Pederson knows he'll be fired someday, but for now he's the perfect fit

Pederson knows he'll be fired someday, but for now he's the perfect fit

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — The Doug Pederson story is one of constantly defying the odds, one of forever proving people wrong, one of proving yourself over and over and over.

The ultimate challenge comes Sunday.

"As a player, I was a career backup," Pederson said. "That's who I was. That was my role. I embraced that role. I had a chance to start, but ultimately my place was to be the backup and support the starter.

"As a coach, I’m sure there was doubt. There was skepticism. Call it whatever it is, 'First-time head coach, what does he know about running a team?' Hopefully, I’ve proven people wrong.”

Yeah, about that … 13-3 and a berth in the Super Bowl without his starting quarterback in his second year would qualify as proving doubters wrong.

Pederson, who had never been a head coach on any level above high school before two years ago this month, spoke at length recently about his coaching style and why he thinks it's been so successful so fast.

"Fourteen years being in the locker room, understanding the players," he said. "Understanding that dynamic. The diversity in that locker room. That is important for me. To know what goes on down there. How these guys interact.

"Being a player for 14 years, you come across a lot of things. For me now, being able to relate to them and you hear all the time he is a players coach or whatever that may be — I think you have to listen to your guys. I think in today’s game, communication is big with me. Making sure our guys understand where I am coming from.

"Plus, I understand what they are coming from. That's why I did a player committee of veteran players, so we can communicate back and forth. I think that is probably the biggest reason for the buy in."

Pederson spent 14 years bouncing around the NFL as an undrafted free agent, so he's the ultimate underdog.

He's genuine, honest, down to Earth. That's why he works so well in Philly.

And he totally gets why what's happening right now is so special to the long-suffering Eagles fans of Philly, not to mention Williamstown, Burlington, Langhorne, Norristown, Ridley Park and all points in between.

"There's a part of me that, this underdog mentality, sort of you can't do something mentality, you know? That's kind of the city of Philly," he said.

"They say you can't do something, you rise up and do something amazing. That's kind of who I am. I've always been sort of one of those jack-of-all-trade athletes. Good at everything, but master of none. That's who I am. That's been my career.

"To come back to a city that sort of embraces that role a little bit and to rise up and lead a group of guys that have had a lot of adversity thrown in their face, that's kind of what draws you to this."

It's been fun to watch this football team, this collection of 28 guys who were on the 2016 team and 25 new additions, not just come together as a cohesive unit but develop the exact same underdog mentality as their coach has developed since he was backing up Reggie Slack with the New York/New Jersey Knights of the World League in the spring of 1992.

“I think the longer that a person is somewhere, and for me, this is year two, the team starts taking on the personality of the head coach and you hear the same things coming out of their mouths as (I say)," Pederson said.

"That’s where you start seeing that team take on that personality. Thats kind of what you want to see as a head coach.”

Dick Vermeil led the Eagles to the Super Bowl in 1980, his fifth year as head coach. Andy Reid led the Eagles to the Super Bowl in 2004, his sixth year.

Pederson has them there in year two with a young franchise quarterback and a remarkable amount of talent on both sides of the football in place.

This team isn't going away, and neither is Pederson.

At least, not for a while.

"Am I going to get fired one day? Yeah, probably," he said. "That's the reality. There's two types of coaches: hired and fired. You're either one or the other. You're either looking for a job or you're not.

"I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing, what I believe in, what I think is right. Do I need help along the way? Yeah. I'm not the only one in this hunt, either. I've got a great supporting staff, great owner, Howie (Roseman), Joe (Douglas)."

"We're all pulling the cart the same way, the same direction. That's the positive. That's what we have going for us."

Eagles Mailbag: Biggest concern on 2018 roster

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Eagles Mailbag: Biggest concern on 2018 roster

We’ve officially reached the only sort of dead period on the NFL calendar. The Eagles are through their spring practices and won’t be back at the NovaCare Complex until July 25 for the start of training camp. 

That sounds far away, but it’ll be here before you know it. 

You guys were great and gave me a ton of questions, so I’ll answer half today and half Sunday. Let’s go: 

I’m tempted to say defensive tackle just for health concerns surrounding Tim Jernigan, but I have to answer linebacker. Jordan Hicks appears to be healthy after tearing his Achilles last year, but as good as he is when healthy, it’s just tough to count on him. Two years ago, he was able to play a full season and things were looking good, but then he suffered another serious injury. If Hicks and Bradham stay healthy, linebackers aren’t a concern. The Eagles will have either Kamu Grugier-Hill, Nate Gerry or Corey Nelson take the weakside spot on base downs and they’ll be OK. 

But without Mychal Kendricks, it’s fair to be concerned about their depth at the position, especially after veteran pickup Paul Worrilow was already lost for the year. Kendricks came up huge last year as a fill-in; not sure the Eagles have that kind of depth this year. 

Not sure yet. What I can tell you about De’Vante Bausby is that he was impressive this spring and the coaching staff seems to love him. I remain very, very skeptical that he’s good enough to keep Sidney Jones off the field. With that said, I do think he’s talented enough to make the 53-man roster. We’ll get a better sense at camp when the pads go on, but I have him penciled in to make the team. 

Yes on both. The Nate Sudfeld hype is real. In our first extended looks at the young quarterback, he’s been incredibly impressive. It’s starting to make sense why the Eagles snatched him from Washington and then blocked the Colts from signing him last season. They kept him on the 53 in the second half of last year, so they’re completely prepared to keep three QBs on this year’s roster if Foles is still on the team. 

This is going to be the summer of Nate Sudfeld. We’re going to see him play a ton in those preseason games and that will let us know if he’s ready to be QB2 behind Carson Wentz. But the fact that the Eagles didn’t bring in a more experienced veteran after Wentz went down last year pretty much tells you all you need to know about what the Eagles think of him. 

We tried that. Didn’t work out well. We’re up for suggestions. 

You have no idea how out of water this fish is. This is like taking a fish from the ocean and dropping it in Kansas. 

How about Portugal? I’ll go with them because of Ronaldo. 

Where should Carson Wentz land on NFL's top 10 list?

Where should Carson Wentz land on NFL's top 10 list?

We now officially know Carson Wentz will be somewhere in the top 10 of the NFL Network’s top 100 players of 2018. 

We just don’t know where he’ll land. 

As far as the other Eagles on the list, the Super Bowl champions weren’t extremely well-represented: 68. Zach Ertz, 69. Fletcher Cox, 95. Lane Johnson, 96. Malcolm Jenkins. 

Before tearing his ACL and LCL on Dec. 10 in Los Angeles, it seemed like Wentz was on his way to an MVP season. In 13 games, Wentz threw for over 3,200 yards and a franchise-record 33 touchdown passes. 

Wentz is the only player in the top 10 who has never been anywhere on the top 100 list before. Can he go from off the list to No. 1?

Here’s the list of players (in alphabetical order) who will be unveiled in the top 10 on Monday night. 

  • Le'Veon Bell 
  • Tom Brady 
  • Drew Brees 
  • Antonio Brown
  • Aaron Donald 
  • Todd Gurley
  • Julio Jones 
  • Von Miller 
  • Aaron Rodgers
  • Carson Wentz

In the comments below, leave your top 10 in order. We’ll see how close everyone can get. 

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