Eagles

How Doug Pederson could change NFL

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How Doug Pederson could change NFL

It wasn’t long ago when Doug Pederson was an afterthought in the league. People all over the country doubted him. 

Now he’s changing the NFL. 

After using his aggressive style and forward-thinking approach to take the Eagles to the Super Bowl and take down Tom Brady and the Patriots, the rest of the NFL isn’t doubting him anymore. Instead, they’re going to try to copy him. 

“What I do here, and listen, it happens every day, whoever wins the big game, they’re going to look at what made you successful,” Pederson said earlier this week at the NFL owners meetings. “We do that. We do that with New England. We do that with Atlanta. We do that with Green Bay. We do that with teams that make it there, so I know teams are studying our offense to try to figure out what we were doing, whether it was RPO or play-action pass and try to figure that kind of stuff out. 

“The only two guys that I know right now that want to maintain the aggressiveness are Frank Reich and John DeFilippo.”

That’s because he helped create them. 

While Pederson and a ton of other notable coaches in the NFL are branches from the Andy Reid coaching tree, Pederson is already starting to create a coaching tree of his own. Call it a sapling for now. 

Reich is now the head coach in Indianapolis. DeFilippo is the offensive coordinator in Minnesota and probably isn’t far from getting a team of his own. And back in Philly, Pederson is grooming coaches like Mike Groh and Press Taylor in the same way Reid once groomed him. 

Coming off two years as the Eagles’ offensive coordinator under Pederson, Reich was asked this week what lessons he learned from his former boss. 

“As a play-caller, really continuing to put it on the players,” Reich said. “That’s what this game is about. Everyone knows how aggressive we were on fourth down, in situational football, having no fear, taking your shots down the field. I think those are some of the key things. 

“And then just being around Doug as a leader. These are things I always knew about him and things you always hope you see in your own game, so to speak. Just the consistency of his leadership. I just think Doug’s top notch in every way, as a leader, as a play-caller, offensively. I just think he’s the best."

Of course, not all of Pederson’s aggressiveness comes from intuition. A lot of it is based on analytics. The Eagles have been open to the use of analytics for many years and owner Jeff Lurie pushed hard to make sure the next coach was open to them too. 

Pederson took things a step further, by having analytics voices in his ear during games. While the mathematics isn’t the final decision-maker, Pederson clearly listened to what the numbers tell him. He said he wants to have every bit of information he can before making a decision to go for it on fourth down or in a certain situation. 

There are at least a couple coaches in the league we know will copy that aggressiveness. 

“There’s no question there was a byproduct of working in Philly and seeing how sometimes conventional football wisdom can sometimes be challenged and it needs to be updated in ways,” Reich said. “And seeing how that played out in Philly in two years is certainly something I learned in the last two years."

Between the use of analytics and Pederson’s sometimes unconventional aggressiveness, he’s created his own style. And it’s going to be emulated.

Nick Foles says Eagles nearly wasted Philly Special in NFC Championship Game

Nick Foles says Eagles nearly wasted Philly Special in NFC Championship Game

The Philly Special is one of the most legendary plays in NFL history because the Eagles used it against the Patriots in their incredible Super Bowl LII win. 

It almost didn’t happen like that.  

Nick Foles on his podcast with Chris Maragos, The Mission of Truth, said the Eagles almost ran the Philly Special two weeks earlier in the NFC Championship Game against the Minnesota Vikings, which would have essentially wasted it. 

“There’s a lot of detail in the book ‘Believe It’ but this is one I don’t think is there,” Foles said. “We were going to run the Philly Special vs. the Minnesota Vikings and Doug called the play.”

But Foles said he played most of that NFC Championship Game in pain after taking a rib shot early from a blitzing Anthony Barr. While Foles was able to make it through the game and the Eagles won 38-7, that rib pain was one of the main reasons why Foles suggested to Doug Pederson to hold the call.  

The Eagles almost ran the Philly Special early in the fourth quarter during the NFC Championship Game when they already had a 24-point lead. 

We were already up, I think, 31-7, something like that,” Foles said. “I talked to Doug and I was like, ‘ah, we don’t need it. We’re up by so much, let’s not waste it.’ But in reality, another reason was I was worried about turning and running out and trying to catch the ball. I didn’t know if I would be able to lift my arm up and turn and catch it because of the rib shot earlier in the game.

Instead, the Eagles called a play that put Alshon Jeffery in motion and Foles hit him in the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown pass that extended the lead to 31 points and gave us the final score of 38-7. Foles said that watching that touchdown play back, he can see just how stiff he was from the pain. 

So it’s a good thing Foles took a rib shot early in that game. Because if Foles felt fine the Eagles might have run the Philly Special two weeks too early. 

“It almost happened and it was one of those moments honestly it probably does happen if my ribs aren’t killing me,” Foles said. “Because it would have just lit the Linc on fire. It was already insane. Obviously, the Philly Special became a legendary play. I’m glad we didn’t use it then.” 

Yeah, Foles isn’t alone. Who knows what would have happened if they had. 

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Forbes' highest-paid athletes list highlights Carson Wentz's lucrative year

Forbes' highest-paid athletes list highlights Carson Wentz's lucrative year

Forbes released its annual list of the highest-paid professional athletes in the world earlier this month, and a surprising name popped up on the list: Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.

Considering Wentz signed a four-year, $128 million contract last summer that currently ranks sixth among all NFL players in average annual salary, it was odd to see Wentz as the second-highest-paid football player on the list, behind only Kirk Cousins at No. 9.

It's not like Wentz is raking in money from some astronomical contract, so what gives?

It turns out, Wentz's place on the list is thanks in large part to perfect timing.

Forbes' list takes into account all earnings, winnings, and endorsements between June 1, 2019, and June 1, 2020, which helps Wentz's numbers enormously: he signed his current deal with the Eagles on June 6, 2019, and earned a $16.3 million signing bonus.

On top of that, Wentz was paid a sizable $30 million player option this past March.

While both the signing bonus and the player option are spread out across multiple years against the Eagles' cap, Wentz was awarded both figures in one-time payments. Very, very big one-time payments.

When you add that $46.3 million to his base salary ($1.38 million) and his roster bonus ($8 million), and then you tack on roughly $4 million in endorsements, you arrive at Forbes' estimation that Wentz brought in $59.1 million between June 1, 2019, and June 1, 2020.

That'll buy a lot of diapers!

Forbes notes that Wentz has endorsement deals with Nike, NRG, Bobcat, Amazon, Sanford Health, Bose, Scheels and BlackRidge Bank.

Tennis legend Roger Federer ($106.3 million), soccer legend Cristiano Ronaldo ($105 million), and soccer legend Lionel Messi ($104 million) took the top three spots on the list.

We probably won't see Wentz back here any time soon.

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