Tuesday, July 29, 2014
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Eagles Hall of Famer Troy Vincent remembers one coaching transition, discusses current state of Eagles

Birds' Eye View "I was once there, Ray Rhodes' last year, we were 3-13," said Vincent, who was a key player in Andy Reid's early years. "You knew there was going to be change."

Eagles Hall of Famer Troy Vincent remembers one coaching transition, discusses current state of Eagles

Troy Vincent was once in the situation of the current Eagles, who are 3-7 and playing for a coach who will likely be fired by season's end. In fact, one of the few reasons to cheer in Monday's game against the Carolina Panthers will be the induction of Vincent and Leo Carlin into the Eagles Hall of Fame at halftime.

"I was once there, Ray Rhodes' last year, we were 3-13," said Vincent, who was a key player in Andy Reid's early years. "You knew there was going to be change. And as a player you have to embrace that change. It's out of your control who's going to coach you next. You take it as your responsibility to discuss those things with your teammate and embrace whoever that new individual is.

"It's not a good time to walk out there before that kickoff when people are booing, the bags are out. They knocked down my mailbox when we were living in Yardley, they must have vandalized my house every single day until we had to put up a brick mailbox. That's part of it. Once change was made, we won some football games, the city embraced us."

Vincent has paid close attention to the current Eagles and he does not like what he sees. He said he's noticed behavior and read quotes that do not sit well, especially because Vincent took pride in his leadership and how he conducted himself. He does not consider the Eagles' current plight the fault of the coaches, but rather the players.

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"You hear a lot about, has someone lost their touch?" Vincent said. "At the end of the day, it's about locker room accountability. The talent is here."

Team owner Jeffrey Lurie praised Vincent's leadership. He remembered Vincent working with younger players after practice and said that when the team signed Vincent, they did not fully appreciate how much he would help the locker room. In fact, leadership is the characteristic Vincent pointed to when he noted the difference between the good teams and bad teams he played on during his time with the Eagles.

 

"Locker room leadership. Let's please keep in mind, teams in the National Football League because they're the most talented teams," Vincent said. "Teams win on Sunday and Monday because they make the least amount of mistakes. So you don't have to have a team full of superstars, high-priced free agents. You just need a team full of [46] guys that are willing to do what it takes during the offseason, don't have a bunch of prima donnas. It's not about who catches the most balls, who has the most interceptions. You hold each other accountable and line up on Sunday, the play is called, and you play."

Vincent said defensive coordinator Jim Johnson never wanted prima donnas. He wanted players who were consistent and accountable.

"You see people dancing after a 3-yard catch or a tackle on third down," Vincent said. "That's what you're supposed to do! You cheer at the end of the season."

Vincent also does not believe Reid will be fired during the season. He noted that an interim coach would not change what's happening this year, and hopes that Reid's legacy in Philadelphia will outlast the current ire for the Eagles head coach.

"I think his legacy speaks for itself. He's the winningest coach we've had in the history of the franchise," Vincent said. "He gave us in the period of time he was here, if they decide to move on, he gave us some exciting years, never brought the Lombardi Trophy home, but he gave us quality football. I think he turned the reputation of what the Eagles were kind of pre and post, a little bit Vermeil and post-Buddy Ryan, he brought some respectability back to South Philly.

"Among players, and I think among the league. There was a reputation that we had when I was growing up with Buddy...there was a reputation through Andy's era, and with Jim [Johnson], and with some of the things they were doing offensively and defensively, that we could compete, whether it was home or away, against anybody and in any condition."

About this blog
Birds' Eye View is the Inquirer's blog covering all things Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL.

Jeff McLane Inquirer Staff Writer
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