches. Stuck in his old-school ways, the approach wasn't tolerated anymore on a lousy team, especially since his unit was one of the main culprits.
Jenkins, who has two sacks this season after combining for 12½ the previous two, said Wednesday it was weird returning to practice and not hearing Washburn and his unique ways of firing up his players. Jenkins defended Washburn's approach but understood others might not see the value of his methods.
"Some people could take it the wrong way," Jenkins said. "Looking from the outside in, they might not understand it. He was just trying to get us to play hard.'
Outside in? Try, inside out. After all, it was Reid who made the call just hours after the team's eighth straight loss, 38-33 at Dallas Sunday night.
Standing on the practice field, Reid declined to rehash all the details of the split with Washburn. His praise of Brasher, in his third stint with the Eagles, really said it all.
"He's all about the team," Reid said.
Even with his 14-year tenure seemingly entering the final weeks, Reid is still trying to find ways to fix the problems that have plagued them during this season to forget. Washburn's wide-nine defensive line alignment is all but scrapped. Nick Foles took first-team snaps knowing he'd be the starting quarterback the rest of the season, and Bryce Brown continues to play well in place of injured running back LeSean McCoy.
Despite the troubles, at least on the surface, Reid still sees a determined team.
"I see guys, they're upset that they're not winning, absolutely," he said. "Their preparation, they're working their tail off to get better. That's an important thing at this point."
At least publicly, Reid doesn't believe his players have quit on him, so he's tried to rid the locker room of the "me-first" men that could rub off on the next generation of Eagles. Jason Babin, a Washburn protege, was the first one dumped. Washburn wasn't pleased with the decision to part with Babin and reportedly threatened to quit. So Reid fired him.
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