Doug Pederson doesn’t regret his declaration, but his confidence was misplaced

Doug Pederson doesn’t regret his declaration, but his confidence was misplaced

ARLINGTON, Tex. — Six days after Eagles head coach Doug Pederson went on WIP and said the Eagles were going to go to Dallas and “win that football game,” the Eagles suffered what Pederson agreed was one of the worst losses during his tenure as head coach. 

The Eagles were crushed by the Cowboys, 37-10, at AT&T Stadium on Sunday night in front of a national television audience. 

So late Sunday night, did Pederson regret his declaration? 

“Nope,” he said. “Do not.” 

Pederson was confident in his team. But that confidence was clearly misplaced, because his team put out a pathetic performance against their biggest rival in a game that would have moved them into first place in the division. 

Why didn’t he regret his words? 

“I just felt like I had a lot of confidence in this football team, a lot of trust, a lot of faith in the guys,” Pederson said. “Had a good week of preparation. Quite honestly, after a game like this, we all have to step back, look in the mirror, especially myself. It starts with me. This is one of those games that I take personal from that standpoint. We didn’t play well and that’s personal on me. I gotta get that fixed.” 

This was the Eagles’ worst loss at the hands of the Cowboys since a 34-0 drubbing in 1998, the year before Pederson joined the Eagles as a player. 

Pederson said he didn’t think he was overconfident heading into this week and disagreed with the notion that the Eagles were unprepared for the game. He pointed at the two early turnovers as costly mistakes, but ones that didn’t indicate unpreparedness. 

We’ve heard this now after every loss, right? The Eagles’ mistakes are correctable. They can fix them. They can still be the team we thought they were going to be. 

But seven games and a 3-4 record into the 2019 season, it’s time to wonder if that’s really the case. In back-to-back weeks to start the toughest stretch of their schedule, the Eagles have lost by 18 points and now by 27. 

So maybe it’s fair to ask, simply, is this Eagles team is talented enough? 

In fact, I asked Pederson that on Sunday night. 

He said it is. 

But why does he believe that? 

“Because you see signs of it, you see glimpses of it,” Pederson said. “Obviously, we’ve injured and we’ve got some guys that are missing, but we don’t use that as an excuse. And I do feel like we’ve got enough talent on this football team to get the job done.”

Glimpses aren’t enough. Glimpses don’t win football games. Glimpses don’t get you into the playoffs. 

And the Eagles certainly didn’t look all that talented on Sunday night. The offense couldn’t get going. The defense couldn’t stop Dak Prescott or Ezekiel Elliott. Even their special teams unit had a couple blunders, too. 

Pederson looked weathered after the loss. But he stood there and tried to explain problems for which he clearly didn’t have answers. He tried to take blame. 

“It starts with me,” Pederson said. “So I’m going to own this one. This one will be on me.”

His biggest crime might have been believing in this team. 

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Eagles to host New Jersey high school football game suspended after shooting

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Eagles to host New Jersey high school football game suspended after shooting

The Eagles on Wednesday at Lincoln Financial Field will host the rest of a New Jersey high school playoff football game that was suspended because of a shooting. 

The game between Pleasantville High School and Camden High School was stopped on Friday night after a shooting in the crowd in Pleasantville that left three wounded, including a 10-year-old boy and a 15-year-old student

According to NBC 10, a suspect has been charged with three counts of attempted murder and two weapons counts, while three other men have been charged with unlawful possession of a weapon. 

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) announced on Monday afternoon that the Eagles offered up their stadium to finish the approximately 17 remaining minutes of the playoff game. The NJSIAA had been looking for a neutral site. 

Larry White, the executive director of the NJSIAA, said the following in a statement released Monday: 

“It’s extremely unfortunate that a senselessly violent act has impacted this game, and there will certainly be a wide range of emotions along both sidelines. However, thanks to the Eagles’ generosity and community spirit, Pleasantville and Camden student-athletes and their families will have an opportunity to write their own ending to this game. They’ll compete on a world-class stage, sending a clear message that violence will not win.”

The Eagles are expected to release a statement and more information about the game on Tuesday. 

The NJSIAA took up the Eagles on their offer but thanked other schools for their assistance. The Black Horse Pike School District also offered to host the game. 

The game will resume at 4 p.m. on Wednesday. While the Linc will be closed to the public, each school will be given free passes for players’ parents and family members. The game will also be streamed live on NJ.com. 

The shooting on Friday night occurred in the third quarter with Camden leading 6-0. The winner of this game will face Cedar Creek on Saturday, Nov. 30 for the Central Group 2 Sectional Championship. 

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The interesting wrinkle in Jay Ajayi's contract

The interesting wrinkle in Jay Ajayi's contract

The Eagles on Friday signed running back Jay Ajayi for the rest of the 2019 season, but based on what’s written into the contract, the Eagles will basically have the option to bring him back in 2020. 

Here’s the report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport: 

So basically, Ajayi will kind of be a restricted free agent at the lowest (right of first refusal) level. That means the Eagles have the option to match a contract and keep the player, but won’t get compensation back if he goes elsewhere like a higher-level tendered player. The Eagles will still be eligible for a compensatory pick if Ajayi signs elsewhere and they don't match the offer. 

This is an interesting wrinkle to Ajayi’s contract, especially in the entire scope of the Eagles’ running back situation. 

Because, remember, Jordan Howard is set to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. As long as he’s able to return from this stinger soon, he would be a realistic candidate to get an extension before the end of the season. But, to me, this part of Ajayi’s contract is sort of like an insurance policy if the Eagles aren’t able to re-sign Howard during free agency. Or if they choose to move on from Howard. 

The Eagles seem to like having a running back rotation and the only running back guaranteed to return in 2020 is Miles Sanders. Either Howard or a healthy Ajayi (we’ll see) would seemingly be a good complement. 

I say we’ll see because Ajayi hasn’t played football in over a year. He signed on Friday, but Doug Pederson opted to not play him two days later. During his career, Ajayi has been a very productive runner, averaging 4.5 yards per carry. 

But Ajayi, 26, tore his ACL last season and already had long-standing knee issues, so there’s some serious doubt about his football future. Ajayi will have a chance to answer some of those questions in the final six games of the 2019 season. 

“We will incorporate him,” Pederson said on Monday. “Again, if Jordan (Howard) … if he doesn't practice or whatever during the week then we definitely will get Jay ready to go.”

The Eagles at least took out an insurance policy of sorts. If Ajayi does have something left, they’ll have the option of bringing him back in 2020 no matter what other team is interested in him.

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