After all, if they're going to truly erase last season, they've got to start somewhere and a nice place to start would be with a win over the division rival Giants. After all, doing that would put the Giants two games behind an undefeated Eagles team and guarantee that the Birds would lead the division for at least one more week. "It's Giants versus Eagles. It wouldn't matter where or when it is. That's how it's going to be," said Reid. "It's still early in the season. It'll still be a heck of a game."
Reid also doesn't want to hear about the Giants being desperate after just one loss, but he knows that they will be hungry. He also doesn't want to take anything away from the Eagles win over the Texans - a team that the Eagles were supposed to dispose of - last weekend. "I never slight another team in the NFL because I think every win is very important. And every team is very good on any Sunday. The NFC East, however, is an important part of your schedule and you want to take care of business there. It's great competition in the NFC East this year so we're looking forward to that."
The Eagles have some young players who are gearing up for their first division showdown and their first opportunity to be a part of the Giants/Eagles rivalry. It's something that the players have talked about with each other, but Reid knows that talk is cheap and that the real truth will come on Sunday when the teams lineup against each other. "We talked about it this morning. It's a great environment for a football game. I've always said that the closer you get to the playoffs the faster things get. Once you hit the playoffs; that's this type of atmosphere. Until you experience it you don't understand that. The veteran players have explained it to the younger guys. But they're going to have to go out and live it."
The Eagles secondary will be without Lito Sheppard, but they're confident that Rod Hood can step in and take his place without missing much, if anything. The defense is confident after their strong pre-season and their strong performance against Houston in Week One and they believe that they can contain Eli Manning, Tiki Barber and any other weapons that the Giants throw at them. "They've got other players, too. They're fine football players, Pro-Bowl caliber football players. You have to concentrate on all of them," said Reid. "However, both the guys you named [Manning and Barber] are big parts of their offense. I don't want to slight them either. But Tiki is as fine a running back as there is in the NFL. But you've got to concentrate on all of them. If you're not doing that then you might shut one down but the other ones will get you. But he is a big part of; we know he is going to be back there and he's going to have a couple good runs. But we will focus in."
While Reid was willing to spread around the praise for the Giants, Brian Dawkins thinks it all starts and ends with one guy. "The cat that makes that team run, that makes that offense run is Tiki [Barber]. When he's going, when he's getting that yardage and gashing teams for 30 and 40 yard gains, screen passes for 10 to 15 yards, when he is doing what he does then everything else flows. When he's not, then things can still flow, obviously. But it's not as fluent as if it was him being the head of that thing," explained Dawkins. "Yes, they have a lot of talent other than him. But to me, since I have been playing the Giants, and it hasn't changed to me, he is the cat that makes that offense run."
Dawkins agrees with Reid that the secondary will be okay covering up the injury to Sheppard and he also thinks that Joselio Hanson can step into Hood's job in the nickel package. It's full steam ahead for the Eagles' defense, as far as Dawkins is concerned. "We're still going to do the things that [defensive coordinator] Jim [Johnson] likes to do with pressure. We're going to cover sometimes. We're going to pressure sometimes. The thing about Hanson is - the thing that we have done with him is to let him know that we have trust in him. We trust him. You're not a new guy coming in, you're part of us now and you're part of this defense," said Dawkins, who also had some friendly advise for Hanson. "So when you touch the field don't think about nothing, just go play, just go make plays and have a great time doing it."
Playing against the Giants, the defensive line will be challenged. Add to that the fact that Manning is known for avoiding sacks and you have all the ingredients of a true challenge for a rebuilt Eagles' defense. "He's not hanging onto the football. He is getting rid of the football. A lot of that goes with the offensive line, too. I thought they did a nice job, along with their massive TEs and RBs that block in there and chip. They did that very well. That'll be a big challenge for our defensive line to get through there."
What else Andy Reid had to say...
"[CB] Lito [Sheppard] will be out this week with the ankle sprain. [RB] Reno Mahe, he will practice today and then we'll see. He went through the morning practice and we'll see how he does this afternoon as will [LB] Jeremiah Trotter. He went through this mornings and he'll do this afternoons. We added [CB] Dexter Wynn in as a backup cornerback, also a returner. We'll determine whether he'll be the starter or not at the returning positions this weekend. And we released [RB] Bruce Perry strictly on the fact that we needed another corner in here, not on his performance. He really did a nice job last week. We look forward to playing an NFC East opponent in the Giants. We understand what kind of football team they are. They are a heck of a football team, very aggressive and physical. It's a great rivalry between the two teams. It's gone back and forth over the years and that's why we are in this business, for challenges like this. Coaches and players look forward to that."
On his assessment of how the OL played on Sunday:
"I thought the offensive line did a good job. They did well on protecting [QB Donovan McNabb] and also running the football. And they looked like they were working well together."
On whether he expects to see a hungry and maybe desperate Giants team this Sunday:
"I don't know about desperate but I know they'll be hungry. It's Giants versus Eagles. It wouldn't matter where or when it is. That's how it's going to be. It's still early in the season. It'll still be a heck of a game."
On whether RT Jon Runyan can learn anything from watching video on a guy like Giants DE Michael Strahan, someone he is gone against countless times:
"It's one of those cat-and-mouse games but probably a little bit more physical. They know each other so well. It's kind of fun to watch, how they go back and forth with each other. I'm sure there are little tweaks here and there as they go. And, yeah they can get something from looking at the film."
On whether he is surprised by the chemistry QB Donovan McNabb and WR Donte Stallworth had so quickly:
"If Donte hadn't had a little background in the offense it probably would have surprised me a little more. They did click. It did work for that week. Now the challenge is to keep it going. You keep that chemistry. That's what they are going to work on now. He did have a little bit of background in the offense."
On whether RB Reno Mahe will handle the returning if he continues to progress this week:
"We'll see how that works."
On whether McNabb being recovered and healthy affects the play calling and game planning:
"I'd say no. Compared to when? Last year may have been a little bit different. [But] as far as what we've been doing in training camp and preseason games, no."
On whether there are things McNabb can do now that he couldn't last year:
"In the games he played in; he didn't play in any of the Giants games. But yeah, there were times that you knew he wasn't going to be quite as mobile, nor did you want him to be quite as mobile at that time with what he had."
On what type of challenge the Giants running game presents:
"They're very well rounded. They can also throw the ball. Eli's doing a good job with that and he has some people out there to throw it to. It's not just about the run game. It's a combination of things that they can do. It's going to be a great challenge for our defense."
On how effective Giants RB Brandon Jacobs makes their run game:
"He's big. He's a little bit of a change up for them from Tiki and he gives Tiki a blow in there. He gives him an opportunity to get out of the game and catch his breath and get back in there fresh."
On whether he considers play-action an advantage for Sunday against the Giants two corners who came from the AFC:
"We've played at least one of those guys and they've seen the offense at least a little bit. I don't think there will be a lot of secrets out there. We're going to do our thing, they're going to do their thing, and who will execute the best will probably win this football game."