PHILADELPHIA - The Eagles are counting on their fans to provide some help during Sunday's home opener against Baltimore.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco does not wait until the final two minutes of a half to operate a no-huddle offense. They do it on almost every possession, similar to the way Indianapolis ran plays under former quarterback Peyton Manning.
The Ravens' offense operated in comfortable silence at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium during a 44-13 victory over Cincinnati last Monday night. The louder the crowd is at Lincoln Financial Field Sunday, the tougher it will be for Flacco - an Audubon High School graduate - to communicate with his receivers, running backs and offensive line.
"The louder the fans are on Sunday, the better it will be for us as a defense," Eagles free safety Nate Allen said. "A lot of noise can really disrupt what they're trying to do on offense. I think it can be a factor in the game. Eagles fans have that reputation for being among the loudest in the league, especially when things are going good."
If the Ravens are able to execute their quick-hitting offense, that could make things tough on Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo.
Castillo likes to rotate his defensive lines, frequently substituting four linemen at a time. And that's not counting the extra defensive backs used in nickel and dime defenses that are summoned into action on a moment's notice.
"The substitution factor could create mismatches for them," Eagles strong safety Kurt Coleman said. "And obviously fatigue can be a factor. You want that rest in between plays, but if they don't give it to you, it's tough to really get.
"It presents a lot of difficulties, especially if you don't prepare for it, but we've been preparing for the no-huddle since the offseason. We should be ready for this. We just have to know how they're going to attack us and play our game."
EXTRA POINTS: For the first time since becoming the Eagles' head coach in 1999, Andy Reid has decided to close all practices to the media this season.
Media will be permitted only to watch the first 10 minutes of the workout, the part where the players stretch and warm up. In previous seasons, reporters were allow to see the entire practice on Thursdays and Fridays.
Reid explained Thursday that he was doing it to prevent opponents from picking up tips through Twitter and other social media outlets. According to the coach, the Eagles are now among 28 teams that hold closed practices during the season.
"My number one priority here is to win football games and put the best product on the field," Reid said during a meeting with reporters Thursday. "Just to minimize any of the competitive advantages that take place, I want to do this.
"It's changed over time, between Twitter and just the whole instant messaging, everything is right now. I just want to make sure I’m staying up with that."
Wide receivers DeSean Jackson (strained hamstring) and Jeremy Maclin (hip pointer) did not practice Thursday. Jackson is expected to play against the Ravens.