Chatter bugs Jason Kelce, Stefen Wisniewski giving Eagles rare combo

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Chatter bugs Jason Kelce, Stefen Wisniewski giving Eagles rare combo

Brandon Brooks joked that it actually gets on his nerves sometimes. 

During the middle of games, Jason Kelce and Stefen Wisniewski go second-level in their conversations. It's almost like having two centers geeking out at times. 

"After every play and between every play," Brooks said, "they're looking at each other and talking about the different coverages going on, like, 'If the safety's two feet over, he might do this.'"

The Eagles are in a unique position having two players starting next to each other with significant starting experience at center. The center, often one of the smartest players on the field, is responsible for partially diagnosing coverages and making line calls. 

The Eagles have two. 

With Wisniewski at left guard next to Kelce, sometimes he'll see something Kelce misses, so he passes along the information. They're in constant communication throughout every game. 

Lane Johnson said Wisniewski and Kelce are among the smartest football players he's ever been around. That combined knowledge means a lot to the Eagles. 

"He's played center, he's played guard, he's played all over the place," Kelce said of Wisniewski. "He's a very, very smart guy who understands the calls because he's the next guy in at center, so he has to know the calls. He's just as involved in the game plan, in terms of that, as I am."

Wisniewski said Kelce obviously has final say on all the calls, but is always willing to listen to his input. As a center himself, Wisniewski said the more information coming in, the better. 

"It's a lot of fun. I enjoy playing with Kelce," Wisniewski said. "He's a really smart guy. I've learned a lot from him. Hopefully, he's learned some things from me, too." 

Wisniewski didn't become the Eagles' starter at left guard until Week 4. Before that, the Eagles began the season with Isaac Seumalo and then even gave Chance Warmack the first chance to start after Seumalo was benched. Wisniewski was the third option this season. And that comes after he was behind Allen Barbre and Seumalo last year. 

Since arriving in Philly in 2016, Wisniewski hasn't been shy about his desire to become a starter again. The former second-round pick started 77 NFL games in Oakland and Jacksonville before joining the Eagles. 

On Friday, he admitted it was "tough" waiting for his turn this season. Since being inserted as the starter, he's clearly won the job. The line has been much better with him in there. 

"I think I'm playing well this year and I know I'm a starting-quality player," Wisniewski said. "I think I'm playing at a high level and showing that I deserve to be a starter."

Wisniewski signed a three-year deal this offseason to remain in Philly, which was a little bit of a surprise because of his desire to become a starter again. When he signed the deal, the team still had Barbre and Seumalo and the day before had brought in Warmack. 

At the time, Wisniewski seemed like the fourth option to get in at guard. But now he's the starter and it doesn't look like he'll give up the job anytime soon. 

"He's played a lot of games in this league," head coach Doug Pederson said. "For him and Isaac earlier in the year and Chance a little bit, and now Stefen has kind of settled into that spot. He's playing well, and it just solidifies your offensive line."

Where Doug Pederson's aggressiveness as a play caller comes from

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Where Doug Pederson's aggressiveness as a play caller comes from

We’ve always known Doug Pederson is a naturally aggressive play caller.

Pederson is a laid-back guy off the field but as aggressive as any coach in NFL history on the field.

But where does that come from? How did such a chill dude become such a fearless play caller?

Pederson spoke Tuesday morning about how the way he was raised as a kid in Bellingham, Washington, defined his personality as a coach.

“Growing up with my parents, my dad has some military background, he was in the Air Force, and the way he led our household and raised us as kids … I don’t want to say it was strict but it was a rigid household growing up, so I think I got a little bit of that from my dad,” he said during an appearance with Angelo Cataldi and the 94 WIP Morning Show.

“His aggressive nature in the way he coached us and the way we raised us to stand on our own two feet.

“And listen, I was never really touted as a top athlete, quarterback, whatever, whether I was going into college or coming out of college, so for me there was a little bit of built-up underdog mentality. So for me, that’s where a little bit of this stems from.

“I made up my mind two years ago that really going into this opportunity being a head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles or wherever it might be that you only get one chance and one opportunity to do this so I want to make sure I do it right.”

The Eagles led the NFL with 17 fourth-down conversions last season, and in his two years coaching the Eagles they’ve attempted eight more fourth downs than any other team (53 to the Packers’ 45).

