Jeff Lurie praises Doug Pederson for bringing locker room together

Jeff Lurie praises Doug Pederson for bringing locker room together

PHOENIX -- Jeff Lurie wanted a head coach with emotional intelligence.

After one year with Doug Pederson at the helm, Lurie seems pretty confident he has one.

Lurie first made those now-infamous comments about emotional intelligence on Dec. 30, 2015, at a press conference the day after the team fired Chip Kelly with one game left to go in the regular season. Kelly's nearly three-year run as the Eagles' head coach was filled with terse interactions with players and employees that left a bad vibe in the NovaCare Complex and had Lurie clamoring for a head coach that had some of the same qualities that made players want to play for Andy Reid.

Speaking for the first time in over a year, and for the first time since Pederson's first year as head coach ended, Lurie praised his coach for reuniting the Eagles' locker room.

"You inherit a team that was not in its best locker room atmosphere with its previous head coach," Lurie said on Tuesday in Phoenix at the annual league meetings. "That's normal in a franchise, probably, but he had the challenge of being a first-time head coach in a locker room that had gone through obstacles with the previous head coach at that point in time and he got them together and they really loved playing for Doug.

"He's genuine, he's open to the players' suggestions, he formed a leadership council, he has constant communication."

Aside from that emotional intelligence, Lurie also laid out some other reasons he's optimistic about Pederson's future as the team's head coach and why he was pleased with how Year One went.

The first reason was the staff Pederson put together. Lurie praised him for being humble enough to keep top assistants -- like Dave Fipp and Jeff Stoutland -- in the organization before going out and bringing in veteran defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.

Perhaps the most important part of Pederson's first year as head coach was the role he played in the development of Carson Wentz. Along with offensive coordinator Frank Reich and quarterbacks coach John DeFillippo, the Eagles offered Wentz a unique support system. Andy Reid recognized it too, saying of Wentz, "I can't think of a kid that's coming into a better situation to be a young quarterback than that one."

Then, there's Pederson's aggressive nature. Riverboat Doug gambled plenty of times during the 2016 season. While Pederson might not have taken some of those risks had the Eagles been a little better, the Eagles' owner was happy to see the aggressiveness.

"As we learned early in the season, just in terms of game-planning, he's not risk averse -- we've never wanted to be risk averse," Lurie said. "We'd much rather err on the side of being aggressive."

Eagles vs. Patriots live: Highlights and analysis from NFL Week 11 game

Eagles vs. Patriots live: Highlights and analysis from NFL Week 11 game

6:53 p.m.: This is a one-score game but it doesn’t feel like it. With how the Eagles’ offense has been playing, this feels like an insurmountable lead. 

After three: Patriots 17, Eagles 10 

6:39 p.m.: Things aren’t going well for the Eagles’ offense: 

6:27 p.m.: The Eagles just went 3-and-out after the Patriots scored. After their touchdown drive, the Eagles’ offense has been awful. On their four drives since the 95-yard touchdown drive, the Eagles have just 14 yards of offense. 

6:21 p.m.: The Patriots just drove down the field and got in the end zone with a trick play. On 3rd-and-11 from the Eagles’ 15-yard line, Tom Brady pass it back to Julian Edelman, who threw a pass to Phillip Dorsett in the end zone for a touchdown. The Patriots went 84 yards and took all the juice out of the Linc. 

The worst play on the drive for the Eagles came on a terrible tackling attempt from Nathan Gerry. He had the runner for a loss and couldn’t tackle; the Eagles lost 25 yards on that. 

Early in the third: Patriots 17, Eagles 10 

6 p.m.: The Eagles had a chance to move the ball into field goal range but instead, Carson Wentz took a sack and then fumbled a bad snap and was sacked again. At halftime, the Eagles’ defense is doing it’s job but the offense is having trouble. That was expected. 

Not a ton of offense from either team in the first half. The Patriots out-gained the Eagles 121-111. 

Give credit to Jim Schwartz’s unit. Two of the Patriots’ field goal possessions started in Eagles’ territory. 

At half: Eagles 10, Patriots 9 

5:53 p.m.: After Carson Wentz fumbled to give the Patriots the ball at the Eagles’ 22-yard line, the Eagles held on the ensuing drive, giving up 1 net yard. The Patriots settled for a field goal. 

