A close playoff loss is never an easy thing to swallow, but it can provide some major motivation for a team to improve. Last season’s Super bowl champion Seattle Seahawks were ousted by the Atlanta Falcons in 2012 in eerily similar fashion to the Eagles/Saints wild card game in 2013. After mounting a furious second half comeback, the Eagles came up just short and lost via field goal in the closing seconds.
The memory is still burning for many of Philadelphia’s players, chief among them defensive tackle Cedric Thornton. Thornton and the rest of the defensive linemen were subjected to a lot of criticism after the loss and he’s using it to fuel his competitive fire.
Over the weekend Thornton told Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com that he still watches it:
“I still watch the game… It wasn’t that they ran all on us. We were definitely in position to make plays. It was just that finishing thing. I promise you, if we had that game back 10 times we would win nine out of 10.”
The Eagles won’t get a chance to prove Thornton right unless they meet the Saints in the playoffs; a prospect that he is looking forward too. Despite the calls for upgrading the defensive line Thornton is very confident in the current group and couldn’t care less what anybody else thinks:
“I watch film and I don’t see nobody as athletic as Bennie Logan inside and I don’t see nobody as athletic as Fletcher Cox. Who cares what somebody else says? We know what we’ve got.”
That’s the perfect attitude to take. Expect Thornton, Cox and company to come out swinging in 2014. With another year’s experience learning the 3-4 defense they should be much more difficult to handle.