GREEN BAY, Wisconsin — Shortly after the Eagles had knocked off the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Thursday night, center Jason Kelce stood at his locker fielding questions after the Birds’ 34-27 win, evening their record at 2-2.
Kelce was asked about the confidence this team has after running the ball so well. The Birds rushed for 176 yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries as a team against a team that was at home sporting a 3-0 record and a Hall of Fame quarterback in Aaron Rodgers.
“It comes down to us knowing that we’re a good football team,” Kelce said. “I don’t think we had played to our capabilities in the first three games, and we knew it. We knew we had to put four quarters together in this game to win and we did it. We didn’t stop playing our game.”
After a big win like that on national television, there may be a temptation to look at their game this Sunday against the winless Jets (0-3) and look past a team that is struggling, especially at the quarterback position.
Starter Sam Darnold was ruled out of Week 2 with mononucleosis and an enlarged spleen. It is unknown if he will play this Sunday at the Linc (1 p.m., CBS).
Backup Trevor Siemian suffered a season-ending leg injury on a hit by Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett.
The Jets had to turn to third-string quarterback Luke Falk, a 2018 sixth-round pick with virtually no NFL experience.
The results were predictable. The Jets lost 23-3 to the Browns and then 30-14 to the New England Patriots. The touchdowns against the Patriots were scored by special teams and the defense.
Several Eagles talked about the temptation to look past New York.
“To tell you the truth, going into the week everybody’s 0-0,” said tight end Dallas Goedert, who scored against the Packers on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Carson Wentz. “You’ve got to win the week. That’s what’s most important. They’re in the NFL for a reason, it don’t matter who’s playing. They can do things right and put up points, they can do things right and stop us offensively. So we definitely have to be at our best.”
Kelce said the same thing. Crazy things happen every week in the NFL.
The 31-year-old said he does not pay attention to what problems other teams may be dealing with.
“It don’t matter,” Kelce said. “Every team in this league has the ability to beat anybody. Obviously, they haven’t been off to the same start Green Bay has, but they’ve still got good players. If you don’t prepare just as hard for these guys or if you slack any week in your preparation, you’re going to be short-lived in this league.”
On Monday, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz was asked how he prepares for a team like the Jets when he doesn’t know who the starting quarterback is going to be.
“You know me,” Schwartz said. “When I sit up here and say, ‘Everybody that’s on our 53 has to be expected to contribute and we have confidence in,’ I think it’s the same thing when you prepare for another team. If they are on their 53-man roster, you’re preparing for them.
“I think we’ll keep that in mind this week,” Schwartz continued. “See where they are with their quarterback position. Their scheme is not going to change a whole lot, but we’ll be ready for anybody that’s on the roster now or up through Saturday.”
Schwartz may have been referring to the heroics of unknown defensive back Craig James Thursday night against the Packers..
After the Green Bay game, Pro Bowl safety Malcolm Jenkins was asked about how James, who was just called up from the practice squad, was able to come in with just over a minute to play against the Packers and try to replace starter Avonte Maddox, who was knocked out of the game with a head injury.
All James did, with 20 seconds left on the clock, was break up a pass from Rodgers that was intercepted by linebacker Nigel Bradham, who grabbed a tipped ball caused by Craig. The undrafted free agent basically sealed the biggest win of the season for the Eagles to date.
His name was not on the roster flip card given out at Lambeau.
“We talk about it all the time, ” Jenkins said at his locker after the game. “You never really know when that opportunity is going to come. You never know when the team is going to need you. You’ve got to be prepared. We count on everybody on the roster.”
On Monday, Jenkins said the defense is assuming Darnold will play. It was announced Monday that he was allowed to do some light cardio. If he progresses well, there is a chance he’ll play against the Eagles.
“We’ll prepare for him (Darnold),” Jenkins said. “He’ll be out there. He’s their guy. We know that’s who they want out there if they can get him. So we’ll prepare for him. We’ll see how things change or how different the game plan is between the two quarterbacks.”
Follow Al Thompson on Twitter @thompsoniii. ••