Ped­er­son’s quar­ter­back game had a pur­pose

The Review - - SPORTS - Jack McCaf­fery Colum­nist

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

De­shaun Billups chases down Straw­berry Man­sion’s Amir Wil­son.

Nasir English finds the end zone for Roxbor­ough’s first score.

La­mar Wilkes out sprints two Straw­berry Man­sion de­fend­ers.

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