By the way, Lane Johnson (concussion) is out for the rest of the game. 

Late in the half: Eagles 10, Patriots 9

5:43 p.m.: The Patriots had a short field and got down the Eagles’ 4-yard line to set up a 1st-and-goal and the Eagles held them to a a field goal. Sure, Julian Edelman dropped a touchdown, but still, there was solid defense. 

There’s 3:21 left in the half: Eagles 10, Patriots 6 

5:31 p.m.: Lane Johnson is being evaluated for a concussion and it questionable to return. Halapoulivaati Vaitai is in at right tackle. 

5:24 p.m.: The Patriots are on the board, but the Eagles’ defense held them out of the end zone. The Eagles gave up consecutive 3rd-and-10s on that drive, one on a pass and one on a DPI, but had great coverage on a 3rd-and-7 to force a field goal. 

Still 8:37 left in the half: Eagles 10, Patriots 3 

5:11 p.m.: That was a monster drive from the Eagles. They went 95 yards on 16 plays in 9:33 and punched in a touchdown on a 5-yarder from Carson Wentz to Dallas Goedert. Beautiful drive. The refs initially ruled the touchdown an INT, but rightfully reversed the call. 

Eagles are up two scores. 

In the second: Eagles 10, Patriots 0 

5 p.m.: The first quarter is over and the Eagles shut out the Patriots in the first. They are in the middle of a monster drive. 

After 1: Eagles 3, Patriots 0 

4:43 p.m.: Jason Peters has two big penalties already. His return from missing three games isn’t going well so far. 

4:30 p.m.: The Eagles get on the board first with a Jake Elliott 42-yard field goal. The Eagles went 51 yards on four plays, but the big play was a long DPI on Jason McCourty as he tried to cover Boston Scott down the field. 

Still early in the first: Eagles 3, Patriots 0 

4:22 p.m.: And a flyover! 

3:50 p.m.: We’re getting closer. I promise. 

2:55 p.m.: No real surprises on the Eagles' inactive list since we already knew Jordan Howard was out: 

2:47 p.m.: The Cowboys have a 24-14 lead over the Lions at halftime. That’s bad news for the Eagles but not unexpected. 

2:43 p.m.: Plenty of scenes from early warmups at the Linc:

1:37 p.m.: Big stop by the Lions in the red zone against the Cowboys, preserving a 7-3 lead in the first quarter. I won’t be able to watch this game but it’s a huge one for the Eagles. Not only do they have to root against the Cowboys every week, but the Lions are a common opponent to which the Eagles already lost. 

1:23 p.m.: I have arrived to Lincoln Financial Field. There are three hours to go until kickoff. 

Meanwhile, the Lions are up 7-0 in the first quarter over the Cowboys. 

8:41 a.m.: Good morning, everyone! The Eagles have an unusual 4:25 p.m. start today, so we have a little bit of waiting on our hands. 

The big news as you woke up this morning was that Jordan Howard (shoulder) will reportedly be out for this game. He has a stinger and hasn't yet been cleared for contact. That means Miles Sanders, Boston Scott and recently signed Jay Ajayi will have to carry the load.

As you wait for kickoff today, here are five matchups to watch in Eagles-Patriots.

At least we have Cowboys-Lions to watch at 1 p.m. 

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Lane Johnson is out for rest of game vs. Patriots

Lane Johnson is out for rest of game vs. Patriots

Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson was taken into the locker room in the second quarter and is being evaluated for a concussion.

The Eagles say Johnson is out for the rest of the game.

That means Halapoulivaati Vaitai is in to replace him at right tackle. Remember, Jason Peters is back at left tackle this week after missing the last three starts. Presumably, Andre Dillard is now the backup swing tackle. Matt Pryor is the Eagles' only other active offensive lineman today.

There’s no sugar-coating this: Losing Johnson is a huge blow for the Eagles, but Vaitai is at least an experienced backup.

Coming into this game, Johnson had played every offensive snap for the Eagles this season.

The Eagles are up 10-3 in the second quarter with Johnson out of the game.

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