Pederson’s quarterback game had a purpose
Doug Pederson strolled into the NewsControl Compound Monday, shared what everyone already seemed to know, and refused to answer questions. Nick Foles, he finally half-snarled, would be his Week 1 quarterback. And with that, he would race off to someplace else.
So he’d done it again, Pederson had. In the hours before the seasonopener, he had again become knighted as the prince of the city. He was the picked-on victim, and with that, he would be the embodiment of an Eagles-vs.-Everybody spirit that allowed the last season to both begin and end with him ducking a highand-tight tub of flying sports-drink goo.
Everyone enjoys a good confrontation between a public figure and the press. And the Eagles last year took one and ran with it, from beginning to end. Though they were still on their 0-for-57 championship slide after one successful game, Pederson was drenched in Gatorade by a couple of his players. While that ceremony typically is reserved for more substantial achievements than defeating the Washington Redskins, that one had a message: The Birds had Pederson’s soggy back after he’d been characterized earlier in the week by a failed football executive as the least qualified coach in the NFL.
From there, the dance continued, all through a season that, early on, seemed different. By the time they reached the playoffs, certain Eagles would wear German shepherd masks to emphasize their underdog status and mentality. Famously, Malcolm Jenkins would verbalize it, saying, “We’re all we got, we’re all we need,” with the Birds borrowing it for inspiration.
By the time the Eagles won the championship, Jason Kelce was emboldened to scold the 700,000 who’d been lured to the Parkway to celebrate, screaming at them that they were too quick to doubt the players, and neatly doing so in catalog form. Not content to let it rest there, the Eagles all had images of dogs engraved inside their championship rings, an eternal reminder that they were what they were, and everyone else was not.
It worked. So who’s to argue? And if Pederson is anything, he is a coach who knows when to run a successful play. His choice this week: Make an international issue over something as
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