By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun
PHILADELPHIA—For the first three games of the season, the Eagles have gutted out wins by overcoming slow starts and coming from behind to win.
In Sunday’s 37-34 win over Washington at Lincoln Financial Field, the Eagles overcame a 10-point deficit and withstood a late Washington rally that included a few fights and some trash talk from former Birds wide receiver DeSean Jackson.
But not all is happy in the Eagles 3-0 paradise—at least for one player.
While everyone in the Eagles locker room celebrated a hard-fought victory over a division rival, the way the Birds have won does not sit well with cornerback Cary Williams. He said the team’s slow starts are because they come into the game already tired because practice is too exhausting during the week.
“We got to do a better job of taking care of our players during the week,” Williams said while talking to reporters at his locker. “We gotta do a better job of making sure everybody is ready on Sunday and people should be popping out of their skin on Sunday.”
Throughout his tenure as the Eagles head coach, Chip Kelly has been preaching about taking a more scientific approach in terms of conditioning, players getting proper rest, diet, and special sports drinks to go along with practicing at a fast-pace. Williams is definitely not a big fan and said it’s affecting the team on the field.
“Something has to change, something must be done and I’m not the only one who feels this way. I’m just man enough to stand before you and let you know we gotta fight during the week and then we gotta fight on Sunday. It’s not fair it’s difficult to do that in this league because everybody has talent,” Williams said.
“If you’re not physically ready for a game, things get tough for you, especially in the defensive back field. We gotta learn to save our legs, man. We gotta learn to get the recovery in. We gotta learn to do a lot of things. Right now, we’re not getting it.”
Even though the Eagles managed to pull the game out, Williams said the fatigue got worse in the second half, which may explain why he and safety Nate Allen got burned on an 81-yard touchdown pass from Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins to Jackson late in the third quarter.
“It got worse because you go into the games with no legs, how do you expect to finish with no legs?” Williams said. “It is what it is, man. We put up too many reps, man. You can’t continue to run guys in into the ground and expect us to be ready on Sunday.”
During the game itself, Washington rolled up 511 yards of total offense-including 427 yards passing.
While the games have been thrilling and entertaining for the fans, Williams said the Eagles can’t keep winning at the rate they’re going and it’s taking a toll on him physically.
“I’m burnt out, burnt out,” Williams said. “I’m not the only guy that feels burnt out. I’m just man enough to stand up for the players and just say that we’re burnt out. It’s exhaustion from practices. We didn’t get a day off this week, your body’s tired. You break down eventually … It shows our resilience. It shows our toughness. …You can’t continue to run your team into the ground and expect great results.”
Williams said his teammates are feeling the same way and hinted that the players who were saying they were fine with Kelly’s practice methods last season weren’t being honest.
“You gotta be politically correct all the time,” Williams said. “Take those words with a grain of salt.”
By the time Williams was finished talking with the media, most of the Eagles players had cleared the locker room. Eagles tight end James Casey said he didn’t have any problems with Kelly’s practice methods.
“That’s a person-to-person kind of case,” Casey said. “We work really hard on our offense and on our team. (Kelly) prides himself on the sports science kind of stuff and also taking care of our bodies. We’re 3-0, something’s working right.”
Casey said outside of a few nicks and bruises that he was feeling okay after today’s game.
“We do a lot during the week, but everyone’s fine and we’re winning a football games,” Casey said.
Williams said he was not fine—not before the game, during the game nor after the game.
“We play a game before the game,” he said. “My legs hurt. My legs were done in the fourth quarter, my legs were done in the third quarter. My legs were done before the game.”
It will be interesting to hear Kelly’s reaction to Wiliams’ comments during his day-after game press conference.