An Eagles home opener is always special, energy and sparks coursing through the stadium.
When you toss in the glamour of “Monday Night Football,” the national broadcast and the fans’ expectations of an excellent Eagles season, you’re looking at a potential rock-your-world event.
Into that spectacle Monday night will charge the Eagles’ biggest star — wide receiver A.J. Brown, who had 10 catches for 155 yards in his debut, a 38-35 Eagles victory over the Lions.
When the Eagles take the field to play the Vikings in a match-up of 1-0 teams, Brown can expect a Brian Dawkins-like welcome of wild and loud cheering.
“I’m very excited for the first home game,” Brown said. “I just think the place is going to be on fire.
“I keep hearing so much about it. I just think the place is going to be electric. It’s going to be tough to play in there if I’m the opposing team.”
Brown has become revered in Philadelphia for his work-ethic, attitude and on-field production. Philly fans are smart. They know when a player is one of them and willing to work for a desired result.
They see Brown as a team-guy, not a me-guy — an important distinction in the ecosystem of swaggering wide receivers. They have adopted Brown as one of their own.
- “It’s definitely a passionate city,” Brown said. “They really love this game.
- “They put their inputs on the game and they let us know it. It’s been love, especially for me since I’ve got here. I keep saying that because that’s exactly what it’s been.”
BOUNCE BACK FOR DEVONTA?
While Smith had a huge game against Detroit, his running mate DeVonta Smith had zero catches on four targets.
- “[We had] the same conversations as last week — be prepared, make the most of your opportunities,” Brown said about Smith.
- “I have no doubt in my mind that he’s going to come out and respond. I’m excited for him. Definitely going to be a lot of attention on me but that’s what comes with it. I know he’s excited to ‘hoop,’ as we say.”
The Vikings held Aaron Rodgers to 195 passing yards on 22-of-34 passes last Sunday. Rodgers did not have a touchdown pass and threw one interception in the 23-7 Green Bay loss.
“They play a lot of zone,” Brown said. “They try not to get beat deep. They try to keep everything in front of them. They have a really good back end. I have a lot of respect for them.”
On the opposing sideline is Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson, one of the NFL’s best receivers. There is an obvious rivalry when you get to compete against another great one.
“I know who I am as a receiver,” Brown said. “I try to watch everybody. If I see something I like, I’ll definitely put it in my game.
“He’s one of the best. In my opinion, he’s top three in this league. I’m excited for our defense because they have a big challenge in front of them. I’m excited for [cornerback Darius] Slay and the match-up. I know he’s pumped for it, too.”
STRONG EAGLES’ OFFENSE
Of course, the Eagles’ offense scored 31 points against Detroit. They had a strong running game, Brown showed his considerable talent and quarterback Jalen Hurts orchestrated both aspects of the offense.
- “We have a lot of playmakers and options,” Smith said. “That’s a key to a great offense and we know that, while we scored 31 points [from the offense] last week, we have a lot more in us.
- “We all have to be ready when the opportunity presents itself. Control what you can control and that’s being ready when your number is called.”
Interestingly, Brown said he *mostly* avoids social media.
- “I don’t try to hang up on one game,” Brown said. “It’s week-to-week in this league.
- “That’s kinda the main reason I removed social media off my phone. I don’t believe my own hype. I got to come in and work each and every day. It can get into your head.
- “Everybody wants to hear good things about them. I just try to focus on me. I feed myself whatever thoughts I need to feed myself before the game or before practice. I get myself prepared. I don’t want it to come from an outsider …
- “I don’t need people to tell me how good I am, or how bad I am. I’m just trying to focus on this week, and make this week my best week.
- “If I tweet something, I tweet and get right back off … That’s how I treat Twitter.
- “I hope people don’t take me serious on Twitter because I just be playin’ … Just try to focus on myself because it’s me against me.”
For Brown and the Eagles — and 67,000 fans at Lincoln Financial Field — the Vikings are a serious opponent and worthy challenger.
For a team whose aspirations include winning their division, this is a measuring stick game at home, one to win.