Doug Pederson reveling in afterglow of championship

Doug Pederson reveling in afterglow of championship

ORLANDO, Fla. — It seemed like Doug Pederson couldn’t turn in any direction this week at the lavish Ritz-Carlton Orlando without being greeted with a verbal pat on the back.

It was a tough climb to the top; you’ll forgive him if he enjoys the view.

“It’s freaking awesome!” Pederson said Monday night, amid a sea of more congratulations during the reception for the NFL’s annual league meetings. 

The Eagles head coach is certainly enjoying the afterglow of the first Super Bowl championship in franchise history and all the praise that comes along with it.

While Pederson and the rest of his coaches have already moved on, logging hours in the facility daily during the offseason, there are near-constant reminders of the success from 2017 — whether it be dozens of fans wearing Super Bowl gear on flights from Philadelphia to Central Florida or the constant flow of congratulatory messages coming from the NFL hierarchy.

“It’s something that’s a little bit surreal,” Pederson said. “You’re walking amongst all your peers, you got all the owners and GMs and head coaches and presidents and everybody. When you’re outside of NovaCare, outside the building, that’s what makes it real special, what you’ve accomplished, and how hard it is to get there and win that football game. I appreciate everything that got us here, obviously, and to be congratulated, it’s pretty cool.”

This is Pederson’s third time at the NFL’s owners meetings and it’s a decidedly different experience being the only head coach in attendance who ended last season with a win.

Well, almost the only one.

Former Eagles offensive coordinator and new Colts head coach Frank Reich is enjoying the spoils of victory too.

“It’s been really neat,” Reich said. “That’s one of the cool things in this profession. It’s a close-knit profession. Guys know the ups and downs of this profession, and there are ups and downs. And so when you have a good streak and when things go right, I think the guys in this profession appreciate and know what that feels like. That’s been encouraging.”

Last year, when the event was held in Phoenix, Pederson’s Eagles were coming off a 7-9 campaign that landed them in the basement of the NFC East and his coaching counterparts weren’t very complimentary at all. What a difference a year makes.

Pederson said he didn’t grab any sort of souvenir from Super Bowl LII in Minnesota. He didn’t get a football, didn’t take anything out of the locker room. He does have one of those blue Super Bowl LII helmets and he’s thinking of maybe getting a replica Lombardi Trophy made for his house. If nothing else, he’s going to get a championship ring. 

Of all the texts and calls of congratulations Pederson has received over the last few months, one stood out. On Feb. 24, Moorestown, New Jersey, held “Coach Doug Pederson Day,” a “pretty special” honor for one of its most famous residents. Pederson estimates about 800 Eagles fans showed up at the Moorestown Community House on that Saturday.

Since the confetti rained at U.S. Bank Stadium, Pederson has watched a replay of the game. Even though he obviously knew the outcome, Pederson couldn’t help but tense up.

“I was nervous,” he said.

He didn’t need to be, of course. The Eagles won the game. If Pederson needs a reminder, he won’t go long before someone pats him on the back again.

Eagles Injury Update: Derek Barnett, Nelson Agholor, Kamu Grugier-Hill miss practice again

Eagles Injury Update: Derek Barnett, Nelson Agholor, Kamu Grugier-Hill miss practice again

For the second straight day, the Eagles were without three key players at practice. 

Derek Barnett (ankle), Kamu Grugier-Hill (concussion) and Nelson Agholor (knee) all missed Friday’s session after also missing Thursday. 

It’s rare for players to miss the first two practice days of the week and play that weekend. 

Barnett, it seemed, hurt his ankle during the loss to the Dolphins but was able to finish the game, playing 50 snaps. This season, Barnett is second on the team in sacks with 4 1/2 and has played more snaps (78 percent) than any other defensive lineman. 

The only other defensive players to play more than him this season are Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod. 

If Barnett can’t play on Monday, it’s likely Vinny Curry and Josh Sweat will see more playing time and perhaps Genard Avery will see a few more snaps. Maybe even Daeshon Hall or Shareef Miller might get to play a bit. 

Agholor has been dealing with his knee injury since the Patriots game. He missed the game against Seattle, but returned last week to play 63 snaps against the Dolphins. Last week, Agholor was limited in practice the first two days of the week and was not given a game status. 

If Agholor can’t play, Greg Ward could perhaps have a bigger role on Monday night. 

Meanwhile, Grugier-Hill didn’t report concussion symptoms until Thursday and was then placed into the NFL’s concussion protocol. Based on the timing of all that, it seems like a long shot that he’ll be able to play on Monday night. 

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Jerry Jones was BIG cranky on radio interview day after Cowboys' Week 14 loss to Bears

Jerry Jones was BIG cranky on radio interview day after Cowboys' Week 14 loss to Bears

The one bit of solace Eagles fans can take from the 2019 season so far is that it’s been a complete disaster for the Cowboys too. 

On Friday morning, the day after the Cowboys lost to the Bears to fall to 6-7, a cranky Jerry Jones joined 105.3 The Fan in Dallas for his weekly spot and the station had to briefly drop his call after two consecutive swear words in the interview. 

But Jones came out of the gate cranky. 

The Cowboys’ owner and GM was asked if he had any answers for the way the team is playing right now and his answer was short: 

“We’re not playing very well.”

Are you embarrassed? 

That was the question that set him off a little bit.  

Hey, get your damn act together yourself. OK? Now, we’re going to have a good visit this morning but settle down just a little bit. We’ve got a lot to go over, now go on with your question. But I’m going to give you the answers I want to give you this morning. And I don’t like your attitude to come in. I’ve been traveling all night and I don’t have the patience to jack with you today.

A little later, Jones was asked if he understands why there are so many questions about head coach Jason Garrett. 

Here was his answer with the swear word at the end. 

Of course I understand why they come up. Our fans are interested. They’re frustrated that we’re not playing better and I understand that and I know. That goes with the territory. And I fully expect to have those questions and I know that if you really think about it, if I did have answers as to different directions regarding talent … if I did, I would not share them right now. Because, first of all, if you’ve got other teams’ talent in mind, that’s tampering. Even if you had something in mind, unless they’re not involved in the National Football League right now and that wouldn’t be smart if they were involved other places. So we want to do a good job here, I want to do a good job with you guys but there’s a whole bunch of time where I have to bulls--- the hell out of you.

One of the hosts then said he totally understood that. 

To which, Jones replied: “Do you understand bulls---?” 

That was when the radio station’s system took over and dropped the call with the Cowboys owner. The program director explained that they had to hit the dump button twice in a short span of time and the system is designed to then kill all sound but the hosts. 

A bit later, Jones rejoined the program. 

“I had been talking the whole time,” Jones said. 

Strange interview, but definitely worth the listen. 

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