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Full-strength Eagles invite rowdiness for NFC title game

Jan 1, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni talks with defensive tackle Javon Hargrave (97) and defensive end Brandon Graham (55) during an injury timeout in the first quarter against the New Orleans Saints at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

As the Eagles prepare for their first NFC Championship game appearance since the 2017 season, Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said he plans for every player to be available for practice this week.

That includes wide receiver A.J. Brown and slot cornerback Avonte Maddox, who hasn’t practiced since a toe injury Dec. 24 at Dallas.

The Eagles (15-3) host the 49ers (15-4) on Sunday and the No. 1 seed in the NFC is cherishing the home-field advantage.

“There’s just a lot that has to happen because of the noise,” Sirianni said. “There’s a lot of work that has to be done. That’s a big advantage, that is a big advantage for the defense, home team obviously. We know how good our fans are, how loud they are, how rowdy.”

Philadelphia is 8-2 at home this season. The 49ers went 5-3 on the road in the regular season and leaves home for the first time in the playoffs after wins over the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys.

Brown, who had 88 receptions for 1,496 yards in his first season with the Eagles, was frustrated after last week’s 31-point victory over the New York Giants. Sirianni said he was fine with Brown venting over his three catches for 22 yards because of a nagging injury.

The Eagles are leaning on longtime veterans with Super Bowl LII hardware such as All-Pro center Jason Kelce and defensive end Brandon Graham to keep newcomers and veterans alike focused on the task at hand.

“When I first got the job here, I said I wasn’t like other first-year head coaches,” Sirianni said. “Why I said that is I have these unbelievable players who’ve been to the mountaintop, played 10-plus years. We have great leaders on this team. They lead the way with how we practice, prepare, play in any game. We have guys who’ve played in big-time college games as well. The wins that they’ve had, that’s obviously a big advantage for our team.”

–Field Level Media