"I just felt like I needed to say something to the guys and see if we can all get on the same page and get this thing rolling," Dawkins said after Wednesday's team meeting.
A 13-13 tie against the lowly Cincinnati Bengals (1-8-1) left everyone in a bad mood this week. The Eagles (5-4-1) somehow have to find a way to fix their problems or this underachieving group could be in for a major overhaul.
Fire Reid. Trade Donovan McNabb. Get rid of both. The heat's on the coach and the quarterback in Philadelphia. But there's six games left to save the season.
That's part of the message Reid tried to give his team when he addressed them before practice. Dawkins, the 13-year veteran, felt it was appropriate to have a players-only chat afterward.
"He was very animated with what he was feeling," Dawkins said of the usually stoic Reid. "Hopefully guys felt what I felt. Hopefully everything got through. We'll see. Talking only goes so far. We'll see if that goes over into Sunday."
Reid and McNabb are in their 10th seasons in Philadelphia. They've had quite a bit of success, but not recently. Their collective resume includes six playoff appearances, four trips to the NFC championship game and a loss to New England in the 2005 Super Bowl.
But they haven't won it all and it might be time for a fresh start for at least one of them. The coach is more likely to outlast the QB because the team drafted Kevin Kolb last year and started grooming him to replace McNabb.
Reid hardly ever reacts to public criticism, so it's no surprise he isn't saying much now that people are calling for his job. "I don't get into all that," he said. "I'm here to do my job. I know people want us to win football games and we want to win and that's the most important thing. Anything that gets in the way of that, I ignore. We just have to take care of business and get ourselves on the right track."
McNabb came under fire more for his ignorance about the overtime rule than his recent poor performances. He claims it doesn't bother him when people criticize him, but he doesn't like it when the negativity is directed at Reid or his teammates.
"It bothers me when it comes to any of my teammates or coaches," he said. "I think the way that I can try to eliminate that is just to go out and play football and win games. We know that you're not going to please everybody. Everybody is going to have their own opinion about what is going on around here. People think that change is the answer. Andy is a guy that I feel will be here a long time. I expect to be here for a long time. The thing we are really focused on here is just going out doing what we have to do to win."
Despite their struggles, the Eagles remain in the NFC's playoff picture. They're a half-game behind Washington, Dallas and Atlanta for the final wild-card spot with games against the Redskins and Cowboys the last two weeks.
Those games against the division rivals won't matter if Philadelphia doesn't start winning now. The Eagles have a tough matchup at Baltimore (6-4) on Sunday. The Ravens are coming off a 30-10 loss at the New York Giants. Before their dismal effort at Cincinnati, the Eagles lost 36-31 to the Giants.