Dana Pennett O'Neil | NFL blows whistle on backfields in motion

BILL BELICHICK had it all wrong. He didn't need a video camera to get a leg up on the competition.

He just needed the legs; two very long ones, apparently.

CBS' Charley Casserly reported over the weekend that league offices sent a memo to all 32 teams banning cheerleaders from warming up near opposing team's lockers or tunnels.

Apparently the players, who have exactly 16 chances a year to prove their worth, to win games, to try and get to the Super Bowl, were so distracted by the sight of pretty women they were losing their concentration.


"Hey, you're not a man," Shawn Andrews said. "I don't know what they're saying and I don't want to get in trouble with the guys, but I'm going to put it this way: I'm gonna look."

Here, then, is another entry in the age-old textbook of men trying to understand women and vice versa. (Here's an insider tip. When we say we're fine, you're doomed.) Looking is one thing, but distracted? Outfielders lose balls in the lights and now football players drop passes because of rogue cheerleaders?

Andrews said two teams in the league (he wouldn't say which, except to say one is an Eagles opponent every preseason and one is in their division) have been

exceedingly guilty of using the pom-pom squad to get an edge.

"They do it on purpose," Andrews said. "They're in there stretching, bending over, showing their hips, showing what they're working with, if you will. It's not nice. Now, after the game, they can put them over there, but before the game? No."

Of course, no one sent a missive suggesting the cheerleaders wear clothing instead of dental floss.

That would be wrong. The

ladies, after all, are meant to be entertainment.

Just not for the players.

Fun, fun fun

The running holes were huge, the pass protection nearly flawless. Yes, Sunday was the kind of game Shawn Andrews waits for.

"You can usually tell from about the first couple of series what kind of game it's going to be," the offensive lineman said. "It's either going to be a long day, or it's going to be a fun day. I always prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Sunday was a fun day."

Andrews isn't counting on such a happy day this weekend.

Maligned early in the season, the Giants' defense resurfaced against Washington last Sunday, stuffing the Redskins in a significant late-game goal-line stand. Michael Strahan is back, Osi Umenyiora is playing despite a knee injury and Mathias Kiwanuka is turning heads at linebacker.

In other words, same old Giants.

"The problem is, they have three excellent pass rushers,"

Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said. "So that makes it a little bit more

difficult. We've got our work cut out for us - the offensive linemen, the tight ends, the backs."

New Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo spent years here learning at the knee of Jim Johnson. He's offering up some Johnson-like looks, with corner blitzes, but adding his own wrinkles as well.

Mornhinweg said he might talk a bit more with his own defensive coordinator this week in hopes for some tips, but doesn't think that he's going to get a real insider's edge.

"Some of that is overrated a little bit," he said, "but we try to get every possible advantage. But most of it is a little overrated. It's all in the film. That's what they do. They'll have some changeups for us."

Here in a flash

Phillies reliever Tom Gordon showed up in the Eagles' locker room yesterday morning, lingering by the equipment room where he chatted with Jevon Kearse. Gordon, who lives in Fort Myers in the offseason, said he was connecting with a fellow Floridian. Kearse is a Fort Myers native and lives in Pompano Beach.

Maybe he was looking for some tips on how to actually get into the playoffs.

Gordon also visited with

Donovan McNabb and the two swapped paraphernalia. Gordon proffered a signed jersey in exchange for a signed helmet.

Kearse admitted he hadn't paid strict attention to the Phillies recently, but said he plans to now.

As for concerns that the city's usual Eagles myopia will be fractured as the Phillies try to make the playoffs, Kearse said he wasn't worried a bit.

"No, man. We're playing New York," he said. "We're playing the Giants this week. We know that we have more than our share of support."


"We need to prove something first of all from a 1-2 start and plus, the better we do in this game, the more days we have off in the bye week."

- Jevon Kearse, when asked about the importance of playing a rival like the Giants the week before the bye week. *

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