When last we saw the wide-nine alignment along the Eagles defensive front, line coach Jim Washburn was being escorted out of town late in the season by Andy Reid, accompanied by a large civic following bearing torches and pitchforks.
Taking into account the shuffle at the right tackle position that took place this past week as rookie Halapoulivaati Vaitai subbed in for Lane Johnson, Eagles coach Doug Pederson said he expected to let things settle down early against Washington by running the ball somewhat more than usual.
Halapoulivaati Vaitai says he is asked to pronounce his first name "about 10 to 15 times a day, usually." His nature is such that he remains pleasant nevertheless. He smiles patiently and says in a soft voice that belies his 6-foot-6, 315-pound stature, "Hal-lah-poo-lee-VAH-tee."
The last receding wave of the longest ebbing tide will slip into the cold depths of history on Sunday when Ryan Howard walks off the field at Citizens Bank Park for the final time as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies.
As much as the start of the season has unfolded like a well-worn fairy tale for the Eagles, a story that should include dragons and wands and a lanky young prince, there is absolutely nothing magical about what is happening along the line of scrimmage.
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So, there was that moment in the third period when the quarterback really got flustered and made a bonehead rookie mistake. It had been coming all afternoon as the game became one-sided and frustration set in.
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All right, fine. What if? This voice of reason stuff can wear you out. Always bringing an umbrella if there is a distant cloud in the sky. Sticking your hand in the post office mail slot to make sure the envelope fell through. Stepping carefully over the crack in the sidewalk.
Destiny is a funny thing, and some might say it's an amusing first name for an NFL defensive tackle as well. I would not be one of those to say that, however, at least not to Destiny Vaeao, the Eagles 6-foot-4, 299-pound rookie.
CHICAGO - Unity is a difficult thing to achieve among a large group of individuals, but that's the challenge for football coaches attempting to build a team that sticks together when things aren't going well.
When the Eagles announced the trade of cornerback Eric Rowe last week, coach Doug Pederson said the team wanted to give Rowe a chance to play. The obvious implication was that it sure wouldn't happen here for the converted safety taken in the second round of the draft two years ago.
When Carson Wentz fractured two ribs against Tampa Bay on a hit by a third-string linebacker trying to make the roster, the right side of the Eagles offensive line was being held down quite literally, it turned out by rookie Halapoulivaati Vaitai.
When owner Jeffrey Lurie decided to "take back" his team and fire Chip Kelly with one game remaining in the 2015 season, he also opted to take the Eagles back to a time when the power within the organization was better balanced between the coaching staff and the player personnel department.
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Bob Ford is an award-winning sports columnist for the Inquirer. He is a four-time Pennsylvania Sportswriter of the Year, as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. His work has been cited numerous times by Associated Press Sports Editors judges, and he won an Eclipse Award for outstanding coverage of horse racing. Prior to becoming a columnist at the Inquirer, Ford was the 76ers beat writer for six seasons and then a general assignment feature writer with a specialty in Olympic sports. In 1995, he was designated a fellow of the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. Ford has written sports in the Philadelphia area since 1981, when he served as the Phillies beat writer and later as a general sports columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times.