Both major doubts about Doug Pederson have been erased

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Both major doubts about Doug Pederson have been erased

MVP candidate quarterback. Future Hall of Fame left tackle. Starting middle linebacker. The ultimate, all-purpose swiss-army knife. The captain of your special teams. The starting kicker. That's the short but long list of impactful Eagles players that have been lost to injury this season. 

Yet, here we stand on the brink of their meaningless season finale. The Eagles won the regular season — there is nothing else they could have accomplished short of going undefeated. Division title, bye week, home-field advantage throughout the postseason.

You don't overcome the depth and scope of those types of losses to achieve what they have without serious leadership from the top. Credit to Howie Roseman, Joe Douglas and the Eagles' front office for having enough depth to survive the subtractions. And props to the players — this is a determined group who play for one another. But the lion's share of the praise goes to the head coach. Doug Pederson has done a masterful job all season scheming and game-planning. The Birds are second in the NFL in scoring and rushing and fourth in total yards per game. That doesn't happen by accident. They've scored 30 points or more nine times.

But beyond the X's and O's is where you see the true brilliance of the job Pederson has done this year. Coaching is more about adapting and overcoming during the course of a long season than it is dialing up the right plays. Watch enough NFL games each week and you see plenty of teams that do not show up. You could make an argument the Eagles have had two ugly games in the 15 they've played. Maybe three if you count Seattle (I don't). Both of those games — Giants and Raiders — they still managed to win. And there is a big difference between an ugly game and not coming to play altogether. The Eagles have not had one of the latter all season. That's all Doug.

From the comeback in a hostile environment in L.A after losing Carson Wentz, to Kamu Grugier-Hill kicking off, to losing your blindside tackle, there was never a "woe is us," feel-sorry-for-yourself mentality. The next-man-up mantra is clichéd in sports but it's apt for this team. So if you're rightfully concerned about Nick Foles and the Eagles' corners in their pursuit of that elusive Super Bowl title, look no further than the club's ability to conquer the high mountains that have been placed in from of them all year, to buoy your spirits.     

Heading into this season, the jury was out on Pederson both from a strategical standpoint and as a motivator. He's delivered a knockout blow to both of those doubts. Does this ensure a parade or even a playoff win? No. The Eagles enter the postseason tournament with a lot of questions, and you wonder if Wentz injury wasn't the one that broke the bow. But one thing that is assured: The head coach will have them ready to play regardless of the circumstances.

Vinny Curry reportedly heading to the Buccaneers

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Vinny Curry reportedly heading to the Buccaneers

One day after being released from the Eagles, Vinny Curry has reportedly already found a new home.

The defensive end is heading to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a three-year deal worth up to $27 million, with an $11.5 million injury guarantee, according to ESPN's Jenna Laine.

After signing him to a five-year, $47.25 million extension in 2016, the Eagles moved on from Curry and his $11 million cap hit on Friday. The transaction saved the Eagles $5 million in cap space with $6 million in dead money — the final three years of prorated signing bonus money.

While Curry had the best season of his career in 2017, his production still didn't match his high cap number and he became more expendable after the Eagles acquired Pro Bowler Michael Bennett from the Seahawks.

Curry will join former Eagles defensive tackle Beau Allen in Tampa Bay. Allen signed a three-year with the Buccaneers earlier in the week. 

As Bradham re-signs, he lauds former teammate

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As Bradham re-signs, he lauds former teammate

After getting the opportunity to stay with the Super Bowl champions, Nigel Bradham spoke at length and quite passionately about someone who didn’t get the same opportunity.
Brent Celek.
Bradham, the veteran linebacker, spent the last two years with Celek, who the Eagles released earlier this week after 11 seasons.
“That’s obviously devastating, man,” Bradham said. “Taking about a guy who was here his whole career and the way he came every day and his character every day.
“He really … me and a lot of guys on our team what it takes to win a Super Bowl, and he let us know it doesn’t come easy, it takes work, and he came in and worked every day. Like no other.”
Celek was due to earn $5 million in 2018 but is counting only $1 million in dead money against the 2018 cap, so the Eagles gained $4 million under the cap by releasing him.
That cap space certainly helped them find room to re-sign Bradham, who enjoyed a career-best season in 2017 for the Super Bowl champs.
But Bradham was effusive in his praise for the veteran tight end, who has played the fourth-most games in Eagles history.
“You would never know he was (11) years in because of the way he worked,” Bradham said. “So when you lose a guy like that it obviously takes a toll on your team.
“You hate to lose guys like that that meant so much and impacted this team so much. His leadership was on another level. He went over and beyond the things he could have done as a leader. Obviously, wish he could be here still.”