Eagles

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

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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."

Navy pulls off iconic Philly Special at the Linc

Navy pulls off iconic Philly Special at the Linc

Let's just say, the Navy Midshipmen certainly know how to win over a crowd in Philadelphia.

On Saturday during the 120th Army-Navy game, a familiar play call was seen.

You might have seen it before. There's a statue immortalizing it in front of the Linc. It happened during Super Bowl LII. Anything come to mind?

That's right. The Philly Special.

What an awesome moment in the middle of one of the best days in sports. Check it out:


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A myth dispelled, thoughts on the Carson Sucks crowd and much more in Roob's 10 Random Eagles Observations!

A myth dispelled, thoughts on the Carson Sucks crowd and much more in Roob's 10 Random Eagles Observations!

Another myth dispelled, thoughts on the Carson Sucks crowd, an observation about Duce Staley and lots more in this weekend's edition of Roob's Random Eagles Observations! 

1. Dwayne Haskins may develop into a big-time NFL quarterback. He certainly has the arm. But right now he’s a 22-year-old rookie with 3 TDs and 7 INTs in seven career games and a miserable 61.2 passer rating — worst among current starter QBs. This is a quarterback the Eagles need to dominate. Pressure him. Mix coverages and blitzes. Confuse him. When you get your hands on a ball, make the interception. When you get your hands around him, bring him down. He can’t drive the offense 75 yards down the field in 10 plays, but he's got a legit arm so don’t allow big plays over the top. Don’t give the Redskins a reason to keep fighting like you did the last two weeks against bad teams. The Eagles are 4-1 against rookie quarterbacks under Jim Schwartz, allowing 12 points per game. More of that Sunday. This shouldn’t even be a game by 2:30 p.m. But I'm afraid it will be.

2. Here’s one for the Carson Sucks crowd: Despite missing eight games the last two years and with three games still to go, Wentz already has the 9th-most TD passes in NFL history by a QB in his first four seasons. Three more in the last three games move him up to 6th. He’s also thrown 35 interceptions. Of the 10 QBs currently ahead of him in TD passes over their first four seasons, only Russell Wilson has also thrown fewer than 44  interceptions in his first four years, and only Wilson and Dan Marino have a higher passer rating. Worst QB ever.

3. The Eagles have used 18 cornerbacks since 2016.  Eight of them are no longer in the NFL.

4. I’m always up for a good conspiracy theory. Did you know the first manned moon landing was actually fabricated and the astronauts were actually on a film set in Arizona made to look like the moon? For real! I saw it in Capricorn One! Some conspiracy theories are hilarious, like the one making the rounds this week. Did you know Jordan Howard isn’t really hurt, he’s sitting out to protest not having a long-term contract? I swear, I got that from at least a dozen people this past week. Yeah, that’s a great way to get a new contract! Pretend you’re hurt, lie about a neck injury, miss five games, watch your free agency value plummet and hope that the Eagles just happen to forget to inform other teams that you were healthy all along but just didn’t feel like playing. Makes perfect sense!  

5. MYTH: “Jim Schwartz NEVER ADJUSTS.”
REALITY: Since 2016, the Eagles have allowed the 11th-fewest first-half points in the NFL  [11.0 per game], but they’ve allowed the 4th-fewest second-half points [9.6], behind the Vikings, Patriots and Ravens. Among the top 20 defenses in the league over the last four years, only the Vikings [2.1-point differential] have a larger first-half / second-half point differential than the Eagles [1.4 points]. Overall, the Eagles have allowed the 7th-fewest points in the NFL over the last four years.

6. I count 21 Eagles players who’ve missed a total of 105 games so far this year, a figure that will go up considering how many won’t be playing the next three. Two things: 1) The Eagles have to take an honest look at every facet of their training, conditioning and rehab this offseason and figure out why half the team is always hurt. And 2) It really makes you appreciate guys like Malcolm Jenkins and Jason Kelce, the only Eagles to start and finish all 45 games since opening day 2017. Not far behind are Brandon Graham and Brandon Brooks (44), Fletcher Cox (43) and Zach Ertz (42). Those guys have been there for their team every step of the way — or almost every step — for three years now. They're all-time Eagles.

7. What the heck is going on with Genard Avery? The Eagles spent a 4th-round draft pick to acquire Avery from the Browns in October, and he’s played 20 snaps on defense in five games since. TWENTY SNAPS. He didn’t play a snap on defense in the Giants game. His snaps were supposed to go up as he got acclimated to the defense. Now he’s not even playing. He’s been here seven weeks now, and he can’t even get a single snap on defense? He’s playing a lot on special teams (19 snaps per game), but that’s an awfully expensive special teamer.

8. How bad are the Redskins? They've scored 79 points in six home games. They have eight offensive touchdowns at Fedex Field this year. And five of them were in their first two games. They've scored THREE offensive touchdowns in their last four home games. The Eagles are actually 3rd-BEST in the NFL in road scoring at 29.3 points per game. This REALLY needs to be a blowout.

9. Rasul Douglas is the Eagles’ best cornerback.

10. Think about Duce Staley’s body of work as Eagles running backs coach: 1) Got a 776-yard, 9-TD season out of Ryan Mathews in 2016. 2) Won a Super Bowl with LeGarrette Blount on his last legs and Jay Ajayi coming in halfway through the season. 3) Undrafted rookie Corey Clement, who had 10 catches all year, had a 100-yard receiving game and miracle TD in a Super Bowl. 4) Got over 500 yards and a 4.3 average from undrafted rookie Josh Adams in 2018. 5) Miles Sanders has already broken the franchise record for scrimmage yards by a rookie. 6) Jordan Howard was in the midst of a comeback year with a 4.4 average and 7 TDs before he got hurt. 7) Darren Sproles netted nearly 1,400 scrimmage yards in just 30 games, all after turning 33. 8) Boston Scott comes off the practice squad to pile up 128 scrimmage yards in a critical win over the Giants. 9) Eagles are the No. 12 rushing team in the NFL in four years under Staley even though nobody on the roster has rushed for more than 850 yards TOTAL during that span. 10) All 11 running backs who’ve gotten at least 30 carries under Staley have averaged at least 4.0 yards per carry under Duce. Nine of them have averaged at least 4.3 yards per carry. The Eagles haven’t had a back with 550 yards in consecutive years since Shady, yet the Eagles always seem to run the ball well. The guy’s really good.

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