And that doesn’t even include the postseason, where the Eagles were 3-for-3 last year on fourth down, including two of the most celebrated conversions in Super Bowl history.

Including the regular season and postseason, the Eagles’ 20 total fourth-down conversions last year are second-most since the NFL began tracking fourth downs in 1991 (the Jaguars had 22 in 2007).

“It’s calculated,” Pederson said. “It’s not on a whim. It’s not just gut feel. For me, it was trusting my players, trusting my coaches. Out here on this grass, out here on this practice field, putting our players in those situations so when I make the decision during a game there’s no hesitation.

“So when you see Nick Foles come to the sideline and suggest 'Philly Philly,' there’s no hesitation. That’s the play. That’s the one we need. That’s the spark that’s going to help us win this football game, and that’s the collaboration process that we talk about a lot.”

And when a fourth-down attempt fails?

You don’t second-guess yourself. You just put it in the hands of the defense and move on.

“You can’t,” he said. “You don’t. You can’t second guess. You can’t go, ‘Oh man, did I make the right decision?' If you do that, yeah, you’re probably going to be a 50-50 type of team.

“Listen, these decisions are not just fly by the seat of my pants. These are calculated. I listen to some of the analytics, some of the numbers we talk about during the week, the different situation and scenarios that pop up in games.

“These are things that we study and these are things that I study during the week so I can prepare not only myself for the call but I can prepare the team for that situation.”

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Doug Pederson believes 2018 Eagles are deeper than Super Bowl team

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Doug Pederson believes 2018 Eagles are deeper than Super Bowl team

The Eagles won a Super Bowl last season. And then they got better.

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said Tuesday morning he believes this year’s roster is actually deeper than the one that roared to the franchise's first championship in 57 years.

The Eagles suffered some key losses — Patrick Robinson, LeGarrette Blount, Torrey Smith, Trey Burton, Brent Celek and Mychal Kendricks — but they added guys like Michael Bennett, Mike Wallace and Dallas Goedert along with a huge cast of players who were hurt last year and are expected back healthy.

“I think on paper, if you look at the depth at each position, the depth that we have, it’s definitely the deepest roster in my three years here,” Pederson said Tuesday morning during an appearance with Angelo Cataldi and the 94 WIP Morning Show.

“That’s exciting. It’s real exciting. Because in this league, we’ve got to cut our roster down to 53 in a couple weeks, and the hardest thing is you’re going to have to cut good players and you’re probably going to have cut players that are going to end up on rosters somewhere else.

“But on paper? We’re still missing (injured) Timmy Jernigan, we’re still missing Brandon Graham, we’re still missing those guys, but on paper, it looks like a pretty good solid roster.”

Some other notes from Pederson’s 20-minute interview:

He continues to be vague about the return of wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, who hasn’t practiced this summer. He said no decision has been made on whether Jeffery will start the season on PUP or the 53-man roster

“He’s doing extremely well with his rehab, No. 1, and he’s doing everything he can to get himself ready and to get himself healthy. Can’t wait for the day we get him back.”

He said the final decision on whether Carson Wentz will start the opener against the Falcons in 23 days is up to his doctors

“This guy’s a competitor. He attacked it on the football field when he played and he’s also attacked his rehab. This is something you don’t see every single day, a guy this determined to make it back to the football field. He’s done extremely well. … He’s so determined to get himself back on the football field that I think a lot of the other injured guys are following suit.”

On moving on from the Super Bowl

“It’s one of those things where it’s great in the offseason, it was great to be patted on the back for what we accomplished for this city, for these fans, but right now, this world championship is for the fans. Let them enjoy it. We’ve got to focus on our 2018 season, get ready to go. Nothings going to be handed to us, we’re going to have to go get everything each and every week and that’s why these guys are out here busting their tail throughout this training camp.”

On his biggest concern three weeks before the season opener against the Falcons

“For me, just the health of the injured guys. Where are they Week 1? That to me is the biggest question going into the start of the season. I’m not concerned about the quarterbacks, we have two great quarterbacks, we’re comfortable there. And receiver, with the addition of Mike Wallace, that brings some depth to what we’re doing. But just the health of the injured guys. That to me is the biggest question going into the start of the season.”

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