PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It was hard to tell, looking into Cary Williams' eyes, whether the Eagles won or lost on Sunday to the Washington Redskins. The Eagles got off to a typically slow start, before rebounding to win 37-34 and move to 3-0.
But the veteran cornerback has a theory why the Eagles have been starting slow—and possibly a veiled shot at head coach Chip Kelly's rapid-fire training ways. Williams openly expressed how tired he was before, during and after Sunday's game. Emotionally, his eyes seemed vacant.
That's because he said he was physically spent.
"We have to be better; we have to find energy," Williams said. "We were out there on reserves. We have to do a better job taking care of our players throughout the week. We have to do a better job making sure everybody is ready on Sunday. People should be popping out of their skin on Sundays.
"Truthfully, the God's honest truth, we haven't been that for three weeks. Something has to change. Something must be done. I'm not the only one who feels this way. I'm just man enough to stand before you and let you know that we have to fight during the week, then we have to fight on Sunday. It's not fair. It's difficult to do that in this league, because everyone has talent. And if you're not physically ready for a game, things will get tough for you, especially in the defensive backfield."
Williams stressed that the Eagles have to learn to save their legs and get the recovery time in.
"Right now, we're just not getting it," Williams said. "It got worse in the second half. Because you go into the game with no legs, how are you going to expect to finish with legs. We put up too many reps, man. You can't continue to run guys into the ground and expect us to be ready on Sundays. I'm just man enough to say it. I've always been honest, I've always been truthful.
"I'm not hurting anyone by saying it. I'm being transparent to guys, because I felt like I was in a dog fight before the game even started. You gotta understand that you just can't be doing this week in and week out. It's eventually going to catch up to you. I just hope we can do better by getting guys ready for the game during the week. And then on Sunday, we'll be popping out of their skin the way they want. A lot of guys have come to the game and been exhausted, and I'm one of them. I'm burnt out, and I'm not the only guy that feels burnt out. I'm the only guy to stand up for the players and say it, I'm burnt out. Man enough to stand for the players—burnt out."
It's exhaustion from practice, Williams said, and it manifests itself through how lethargic the defense reacts. It's also a testament of this team's resilience and toughness.
"You can't continue to run your team into the ground and expect great results," Williams said. "You have to give them some opportunity to recover. Something has to be modified, something has to be changed. I know how what this locker room feels like. I know what the guy left to me, to the right of me feels like. It's a team game and you need all 11 guys out there on the field."
A number of players said they felt fresher late last season.
When Williams was asked this, "We do things differently here, we play a game before the game," Williams said. "You have to be politically correct all of the time, at all times. You take those words with a grain of salt from last year. My legs hurt. My legs were done in the fourth quarter, in the third quarter, before the game started. I sat out a couple of days and that still didn't work, because they're so taxing on us during the week."
A few other players agreed with Williams, just nodding in agreement, but refusing to comment further. "Let's just say I'm spent when Sundays come, because it feels as if you're playing two games in a week," one player said, nodding his head 'yes' when asked if Williams was on to something.
A few others players didn't agree with Williams.
"That's a person-to-person kind of case, we work really hard on our offense on our team and I know Chip prides himself on the sports science kind of stuff," tight end James Casey said. "We do a lot and we take care of our bodies, and we're 3-0 so something is working right. I feel good going into games, and I got nicked up a little here and there, but at this point, everyone is kind of nicked up here and there during the season. If we were 0-3 and losing, you can make the case we beat up. But we're 3-0, and even if you're not feeling great going into games, you still have to find a way to win. I feel okay. We do a lot during the week, but everyone is fine."
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