Eagles Must Turn the Page Quickly With Bucs On Deck

The 24-hour rule was suspended even after an improbable win with Tom Brady and Tampa Bay looming
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PHILADELPHIA - The 24-hour rule wasn't needed at the NovaCare Complex, a day after Sunday's improbably 21-18 comeback win over Carolina.

Going in, the Eagles knew that win or lose in Charlotte the page was going to have to be turned quickly with a mandatory Thursday night appearance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next on the docket.

"We’re going to go back to Philly with this win, probably not enjoy it for 24 hours, maybe 12, since we have a short week, and get back to work," said quarterback Jalen Hurts shortly after scoring the game-winning touchdown on a six-yard run against the Panthers' third-ranked defense. "We have a big one Thursday night."

A short week in the NFL is when you're coming off a Monday night game and required to play the next Sunday. Sunday to Thursday is a necessary evil, almost a draconian one in which walkthroughs are inserted in the place of practice and most teams simply lean on their DNA as a team.

The good news is Philadelphia is home on Thursday night so the travel wild card isn't added to all the hurdles. 

The bad news is that the team dealing with the road headache happens to be Tom Brady and the Tampa Buccaneers, the reigning Super Bowl champions who can afford to fall back on their default settings and still have success without much-tailored game-planning time.

"[Brady] poses a lot of challenges for everybody, that's for sure," Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said Monday. "Obviously, he's been so good for so long. Everybody knows who Tom Brady is and how he operates. We'll definitely have our hands full with this offense that we're playing.

"... And so, yeah, it's going to be a challenge on a short week against obviously the defending Super Bowl champs, but sure glad it's at our place and sure glad that we've got our fans here to support us and we look forward to the challenge that lies ahead on Thursday night."

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Sirianni acknowledged that he needs to keep it simple this week.

"It's to make sure you're keeping things simple and not getting too complicated because you're not going to have the live reps of doing things you're going to do in games," he said. "So, keep things simple. Keep it to things that guys can learn and execute that you've been executing all year."

The Eagles' offense certainly didn't execute all that well early in Carolina on Sunday but Jalen Hurts persevered and kept fighting. The offense followed with just enough big plays to turn a 15-3 hole into a 21-18 win over the Panthers.

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Sirianni left the door open for a few tweaks tailored to what Tampa Bay runs does on defense.

"Then again, also be able to attack them enough where you're going after the style of defense they are. So, there's always a happy medium in that," the coach stated before circling back to his earlier point.

"But definitely just be able to do things that we can execute, knowing that we don't have a lot of time to get ready for this game."

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Perhaps the biggest contribution to Sirianni's mindset on TNF which is hardly unique around the league is the common-sense sentiment that professional football is a sport that shouldn't be played four days apart with little recovery time.

The Eagles dodged a bullet in Charlotte when Panthers' star RB Christian McCaffrey was ruled out with a hamstring injury. McCaffrey was injured during a first-quarter run against the Houston Texans in Week 3 and has not played since. He called the injury “extremely frustrating” and claimed it could have been avoided with more rest.

“I don’t prefer Thursday night games,” McCaffrey admitted last Thursday. “You go through a lot in a football game and then you really get two days to recover — and one of those days is a travel day. So you get two days to recover, you hop on a plane, you’re in a hotel and then go out and play in a football game. It’s tough.”

Sirianni agrees.

"This week will be walkthroughs because we've got to get our legs back underneath us, so it's resting the guys, as well, having more mental reps, and having more walkthrough reps to get their bodies physically ready to play," he said. "But a lot of this is going to be getting mentally ready for this game week."

-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on both PhillyVoice.com and YouTube. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.