Ped­er­son has Re­ich’s vote for Coach of the Year

The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) - - SPORTS - By Bob Grotz bgrotz@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @BobGrotz on Twit­ter

There is no short­age of coach-of-the-year can­di­dates in this, an­other up­side down NFL sea­son.

There are 11 teams with six or more vic­to­ries, the Ea­gles lead­ing the way with an 8-1 mark. Seven of those teams didn’t make the play­offs last year, the list com­posed of the Birds, Rams (7-2), Vik­ings (7-2), Saints (7-2), Pan­thers (7-3), Jaguars (6-3) and Titans (6-3).

That makes for a lot of wor­thy can­di­dates.

Frank Re­ich ob­vi­ously is bi­ased. But he makes a solid case for Philly head coach Doug Ped­er­son, who he “ab­so­lutely” feels has earned his place at the ta­ble.

“We’ll see at the end of the year but cer­tainly at this point, look at the record of our team,” Re­ich said. “Look at the job that Doug has done in every facet from be­ing the play caller, to be­ing the pri­mary leader on our team. You can’t say enough about it. I just think that speaks to the qual­ity of his work and the qual­ity of who he is as a per­son. He de­serves

what­ever at­ten­tion he’s get­ting right now. It is well de­served.”

The good news for Ped­er­son and the Ea­gles is that un­der the mod­ern play­off for­mat, at least four teams have made the post­sea­son the year af­ter they missed it.

The more sober­ing news is that the Ea­gles are one of two red hot teams sport­ing se­v­engame win streaks. The other is the Saints, who started 0-2. The only other team to win seven in a row af­ter los­ing the first two games of the sea­son is the 1993 Cow­boys, who went on to win the Su­per Bowl.

Ped­er­son, just the same, hasn’t done any­thing wrong since fail­ing to run the ball in the loss to the Chiefs in Week 2.

“We, as a coach­ing staff and I be­lieve the play­ers feel this is a guy you want to fol­low be­cause you be­lieve in him,” Re­ich said. “His in­tegrity is im­pec­ca­ble. His work ethic is sec­ond to none. He’s just the kind of guy you like work­ing for.”

••• The Ea­gles have seen enough of of­fen­sive tackle Taylor Hart, the con­verted de­fen­sive end, to cut him in fa­vor of jour­ney­man tackle Will Beatty, not to be con­fused with Ned Beatty.

Beatty (6-6, 319) hasn’t seen ac­tion since 2016, when he ap­peared in six games for the Gi­ants. He started in four straight sea­sons for the Gi­ants, who took him off the board late in the sec­ond round of the 2009 draft.

Hart prac­ticed for one week but was de­ac­ti­vated on game day.

••• Ea­gles de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Jim Schwartz wouldn’t com­mit to play­ing Ron­ald Darby this week­end, which was not the way the cor­ner­back rep­re­sented his re­turn to ac­tion af­ter be­ing shelved with a dis­lo­cated an­kle in the sea­son opener.

Just the same, Schwartz con­ceded that when Darby re­turns he would likely per­form at left cor­ner­back, where Ea­gles in­ter­cep­tions co-leader Jalen Mills (three picks) has played re­mark­ably well. Mills would move to the other side.

Darby also has been get­ting snaps on the right side, per Schwartz.

“Those guys can all play both po­si­tions,” Schwartz said. “They can all play both sides. I think that’s im­por­tant. Again, this is fur­ther on down the line. But if we get in po­si­tions where we want to match a re­ceiver, he has the abil­ity to do that.”

Schwartz also con­firmed the ob­vi­ous – newly signed vet­er­an­lineback­erDan­nel­lEllerbe would­com­pete­with­JoeWalker for snaps in the mid­dle.

The soon-to-be 32-yearold old Ellerbe (6-1, 236) also could help in sub-pack­ages.

“He hasn’t been on the field for a pretty long time, so there’s a sem­blance of get­ting back in foot­ball shape,” Schwartz said. “We’ll let that play out and see where it goes. But it’s good to have a vet­eran player there that has a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence, and he’s got both of those. … I think we’ll start him prob­a­bly learn­ing all three po­si­tions. Then also the nickel and the nickel SAM po­si­tion, and we’ll see where it goes.”

•••

You now can vote for the 2018 Pro Bowl ros­ter through di­rect mes­sages (DM) on Twit­ter.

Vote via en­try cards tweeted from all 32 team ac­counts or by di­rectly vis­it­ing the @NFL pro­file page at Twit­ter.com/NFL.

The en­try cards pro­vide a pri­vate “Di­rect Mes­sage” op­tion to se­lect a po­si­tion group or play­ers or teams to be­gin the vot­ing process.

In the fi­nal week of Pro Bowl vot­ing, Dec. 7-to-14, vote di­rectly on Twit­ter by tweet­ing the first and last name of the player, or the player’s Twit­ter han­dle, along with the hash­tag: #ProBowlVote.

In other words, @CJ_ Wentz, #ProBowlVote.

••• NOTES: The Ea­gles lead the NFL with 32 touch­downs. Ertz tops the squad with six TDs. Nel­son Agholor and Al­shon Jef­fery have five apiece … Only the Rams (32.9 points) av­er­age more points per game than the Ea­gles, who put up 31.4 weekly … Dat­ing to last sea­son, the Ea­gles have scored 20 or more points in 13 straight games, the long­est ac­tive streak of any team in the league … The Ea­gles have won two of the last three games ver­sus the Cow­boys, who won in over­time last year at AT&T Sta­dium. The Birds are three­p­oint fa­vorites Sun­day night … Cow­boys de­fen­sive end DeMar­cus Lawrence leads the league with a ca­reer-best 11 ½ sacks. Team­mate David Irv­ing has 6 sacks in his last five games, four of them at AT&T Sta­dium … Ref­eree Bill Vi­novich and his crew of­fi­ci­at­ing the game. In essence, that means no funny busi­ness.

MICHAEL PEREZ — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Philadel­phia Ea­gles head coach Doug Ped­er­son smiles dur­ing warmups be­fore the game against the Den­ver Bron­cos.

JEFF HAYNES — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Dal­las Cow­boys quar­ter­back Dak Prescott (4) hands the ball off against the At­lanta Fal­cons dur­ing an NFL foot­ball

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