In an attempt to get inside the heads of NFC East teams, we occasionally take a step back by looking at what each squad should be thinking at any given point. In light of Sunday's gutty victory over the Baltimore Ravens, here is what should be going through the Philadelphia Eagles' heads.
Jason Kelce Is Replaceable
It always hurts losing a starter, and it appears that'll be the case with center Jason Kelce going down with a knee injury against Baltimore. But let's try to keep in mind that Kelce was far from a superstar. He was generally terrible as a pass blocker in 2011 and had a long way to go before even being considered an average center from a consistency standpoint.
Kelce was clearly improving, though, and was expected to make some strides in his second season. He performed quite well in the opener against Cleveland and was already a young leader on offense.
In the offseason, the coaching staff decided to transfer partial responsibility for pass-protection calls at the line of scrimmage to the 24-year-old.
The good news is that replacement Dallas Reynolds has been practicing with this team for the last three years. That experience should help him fill Kelce's shoes without much trouble. In Kelce's stead against Baltimore, he held his ground just fine in terms of snapping, blocking and making those calls.
Reynolds has been waiting for this moment, so look for him to seize it.
This Win Actually Felt Like a Win
We out-toughed the Baltimore Ravens, which is not an easy thing to do. Maybe that near-loss to the Browns truly was a wake-up call, because we were better in so many respects against Baltimore.
Being back at home and facing a D on short rest that lacked Terrell Suggs helped, but Michael Vick was dialed in for much of the afternoon. Sure, he still took a few more hits than we'd prefer, but considering that our line was down two starters in the second half, we're pleased that Vick was sacked only twice and we managed to convert nearly half of our third downs.
Most importantly, our defense is for real, and it's more balanced than ever. Ray Rice made a pair of big plays but wasn't a game-changer. Joe Flacco completed only 52 percent of his passes against our talented secondary. There were no glaring issues with our tackling. And newbies DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks, Fletcher Cox and Brandon Boykin all looked great.
It Was Only One Game
Things won't be getting any easier. We now travel to play an Arizona team that has won seven of its last eight games. Then it's the defending Super Bowl champions, followed by the mighty Steelers, the high-octane Lions, and then the Falcons, Saints, Cowboys, Redskins, Panthers, Cowboys.
In this division, and with this schedule, we just don't get a break.
The pass rush has only four sacks. That unit will have to step up, as will LeSean McCoy, who's averaging just 4.2 yards per carry, has just one touchdown and has fumbled twice already. We've survived thus far, but now our key players have to step it up, and we have to keep building.
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