Unselfish play key for first-place Eagles

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 10, 2013 at 6:21 pm •  Published: December 10, 2013
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — From Jason Avant's blocks to Brent Celek sliding short of the end zone to run out the clock, the Philadelphia Eagles have a group of unselfish players.

That's part of the reason they're positioned to go worst-to-first.

The Eagles (8-5) were in sole possession of first place in the NFC East when they took the field for an indoor practice Tuesday.

Chicago's win over Dallas on Monday night gave Philadelphia a one-game lead with three to go.

So, the Eagles control their playoff hopes. If they win out, they'll secure their first NFC East title since 2010 and at least the No. 3 seed in the conference.

It's an impressive turnaround for a team that finished 4-12 last season.

But rookie coach Chip Kelly instilled a new attitude along with his innovative offense and players have bought into his philosophy from the start.

Unselfishness is a priority.

"The people we have here is a great place to work," quarterback Nick Foles said. "It's an honor to be a Philadelphia Eagle because of the people here. We hold each other accountable and we play for each other. That's why I love it here."

Players care more about the team's success than individual stats. A prime example came at the end of Sunday's 34-20 victory when Celek caught a pass from Foles and had a clear path to the end zone.

But he slid into a pile of snow at the 10-yard line so the Eagles would run out the clock instead of giving the ball back to Detroit with just under two minutes left.

Point differential is far down the list of tiebreakers, so Celek's heads-up move is unlikely to cost the Eagles in a negative way.

"That's the kind of player Brent is," guard Todd Herremans said. "He always puts the team first and before his own accolades."

Then there's Avant, a slot receiver who does whatever it takes to win. Avant doesn't get the ball thrown his way as often as DeSean Jackson or Riley Cooper, but he contributes with downfield blocks to spring LeSean McCoy for big gains.



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