A good idea is a good idea. The Eagles don’t care where it comes from.
That selfless approach from Doug Pederson and the rest of the Eagles’ coaching staff has served the team well over the last few years.
And it paid off in Sunday’s scrappy 25-22 win over the Giants.
• The offensive line told Pederson they wanted to run the ball more. He listened.
• Malcolm Jenkins and others asked Jim Schwartz to simplify things schematically. He listened.
The Eagles made those in-game adjustments that allowed them to come back from a 16-point deficit, not just because it was the right thing to do on the football field, but because when players have a say, they feel a sense of ownership with the team.
“Yeah, because I encourage the guys to speak up,” Pederson said. “If they see something, say something. Again, as coaches, we definitely have the final say, but at the same time, I think it builds a healthy chemistry with your team.”
That’s one of the reasons this team will never give up on its head coach.
Where some coaches are “my way or the highway,” Pederson listens to his assistants and even his players. It doesn’t always mean he’ll do what they want, but at least players have a voice. Think about this: When Carson Wentz runs a play he brought with him from North Dakota State, think he feels some responsibility for it to work?
When the O-line calls to run the ball, they better be able to hold their blocks, right? When the defense asks to simplify, those players better play fast.
It creates an environment where the players are completely bought in because they’re not just pawns in the game. They're a part of a decision-making process, even if it’s just a small part.
This means something to Pederson:
“I think it's important from the standpoint of these guys are playing. These guys are out on the field. They're seeing it at real speed, just like we are, but at the same time, if they see something — we're always asking for feedback and dialogue and communication. I think that's makes what we do special.
“As coaches, we take it and we listen to them. We can make adjustments during the game. Even when it doesn't come out publicly, there is always that conversation after a series or two or three. There is always that dialogue on the sideline. It just so happens that it was kind of evident yesterday that that was the case.”
After the blowout loss to the Saints last week, Jenkins called out his teammates for what he perceived to be a lack of fight when they were getting their butts whooped in New Orleans. Even if they lost Sunday, he wouldn’t have been able to do that. The Eagles clawed their way back into that game.
When the Giants went up 19-3 after Saquon Barkley’s 51-yard touchdown run in the first half, I kind of thought they were dead and I wasn’t the only one. A lot of teams would have folded in that situation, but these Eagles kept playing and that’s a huge credit to Pederson.
After the game, Odell Beckham Jr. questioned Giants coach Pat Shurmur’s plan. He thought they should have attacked the Eagles’ inexperienced corners more, which would have made sense. I couldn’t help but think if Beckham was on the Eagles’ roster and told Pederson, he would have listened.
Pederson said he was “a little more mobile” during the Giants game, meaning he roamed the sideline more than he normally would, talking to his players. After all, Pederson's a players coach. And when the Eagles absolutely needed it to pay off, it did.
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