Eagles More Comfortable Playing in Seattle This Time Around

Brandon Brooks thought of a good way to describe what it's like to play in a loud atmosphere and still hear the quarterback. 

Ever been in a large crowd, but can still hear your mom? 

"You know what it is," Brooks said. "You can hear her voice. It's the same way with Carson. So as loud as it is, you're trained to listen to him. Unless it's like an airhorn in your ear, you're gonna hear his voice out of everything or at least hear bits and pieces of it. It's loud, don't get me wrong. But when you're playing you can tune that out a little bit and at least hear Carson and communicate back and forth." 

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The Eagles are about to go into a pretty big crowd on Sunday night against the Seattle Seahawks. While some of the prestige of CenturyLink Field has been lost in recent weeks, it's still a really tough place to play. 

The Eagles found that out last season, when they lost there, 26-15, to kick off a five-game losing skid. 

But this Eagles team is obviously much better than the team that lost in Seattle a year ago. While the Seahawks don't seem like the same dominant team again this season, the Eagles are the best team in the NFC. And having played in Seattle last year ought to help. 

"It's a huge help," Wentz said. "We went into there last year, heard all about it, knew what to expect. It's definitely loud. It's quite the atmosphere. It's a fun place to play. I think most guys have been there now, so I think that will pay dividends in our week of prep, knowing how much we need to emphasize hand signals and communicating things non-verbally."

Frank Reich brought up an interesting point earlier this week. There's always a lot made about the crowd noise in Seattle, The 12th Man and all that. But "in another respect, loud is loud, and once you're using the silent count, you're using a silent count," Reich said. 

The Eagles have had plenty of practice with the silent count this season. While they won just one game on the road in 2016, they're already 4-1 on the road this year as they kick off a three-game road trip this weekend. They've played in Washington, Kansas City, L.A., Carolina and Dallas. 

They're at a place now where they're really comfortable with their silent count. Last season, Pederson said they can get so comfortable going silent that it actually becomes weird when they finally hear a live voice again. 

"We feel really good with it," Wentz said. "I personally always prefer to play at home and use the cadence, but you can always use the silent cadence as a weapon as well. We feel really confident with it. We've used it enough this year with that road stretch earlier in the year, where we feel good with it."

For the last two seasons, the trio of Brooks, Jason Kelce and Wentz have kept the silent count working. It's Brooks' job to tap Kelce on his left side to trigger the snap, though Eagles have plenty of silent procedure mechanisms to trigger the snap. The key is to switch them up. 

Going to the silent count can sometimes be more difficult on tackles, tight ends and receivers. They can't use listening as a crutch. Instead, they have to keep an eye on the ball. 

That can be a problem for players like Lane Johnson, who really relies on getting off the ball and getting into his stance quickly. While he's watching the ball, he has to also be aware of what the defender in front of him is doing. He can't let the defensive end slide away from him while he's busy paying attention to the football. 

"The thing is, you kind of have to see where the end is and sometimes they'll squeeze down, a blitz might be coming," Johnson said. "A lot of things are going on. That's the toughest thing."

When the Eagles are preparing for a road game like this, they begin using that silent count in practice early. It's something Brooks said he can't really work on individually; it is an emphasis during team periods of practice. The Eagles will likely practice inside on Friday to get some exposure to crowd noise. 

While CenturyLink Field has earned its reputation as a loud and tough place to play, the Seahawks have looked much more vulnerable at home lately. After winning their first four games at home this season, they have lost the last two in their own nest - to Washington on Nov. 5 and Atlanta on Nov. 20. 

If the Eagles beat them there, it will be the first time the Seahawks have lost three in a row at home since the 2008 season. 

Are they worried about teams no longer having that fear of playing there?  

"No, I don't care about that," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said on a conference call earlier this week. "I don't think anybody is fearing anything. We're just playing football. We play at a good place and we gotta play well when we're here. If we do the right stuff and play well, then the results are what they are. I don't think it has anything to do with fear. And I don't care about that at all." 

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