Eagles Reveal True Feelings on Tom Brady: ‘Any Other Quarterback’

TJ Edwards

Getty Eagles LB T.J. Edwards is turning into a viable starter and breakout star in Philly.

Football players are creatures of habit and those habits dictate they do what got them here. So the Philadephia Eagles are treating Sunday’s wild-card playoff showdown like just another game. To a man, they are not feeding into the Tom Brady myth.

Head coach Nick Sirianni has given the team a new motto: “Know what to do, know how to do it.” He repeated it to them at least 50 times during Wednesday’s walk-through. Forget Brady, stick to assignments and fundamentals. Sirianni dusted off the tape of Kobe Bryant delivering a pep talk to the 2017 Eagles’ championship team to pound home his point.

“His message was exactly the same,” Sirianni said. “It was, ‘Hey, the fundamentals and technique get amplified more and more so and the assignments get amplified more and more so in the playoffs.’ Kobe went on to tell a story about Game 7 or Game 6 of the Miami Heat versus the San Antonio Spurs. He really dove into a fundamental mistake that somebody made to help make that game change.”

The team has bought into the message hook, line and sinker. Starting linebacker T.J. Edwards has taken it to extremes, in that he’s treating Brady just like any other quarterback he’s seen over these past 18 weeks.

“We obviously respect him [Brady] and who he is as a football player and things like that but that doesn’t mean we’re scared or anything like that,” Edwards said. “We’re excited for the challenge. We’re excited that we’re playing a high-powered offense and a really good football team in general, but again it’s on to the next game for us.

“We’re approaching it like a normal week and when you make it bigger than what it is, that’s when mistakes and things happen. So, no, we’re treating him like any other quarterback we’ve played these past weeks.”

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Trying to Stop a ‘Trained Killer’

Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon knows the challenge he faces trying to stop Brady. His defense surrendered 297 passing yards and two touchdowns through the air in Week 6. And they failed to record a single sack on Brady. That can’t happen in the rematch.

“This guy [Brady], he’s a trained killer,” Gannon said, “and he knows how to play good offense and what he needs to do to keep his offense on track, so it’s going to be a big-time challenge.”

The number one thing Gannon has been preaching to his guys this week is to get Brady out of his comfort zone. If the Eagles can get hats on him and stymie his rhythm, then maybe – just maybe – you can create a turnover. Anthony Harris sniped an interception in the first game.

“And we know he’s a guy who is not going to force mistakes or do things like that,” Edwards said, “so we just have to do our best to get to those early reads and make him uncomfortable in the pocket.”

Don’t Forget About Rob Gronkowski

Two key players missed the first Eagles-Buccaneers contest on October 14. Philly tight end Dallas Goedert was absent due to COVID-19, while Tampa tight end Rob Gronkowski was out after suffering “four cracked ribs, one broken rib and a punctured lung” in Week 3. Ouch. Both guys are healthy and ready to go in this one.

Goedert told reporters he was looking forward to “playing the defending world champions” – Tampa Bay beat Kansas City 31-9 in Super Bowl LV – and expects a fun game, with a great atmosphere. He’s also excited to be on the same field as Gronkowski, arguably the greatest tight end of all-time.

“It’s really cool, it’ll be the first time that I get to see Gronk [in person],” Goedert said. “Obviously being a tight end in college and high school, watching him, you know he’s been great for a long time so hopefully our defense holds him in check and he doesn’t have a great game.”

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