BARNETT, EAGLES WON’T LET WEATHER, OUTSIDE NOISE AFFECT THEIR CONFIDENCE
On Thursday January 4, 2018, the Delaware Valley from west of Philadelphia to the South Jersey shore was hit with a severe winter storm.
Weathermen nicknamed the tempest a “Cyclone Bomb.”
The snow, high winds and near zero temperatures made any outdoor activity impossible.
Schools and banks were closed, many businesses didn’t open or made attendance optional.
The Eagles practiced in their indoor facility.
Rookie defensive end and first round pick Derek Barnett was asked in a kidding manner if it was a good thing their NFC Divisional game wasn’t today.
Barnett smiled and said without hesitation, “ If it was we’d be ready.”
The Eagles used their bye week to get in some tougher practices, asking the coaching staff to put them in pads for the sessions.
When asked if the team was studying film or was looking at any of the three teams they could face next Saturday: The Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints or Atlanta Falcons…Barnett said…not really.
“We’re just focusing on us right now,” Barnett said at his locker. “We ain’t really worried about who we’re playing, we don’t know yet. But we’ll be tuned in waiting to find out.”
The forecast for next Saturday calls for more moderate weather…temperatures in the low 40s. The Eagles though, have been playing in extremely cold conditions their last two games against the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys.
Dr. Sean McMillan, an orthopedic surgeon from Lourdes Orthopedic Associates of South Jersey stated a players hand strength and flexibility can be reduced up to 50 percent in the type of weather the Birds – and their opponents – were stuck with playing in over the last two weeks.
Barnett said each player may have a different reaction to extreme weather.
“I think everybody’s different,” Barnett said. “I think it’s just about the person. You just have to get ready for the weather, whether it’s cold or hot. You just have to do what you have to do to get ready to play in it. Everybody is different on what they do to get ready for a game.”
Barnett was asked about the other teams…every possible opponents in the NFC playoffs are dome teams or play in warm weather at home.
“I think it will be fun,” Barnett said. “It’s an opportunity to play football..it can be raining, snowing, if it’s sunny we’ll be ready to play.”
Someone asked if he used the opinion of some national observers that Eagles have no chance to win a playoff game without Carson Wentz as motivation for next week.
“We’re just about us in this room, our team,” Barnett said. “I don’t think we’re too concerned about what we’re hearing from outsiders. What’s going on here is what matters.”
Barnett was asked if he planned on getting together with teammates to watch Wild Card weekend.
“I’m sure we’ll pay attention to it, but right now we’re just focusing on what we’re doing right now.”
Follow Al Thompson on Twitter @thompsoniii