PHILADELPHIA - Eagles quarterback Michael Vick showed his leadership this week by calling a players-only meeting at the NovaCare Complex on Wednesday.
Vick said he called the meeting in an effort to get the team focused and keep it together heading into Monday's game at New Orleans.
"We're holding everybody accountable and responsible right now for doing their jobs," Vick said Thursday. "That's all it is."
Vick was among nine or 10 players who spoke during the meeting. Others included wide receiver Jason Avant, defensive end Trent Cole, tackle Todd Herremans, defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and linebacker DeMeco Ryans.
Avant (2006), Cole (2005) and Herremans (2005) are among the players who have been with the Eagles the longest, along with defensive tackle Mike Patterson (2005). Jenkins, who spent his first seven NFL seasons with Green Bay before joining the team last season, is the only current Eagle with a Super Bowl ring.
"I said a couple of things," Jenkins said Thursday. "Mainly, I just talked about everybody making sure we stick together as a team and keep fighting through all the distractions. We're all on the same page. Nobody's pointing fingers between us. But there's a lot of negativity floating around right now outside of the team. We have to make sure it stays outside."
Defensive end Jason Babin expressed his frustration Thursday over some of the negativity he heard directed at him from the stands at Lincoln Financial Field during a 30-17 loss to Atlanta on Sunday.
Babin explained that he heard some fans chanting profanity at the players and coaches.
"I don't even want to repeat what I heard," Babin said. "It was that bad. And I've got a pretty high threshold for adult jokes. I just thought there's no place for that in the NFL. None whatsoever. I mean just some of the foul things they were saying.
"Yeah, I'm going to be protective of coach (Andy) Reid, coach Wash (defensive line coach Jim Washburn) and my teammates. It was upsetting that a few bad apples were chanting that kind of stuff. But what are you going to do?"
Vitt's Eagles link
Playing the Saints means the Eagles will go up against interim coach Joe Vitt, who is coaching the team while Sean Payton serves a year-long suspension because of his role in the bounty scandal.
Vitt has strong ties to the Eagles. In addition to serving as their linebackers coach under Ray Rhodes from 1995-98, the former resident of Blackwood, Gloucester Township, and Highland Regional High School graduate grew up as a huge Eagles fan.
"Are you kidding me?" Vitt said Thursday during a phone interview. "Was I an Eagles fan? Of course I was. I go back to the days of (linebacker) Tim Rossovich and (safety) Bill Bradley. And I still have a lot of family and friends in Blackwood. Tell them to quit listening to (Philadelphia sports talk radio station) WIP and go get a job."
Patterson could make his season debut against the Saints.
Patterson, who has sat out the entire season while recovering from offseason brain surgery, started practicing for the first time last week and has been gradually getting more reps with the defense as part of the rotation at defensive tackle with Fletecher Cox, Jenkins, Derek Landri and Cedric Thornton.
"I'm excited and anxious to get back out there," Patterson said. "You never know how it's going to go, but I feel like I can get out there and help the team. I don't know what's going to happen, but I hope I get to play. I'm planning on it."
Bumps and bruises
Wide receiver Mardy Gilyard (strained hamstring), Jenkins (hyperextended knee) and guard Danny Watkins (sore ankle) did not practice. Jenkins said he plans to play, but Gilyard and Watkins are expected to miss the game.
Rookie Damaris Johnson will replace Gilyard as the punt returner and rookie Dennis Kelly will start his second straight game at right guard. Kelly was a backup tackle before being moved inside to guard last week. His only previous experience at guard was during a preseason game.
"It was definitely different, but I thought I did OK (against the Falcons)," Kelly said Thursday. "I felt myself getting more and more comfortable as the game went on."
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