Players reject rebuilding tag
Eagles’ goal, win and have fun
PHILADELPHIA >> If the Eagles are in a rebuilding mode this season, as their slide has suggested, it’s news to the players. In fact, it’s breaking news. Veteran safety Malcolm Jenkins echoed how a core group of veterans felt about those portrayals, suggesting you consider the source(s).
“I’m not here to rebuild,” Jenkins said. “That’s Howie’s job. We’re here to play and to win. Everybody in this building has been paid and compensated not to just occupy a seat but to win. So our mindset is that we’re trying to win with the guys that we have here, people that we have in the building right now. We’ll let the people upstairs figure out whether we’re building or what we’re doing past this time.”
The reference to Eagles player personnel boss Howie Roseman is interesting in that the separation between player procurement and the coaching staff is real. On numerous occasions Pederson, and
“I’m not here to rebuild. That’s Howie’s job. We’re here to play and to win. Everybody in this building has been paid and compensated not to just occupy a seat but to win. So our mindset is that we’re trying to win with the guys that we have here.” – Eagles’ Malcolm Jenkins
even one of his assistants, have spoken of Roseman’s “team.”
While the Eagles are playing a lot of young players, with rookie quarterback Carson Wentz chief among them, it’s not like they’re being used over proven veterans. At this point the mini youth movement is more a product of injury replacements rather than Roseman edicts.
“It’s a win-now league,” defensive end Brandon Graham said. “We don’t ever talk about rebuilding, none of that. We don’t ever take a year off as far as we need to lose these games because we can get a certain pick. No, we go out here and we try to work every day because we’ve grinded during the offseason and we want to win. We don’t want to sit at home while the playoffs are going saying ‘oh, we wish we could have did this, or if we did that better.’”
Pederson, just the same, has found it difficult communicating the process and how he fits into it. After the disappointing loss to the Green Bay Packers dropping the Eagles under
.500, Pederson said he wanted to find out what his team was made of and who wants to be here next year over the last five games. That sure sounded like he was playing for next year.
On Wednesday Pederson couldn’t have been clearer during a talk with his players.
“Well, I think a lot of that was obviously after a lot of frustration directly after a game,” Jenkins said. “Today was a lot more positive note just talking about having fun, paying attention to details. Understanding that the formula is simple — let’s win. And then just kind of detail throughout the week how we go about doing that. So I think it’s one of those things where everybody had an opportunity to take a critical look at themselves on what they bring to the team and what their role is on the team.”
Graham was almost outraged over the rebuilding questions. He said Pederson never has mentioned it.
What Pederson has sensed in the Eagles (5-6), who have lost six of their last eight games, is tightness.
“It’s a team thing, and we all need to just go out there and play loose and play free,” Graham said. “The coaches had us prepared.
It wasn’t like we didn’t know (Aaron Rodgers) was going to throw the ball quick. We practiced that all week. We just kind of you know, got kind of tight.
“I’m focusing on having fun because last game, it wasn’t fun. You know, as fun as it has been, especially being at home. We were so caught up in ‘man, we need to have this game’ we kind of lost sight of, ‘it’s football, you all, let’s have fun.’ And that’s how we play best, we play loose. That’s the message this week, just go out there and have fun. The worst has happened to us already. Now let’s go out here and pick it up and get back to where we were in the beginning.”
Interjected in Graham’s response was a question about Fletcher Cox, who resides in the locker next to him. The spotlight has been on Cox, who, after defensive player of the month honors in September, hasn’t lived up to the $103 million contract extension he signed this past summer.
“That’s a lot of pressure, you know what I’m saying?,” Graham said. “In the beginning Fletch was loose. Fletch was having fun. All I’m saying now is let’s get back to having fun.
Despite everything, despite the record we’re out here every day. Why not have fun? Let’s have some good memories on these last five games and challenge one another to just go out there and have fun. Next play mentality. People have said the worst they could say to us and say about us. Let’s not let it happen these last five games.”
Asked point blank if Cox was pressing, Graham responded “You’ve got to ask him.”
At any rate, the Eagles are facing a mirror image of themselves this week in the Cincinnati Bengals (37-1). The Bengals have won just one of their last seven games and have had trouble scoring points.
The Eagles have scored 28 points the last two games, the Bengals 26.
Jenkins says the Eagles are throwing all of their resources into making a push for the playoffs. Reality, however, is what it is.
“There’s that harsh reality also that every time you step into this building and step on the field and that camera gets turned on you’re being evaluated,” Jenkins said. “And that’s everybody in the building. So just kind of that friendly reminder, I think, gets guys motivated.”
Malcolm Jenkins tries to stop Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb in the first half Monday.