Eagles

Eagles don't win Super Bowl without Doug Pederson's 'evil twin'

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NBCSP

Eagles don't win Super Bowl without Doug Pederson's 'evil twin'

Get him away from the football field, and Doug Pederson is as laid back as anybody you'd ever meet. He speaks in a slow drawl, he's most comfortable in jeans and an Eagles warm-up top, and he's so relaxed and personable that everybody who comes in contact with him feels like his pal.
 
He seems like a guy you'd meet working in an Agway, not outsmarting Bill Belichick in a Super Bowl.
 
Turns out there are two Doug Pedersons.
 
There's the aw-shucks, down-home country boy who loves to go hunting, quiet time with his family and ice cream.
 
And then there's game-day Doug Pederson, who all of a sudden turns into a mad scientist. One of the most aggressive play-callers the NFL has seen in a generation.
 
"That's who I am," Pederson said. "That's my alter ego. That's my evil twin, I guess."
 
The Eagles last year went 13-for-27 on fourth down, most conversions and attempts in the league, but Pederson's penchant for aggressive play-calling was largely unnoticed because the team wasn't winning or functioning all that well on offense.
 
This year, during the regular season, they were 17-for-26, the second-most attempts and third-highest success rate. Because the Eagles were the best team in the NFL, Pederson's play-calling began getting noticed.
 
The Eagles the last two years became only the sixth team in NFL history to attempt 25 or more fourth-down conversions in consecutive seasons, and their 65.4 percent conversion rate this past regular season is fourth-highest in NFL history by a team attempting at least 25 fourth downs.
 
Pederson is the first coach in NFL history to attempt 26 or more fourth downs in each of his first two years.
 
But that was just a warmup.
 
On Sunday, Pederson took his aggressive mentality to new heights.
 
Unprecedented heights.
 
The Eagles became the first team in NFL history to convert two fourth downs on the way to a Super Bowl championship.
 
And both put Pederson's unique aggressiveness on display in front of the world.
 
There was the Philly Special, the 4th-and-Goal just before halftime, and there was an even wilder fourth down — the 4th-and-1 from the Eagles' own 45-yard-line with the Patriots up 33-32 and 5:39 left in the game. Foles converted that one with a two-yard pass to Zach Ertz on the way to the winning touchdown.
 
On Wednesday, Pederson spoke about his knack for aggressive play-calling, something nobody knew he had when he was hired.
 
"I learned that probably from my dad a little bit in his aggressiveness with us as kids growing up," Pederson said.
 
"I've always been sort of under the mindset, I want every play to score a touchdown, every play. I want every defense to lose five yards. That's just how I approach the game.
 
"I might come off as this soft-spoken guy to you guys, but inside, I want to win the game. And not at an all-costs type of expense but pretty close, pretty close."
 
Including the playoffs, Pederson was 20-for-29 this year on fourth down.
 
That's insane.
 
But it puts a tremendous amount of pressure on a defense when the Eagles are able to extend drives with fourth-down conversions.
 
"Listen, when you're playing the Patriots and you're playing a Bill Belichick and a Tom Brady, if you're not being aggressive in those games, you're going to lose those games.
 
"It's been proven time and time again. You're just going to lose those games."
 
It helps that both of Pederson's quarterbacks are cool under pressure and able to function at a high level under the intensity of a fourth-down attempt.
 
Wentz was 5-for-9 for 61 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions on fourth down, and Foles was 3-for-4 for 41 yards and no TDs or INTs. Add in Trey Burton, and the three of them combined to go 9-for-14 for 111 yards with three TDs and no interceptions. All three had passer ratings of at least 107 on fourth down.
 
"I had my mind made up after the Minnesota game, and I knew we were playing the Patriots, that I was going to have to maintain that aggressiveness in this football game," Pederson said.
 
"The pressure of the game was not going to change who I am and … I communicated that to our team and that's how they responded Sunday."

Why Jeff Lurie's response to national anthem policy was disappointing

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Why Jeff Lurie's response to national anthem policy was disappointing

On the latest edition of Roob Knows, a Philadelphia Eagles podcast, Reuben Frank discusses the NFL's new national anthem policy and why he was disappointed by Jeff Lurie's reaction. A look at the Eagles' linebacker situation and what's the next move after a couple losses. Don't bet against Carson Wentz.

