February 01, 2023
In the leadup to the NFC Championship Game, the Philadelphia Eagles were careful to only say complimentary things about their upcoming opponent, the San Francisco 49ers. They were also seemingly looking for anything from the 49ers' side to use as added motivation. They found it in a quote from George Kittle, who was asked if the Eagles had the talent to match "the 49ers' physicality."
Darius Slay said on his podcast that this comment from George Kittle triggered the Eagles’ defense during the week: pic.twitter.com/PX63919w2s— Akash Anavarathan (@akashanav) January 31, 2023
For those of you who would rather read it:
“We’ll see on Sunday, won’t we? I mean they got six first-round draft picks on the D-line. They’ve got a really good secondary. They’ve got physical guys at linebacker. So yeah, whatever you see on paper, sure. I mean, it’s the NFL. Whenever you look at paper, it should be like oh yeah we can match their physicality and stuff like that and then you get on the field on Sundays and the film after the game will show exactly what you’re asking. I know we’re going to come out and be violent and physical and I’m expecting them to be the same thing, but we’ll see.”
Kittle isn't exactly calling the Eagles soft with that quote, but it feels clear that he believed the Niners would be the more physical team, as any confident player should. There's not much there in terms of juicy bulletin board material, but the Eagles latched onto it, and in the locker room after the game, several defensive linemen referenced Kittle's quote. Honestly, most Eagles reporters (self included) had no idea what they were talking about, which is saying something for a group of people always on the lookout for story ideas.
Darius Slay explained the defense's objections to it on his podcast:
.@bigplay24slay speaks on how George Kittle's comments triggered the Eagles before the NFC Championship game pic.twitter.com/hH4uYIFbXv— The Volume (@TheVolumeSports) January 31, 2023
So basically this:
As it turned out, the Eagles knocked out both of the Niners' active quarterbacks, and were pretty clearly the more physical team, on both sides of the ball.
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