The Eagles Are 3-1 Because Of Their Mental ToughnessBREAKING NEWS, Eagles, General News, News Friday, October 5th, 2012
It would be easy for any NFL fan to step back from the Eagles first four games and identify weaknesses and pick this football team apart. But you would have to admit that the Eagles have found ways to make the plays that counted with the games on the line.
You can measure a player’s size and speed, but you can’t find out how a player or team will respond with a game on the line. Some players love the pressure while others can’t perform under it. This Eagles team seems to play best with the game on the line.
A team or player with mental toughness looks forward to those moments when everything is at stake, rather than dreading them. Some teams and players take their play to another level when all their cards are pushed to the middle of the table, while others fade in the spotlight.
Michael Vick in particular has stood out with the game on the line. In only four games, Vick, who has been awful at times this year, has engineered three game-winning drives. If it happened once you could call it lucky, but not three times in four weeks. Vick has his weaknesses, but he’s shown us that he has the courage to not shrink in tough situations.
It wasn’t a coincidence that he did the same thing the next week against the Ravens. Of course we recently saw them pull out the Giants game. Tough-minded teams and tough-minded players aren’t afraid to lose. They’re not thinking about answering tough questions in the locker room after losses. They refuse to let losing images dominate their thinking when games are on the line. They’re able to play loose and confident, regardless of the situation.
It’s a priceless quality in professional sports.
Michael Jordan, who is one of the greatest clutch athletes of all-time, said you must not be afraid of the moment or afraid to lose, if you want to succeed in the clutch. Vick and his teammates have shown that they are not afraid of the situation.
I asked Eagles head coach Andy Reid yesterday about why his team has been so mentally tough.
“I think it’s the core of the players”, Reid said. “You have some tough kids in there who trust each other and challenge each other. That starts in your locker room.”
I agree with Reid. It does start in the locker room.
I know on the defensive side of the ball, they have benefitted from adding middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans. He is without a doubt the leader of the Birds defense and maintains a calm and confident demeanor with games on the line.
“There’s definitely a level of trust out there and I think we have that this year,” Cullen Jenkins said. “You’re confident the guy next to you or the guy behind you is going to take care of their assignment.”
Rookie Mychal Kendricks has been following Ryans around since the training camp and the veteran has done a great job of setting a good example for the rookie.
“I mean, he’s our quarterback on defense,” Kendricks said about the veteran. “He brings the guys together, you know, when we huddle up and he makes sure we’re cool, calm, and collected.”
Reid also believes the mental toughness of this football team was established at Lehigh University in training camp.
“They worked hard”, Reid said. “You saw a tough training camp, and nobody complained. They came out and practiced hard every day. If they were injured, they tried to fight and get back in there – good competition. I would tell you that [with] the players, I’d put that right there.”
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