On Wednesday morning, Doug Pederson met with his leadership council, a group of veterans who are able to relay the thoughts and concerns of the entire Eagles roster.
These are trying times at the NovaCare Complex. And the Eagles need their leaders now more than ever.
Pederson said the group of players was obviously disappointed. After a loss to the Cowboys and a 4-5 start to a season that began with Super Bowl aspirations, that seems like the right emotion. But he also said they were in a good place and excited to get back on the field.
Here was part of the leadership group’s message to Pederson, as relayed by Carson Wentz:
“The guys we have and especially the leadership, we’re not going to sink down now because of the performances we’ve had or our record or any of that stuff. We’re going to take it one day at at time, go out to practice, have some fun, be ourselves again. And get ready to play the Saints.”
When asked what he expects from his leaders, Pederson said he doesn’t care as much about “lip service” as much as he does about these players leading by example.
With that in mind, we asked all five of the Eagles’ captains — who were voted as captains by their teammates before the opener — how they view their roles as leaders during these trying times:
“As a leader, all of us have to be the ones to kind of pull everyone along. At the same time, we’re not trying to fix or solve a whole bunch of stuff; we just gotta focus in on some of these little things. I think a lot of the younger guys and some of the non-leaders and role players will follow right along with the energy and the tempo and the attitude a lot of the leaders have. That’s what we’re going to do starting today.”
“I think when your teammates vote you to be out in front and they vote you to be a leader, I think there’s a responsibility for you … it means they’re going look to you in times like this to see what’s your demeanor, how you’re going about work. Do you have enthusiasm? Are you encouraged? All of those things I take seriously because I know myself and other guys in my position set the pace and set the tempo for this team. So as long as we stay consistent as leaders on the team, show up every day focused on getting better, the rest of the team will follow.”
“When you look at it, No. 1, when it’s not going well, the younger guys, they look up to the leaders. And if we’re down, if we’re feeling sorry for ourselves, then they feel like they probably should feel the same way. But the leaders on this team, we don’t feel sorry for ourselves. Those younger guys will look up to us. We’ll bring the energy and we’ll do what we need to do to turn things around.”
“Same role as always. When you’re losing football games, you’re relied on more to try to keep everyone together and make sure that everybody is staying on the same page. That’s just the way things go. When you have success, everybody’s having fun, everybody’s doing everything the right way. When you lose, that’s when guys look to the veteran leaders to see how they’re responding. Are they doing everything the right way? Is everybody still in this together? Things like that.
“For me, I do that regardless of what’s happening. I just go about … I’m here to do my job, I’m here to be accountable to the coaches, be accountable to my teammates, go out there and do everything I can to get better during the week, practice hard and, generally speaking, that usually correlates with improvement and improving on the mistakes.”
“I kind of just look at myself and see what things I could do better. And I talk to some of the other guys and see how we can rally each other and see how we can just get a win. For sure (it’s more important when things aren’t going well). That’s when the team’s going to lean on you a little bit and young guys are going to lean on you. You just gotta be that support and keep on pushing through.”
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