The Eagles are 5-7 and it feels like they’re sort of reaching that proverbial fork in the road.
Some teams in this situation stay together. Some teams crumble.
We don’t really know what this team will do just yet.
Earlier this week, head coach Doug Pederson stressed the important role the Eagles’ leaders will have in challenging the entire team to play out the last four games. That should be a little easier for the Eagles compared to most 5-7 teams because this 5-7 team still has a legitimate shot to make the playoffs.
We’ve heard a lot about the Eagles’ leadership over the last few years. They supposedly have a lot of them. But few have been here longer than center Jason Kelce.
I think as a leader, you just take accountability,” Kelce said Wednesday. “I think that’s what leadership is. Leadership is taking accountability yourself and holding others to the same standard, regardless of what’s going on. To be honest, I don’t think that’s any different this week than it was last week.
I just think that weak leaders stop doing that and they start pointing fingers when times get tough. Strong leaders hold strong, they remain accountable, they try to lift others up, they try to take things off other people’s shoulders, put more on theirs. That’s what a good leader is. That’s what I’m all about, that’s what I think the majority of the guys in here are all about.
Kelce explained that pointing fingers is necessary for accountability but it’s about holding everyone to the same standard.
Wednesday was the first time reporters got a chance to talk to Kelce since the 37-31 loss in Miami. The veteran center was one of several veterans, some veteran leaders, who declined to be interviewed after the game. Kelce said that immediate impressions after games often aren’t accurate.
But he was OK with the mood in that post-game locker room.
“I think people were pissed off,” he said. “I think that’s what you should be when you lose a game like that.”
Kelce and Carson Wentz, Malcolm Jenkins, Fletcher Cox and more are considered to be the leaders of this team. It’ll be up to them to make sure the locker room doesn’t fracture down the stretch. The easiest way to do that is to win.
On Monday on 94WIP, Pederson commented that the Dolphins played harder than the Eagles, which seemed to be a damning statement. He later sort of walked back those comments, saying he just meant the Dolphins won on individual plays.
Kelce was asked what he thought about the Eagles’ level of buy-in this season.
“I think that we got a good group of guys that want to play well, want to do well,” Kelce said. “Just hasn’t gotten done. I don’t feel like there’s cancers or people like, ‘oh, I’m refusing to do this because I don’t believe in it.’ You don’t see that. That’s when it’s pretty bad. Everybody here wants to win, everybody here wants to go out there and play well. We just haven’t done that. I think that we’re just trying to get to a point where we are doing that.”
There were high expectations for the Eagles heading into the 2019 season and Kelce said he obviously didn’t expect the team to have a 5-7 record, but he also admitted it isn’t hard to figure out how they’ve gotten to this point.
There’s been no consistency.
The offense plays well, the defense plays poorly, and vice versa. There’s even been a lack of consistency within their own sides of the ball and position groups.
But Kelce doesn’t think it’s for lack of effort. And with four games left to play, he has confidence in the Eagles’ leaders to keep things together and possibly turn it around.
“You just try to be accountable for doing your job a little bit better, making sure that you don’t make those mistakes again,” he said. “And more importantly, you try to lift people up and bring everybody together because, obviously, right now when times are tough, that’s when everybody’s trying to pull you apart.”
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