Trey Burton knows things can change at the drop of a dime.

The fourth-year tight end didn’t know until shortly before the Philadelphia Eagles‘ Week 9 win over the Denver Broncos that he’d be called upon to replace Pro Bowl-caliber teammate Zach Ertz. And he certainly didn’t know he’d be on the receiving end of a score during yet another four-touchdown day for his friend and quarterback, Carson Wentz.

So you’ll have to excuse him if he sticks with the age-old coaching formula of taking things day by day. In other words, as most smart NFL players would do, he’s not going to be endorsing any Vegas odds of a Super Bowl title any time soon.

“Enough guys have been on teams who have started out strong only to tank the rest of the season,” Burton told CBSSports.com, assuring the City of Brotherly Love — and perhaps some overly zealous Eagles fans — that no one under coach Doug Pederson’s watch is taking the team’s 8-1 start for granted.

That doesn’t mean, however, the Eagles aren’t aware of what’s brewing in their facility.

“We know this definitely could be a special season,” Burton said. “We hold each other accountable and have an unbelievable head coach who knows what he’s doing and has our best interests in mind. We’re excited for this city.”

Part of Pederson’s appeal, it seems, comes in the coach’s willingness to let players be themselves, as other Eagles have echoed during the team’s rise atop the NFC. That, coupled with an overwhelmingly evident presence of faith and social activism among team leaders, has produced what Burton called one of the tightest Philadelphia locker rooms of recent history.

“Winning covers up a lot of problems, but I do know, from the faith journey, it’s grown tremendously,” he said of the team’s unity. “In the locker room, guys are just closer. There were more guys my first couple years that were more individualistic. They didn’t really hang out much. We just have a bunch of guys who like to be with each other. It sparks the relationship, just wanting to be around them.”

Not all Eagles, Burton added, subscribe to the type of devout Christian faith proclaimed by guys like Wentz and wide receiver Marcus Johnson, whose baptism at a team hotel pool went viral this season, but the team’s overabundance of opportunities for fellowship in Bible studies and other faith-centered gatherings has aided the Eagles’ off-field connection.

“We do a couples Bible study every Monday night,” said the former undrafted veteran, who contributed to a Bible app devotional series with Wentz, Ertz, Nick Foles and Chris Maragos before the season. “Thursday, ideally, we do a team Bible study at the facility. Saturday, another guy leads. And after meetings, that night in one of our hotel rooms, we’ll chop it up and pray for reach other. If we play Sunday night or any night game, we have another one with a chaplain in the morning. We do a lot of stuff so everybody can get involved.”

The community also, as Burton put it, provides fuel for the team to overcome season-ending injuries to captains — both official and unofficial — like Maragos and Jordan Hicks, professed members of the Bible studies and Wentz’s “Audience of One” crew.

“We’ve had a lot of guys who are strong leaders get hurt after showing their boldness for the Lord,” Burton said. “Satan can’t control us on the field, so he’s going to try to attack us off the field, attacking us physically.”

The Dallas Cowboys are up next as the Eagles prepare for “Sunday Night Football” in Week 11. And with a week of extra rest, the fire for a return to the field figures to be just as notable as the confidence of the team entering another NFC East matchup — the Birds are 3-0 against divisional opponents to start 2017.

Burton knows better than to forecast what’s to come, though. The safer play, in fact, might be to just let the Eagles keep doing what they’re doing, on the road to something “special.”


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