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AP: Spurrier longs for Reid's blueprint


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Spurrier longs for Reid's blueprint


(12-25) 23:56 PST LANDOVER, Md. (AP) --

Steve Spurrier gets as green as the Philadelphia Eagles uniforms when he talks about the NFC East leaders.

In his two seasons as Washington Redskins coach, Spurrier has made no secret of his envy of the teamwork and consistency that have made the Eagles a perennial playoff contender.

"I really admire the way the Eagles play," Spurrier said. "I think Andy Reid and his staff probably do as good a job as any staff in the NFL as far as the effort and the discipline that their guys play with. Give them credit. That's why they win so many games."

Talent-wise, the rosters aren't too far apart, but the Redskins have been undisciplined and directionless under Spurrier's leadership. While the Eagles (11-4) are concerned about playoff seeding going into Saturday night's game at Washington, the Redskins (5-10) will be postseason spectators for the 10th time in 11 seasons.

Reid has won all three meetings against Spurrier, who has dropped hints about running a more disciplined ship next season as part of a series of major changes. In some ways, Reid might very well be his role model.

But first, there's the business of playing the season finale. It's vital business for the Eagles, who would clinch the division title and a first-round bye with a victory.

"We really hope we can get that bye, because we've got guys like Troy Vincent who need another week to get healthy," safety Clinton Hart said. "It's going to be very important that we get it."

Should the Eagles (11-4) lose, they would relegated to wild card status if Dallas (10-5) beats New Orleans on Sunday. The Cowboys would win the division because of a better record against NFC East opponents.

How critical is the bye? Of the 26 teams who have played in the Super Bowl since the NFL went to 12 playoff teams in 1990, only four didn't have a week of rest going into the postseason.

In other words, while just getting to the playoffs might be reward enough for a rising team like Carolina, it just won't do for an Eagles team that has been the NFC runner-up the last two years.

"After being in that position the past couple of years, hopefully this is the year," quarterback Donovan McNabb said. "But we can't look that far right now. Can't afford to."

Even a complacent team might be able to handle the Redskins, who have lost nine of 11. Spurrier didn't sound convincing when discussing his team's motivation and even downplayed the role of spoiler, referring to a 27-0 loss to Dallas two weeks ago.

"I thought we had a lot of extra incentive for the Dallas game, and we probably played our worst game of the year," Spurrier said. "We're all professionals. We've got a ball game. We'll try our best to win."

All-time sack king Bruce Smith will be playing his last NFL game and will be honored at halftime, but that hasn't produced much of a rally cry either. Smith might even be greeted by more cries of "boooooo" than "Bruuuuce" because traveling Philadelphia fans could easily overwhelm the apathetic Washington locals.

The Eagles' biggest opponent could be fatigue. Their regular-season bye week was way back in September, making this the 14th straight week they have played. Reid has been forced to compact his practice routine for the second consecutive week because Philadelphia was given a Monday night game followed by a Sunday game followed by this Saturday's game.

The injury-depleted defense has been playing like it desperately needs a break, allowing more than 150 yards rushing for five straight games, including 209 in last week's overtime loss to San Francisco. This week, linebacker Carlos Emmons became the fifth defensive player to be placed on injured reserve.

While the bye is important, the Eagles are less concerned about the weekend's other playoff subplot. A win and a St. Louis loss would give Philadelphia home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

Big deal, say the players who remember their 27-10 home loss to Tampa Bay in last season's NFC Championship game.

"It's not important at all," receiver Freddie Mitchell said. "What is important is to get the bye week so we can rest up and get healthy. As far as where we play, we don't care. We just want to go out there and play ball."

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