The Philadelphia Eagles should have been relieved to have a bye week. Since Eagles fans like myself have been exhausted just watching them in all their close games, the team itself needed a rest. But there really has been no rest for the weary, as the best thing about this bye week is that it finally ended - although things may not get much better.
The firing of Juan Castillo on Oct. 16, as well as the increased speculation over Michael Vick and Andy Reid's job status, kept the Eagles from resting easy. A little thing like a blown 10-point fourth quarter lead at home to the Detroit Lions on Oct. 14 didn't help either. Yet now Philadelphia can get back to work and try to turn these nasty headlines and dark clouds around.
Of course, the distractions around the Eagles aren't going to go away, especially with them hosting the 6-0 Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 28. If there was ever a chance to turn things around and turn a corner - or to sink into a greater pit of darkness - this would be it. Either way, a huge spotlight will be on Philadelphia as it tries to save its season, and as new coordinator Todd Bowles tries to save the defense.
Maybe the Eagles will focus better when they get back on the field and start working towards a real game. Given Andy Reid's perfect record after a bye week, he has a proven record of getting Philadelphia focused pretty quickly. But he hasn't come off a bye like this in a while - and hasn't had his job on the line quite like this either.
The hope is that Castillo's firing means the worst is over. The additional hope is that the move and the loss to the Lions was the kick in the pants the Eagles needed. They will be under a great deal of scrutiny in these next seven days as they try to rise again - but at least they can do something about it other than sit around.
The Eagles are now halfway through the most difficult stretch of the season so far. However, this difficult bye week, and this coming uncertain week of preparation, will look like a tropical vacation if the Birds come out flat. If enduring all this negativity in the last seven days was bad, it will be nothing compared to the aftermath of a bad loss to the Falcons - or any other losses that sink their season.
Philadelphia is praying that the fear of that worst case scenario will inspire the Eagles to action. Either way, us fans won't have any more bye weeks in this regular season to stew in our own fear - and that looks like a pretty good thing now. But if the Eagles don't learn the right lessons from this time off, there might be some even uglier time off ahead after the regular season - with a few more firings.
Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident who has followed the Eagles since he was eight years old.
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