Also, rookie cornerback Avonte Maddox joins the podcast. And a look at some Zach Ertz statistics that may surprise you.

Subscribe and rate Roob Knows: Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Art19

Roob's 10 observations: Anthem policy, Kendricks' career, Wentz

Roob's 10 observations: Anthem policy, Kendricks' career, Wentz

Some thoughts on the NFL’s new anthem policy, Mychal Kendricks’ release, Carson Wentz’s return to practice and – of course – the Joe Callahan Stat of the Day!

It’s all in this week’s OTA edition of Roob’s 10 random Eagles observations!

1. The NFL’s anthem policy banning players from peaceful demonstrations during the anthem bothers me for a few reasons. First of all, it’s a dangerous precedent for the league to unilaterally restrict any such form of personal expression. Legislating opinions never works. Players are going to find other ways to express their opinions, and the policy is only going to breed resentment between the players and the league, which is the last thing the league needs right now. But more than that, I really have problems with the word “disrespect.” When someone arbitrarily decides what is and what isn’t “disrespectful,” you really get yourself in a lot of trouble. Nobody who’s listened to Malcolm Jenkins so eloquently discuss his reasons for raising his fist during the anthem would ever accuse him of being disrespectful. And also, since this is a policy that affects mainly African-American players, it has strong racial implications. These are issues that aren’t going to just go away, whether or not the NFL tries to make them disappear.

2. And I found Eagles owner Jeff Lurie’s statement uncharacteristically tepid and vague. Lurie has been courageously supportive all along of Jenkins, Chris Long and all the players league-wide who’ve used their platform to fight for equal rights and social justice. All that statement did was avoid taking a stand on the new NFL policy. Disappointing.

3. Onto football matters! There’s no question the Eagles are a better football team with Mychal Kendricks on the field. Kendricks was solid last year and very good in the postseason. But the bottom line is Kendricks has felt unwanted and disrespected for a long time. The Eagles have been trying unsuccessfully to unload his contract for a couple years, and Kendricks knew he had no future here. If a team doesn’t want a player and the player doesn’t want to be with the team, it’s not a healthy relationship. And that’s why Kendricks is gone. But Kendricks handled what could have been an ugly situation with class and professionalism, and he’s got a Super Bowl ring to show for it. He never became the Pro Bowl player I expected when I first saw him play in 2012, but he was a decent player here for six years, and he leaves as a champion.

4. Jason Kelce announced the start of the 5K at the Eagles Autism Challenge at the Linc in terrible conditions and parodied his Super Bowl parade speech: “They said it was too cold! They said it was too rainy!” Hilarious.

5. Watching Carson Wentz actually participate in individual drills at practice Tuesday morning was pretty wild. For him to be out there looking comfortable and fluid taking drops and firing passes just 5 1/2 months after hobbling off the field at L.A. Coliseum was awfully encouraging.

6. I’m really starting to think Wentz plays Sept. 6.

7. One note about the Eagles’ linebacker depth. The days where teams ran three linebackers out there on every play are long gone. The Eagles last year played three linebackers on about 12 percent of their defensive snaps. In the Super Bowl, the Eagles played a total of three reps with three LBs. So if Jordan Hicks can stay healthy and Nigel Bradham plays like he did last year, the Eagles will be fine. Big if with Hicks. When the Eagles do play three ‘backers, I expect Corey Nelson to handle that role. Really, it comes down to Hicks staying healthy.

8. Career completion percentages of current Eagles quarterbacks:

82.6 percent … Nate Sudfeld
71.4 percent … Joe Callahan
61.5 percent … Carson Wentz
61.1 percent … Nick Foles

9. Was fun watching Mike Wallace run around at practice on Tuesday. Excited to see what he brings to this offense. He’s 31, an age where many receivers are slowing down, but he was one of just two receivers in their 30s last year who caught 50 passes and averaged 14.0 yards per catch (Ted Ginn was the other). And with Nelson Agholor and Alshon Jeffery here, he doesn’t have to be THE GUY. None of them do. That’s the beauty of this offense.

10. Potentially, this is the best trio of receivers the Eagles have ever had. Would you rather have DeSean, Maclin and Avant or Jeffery, Agholor and Wallace? I think this group is more versatile and slightly more talented. It’s close.