The Eagles and the entire NFL are steaming into uncharted waters this summer, and none of us knows what’s going to happen over the next few months but one thing I do know is that I can’t imagine a football team better equipped to handle the challenges it’s about to face than the Eagles.
Because of Doug Pederson.
This is what Doug does best, and it’s why the Eagles are where they are and have accomplished what they’ve accomplished.
The guy is simply unflappable, and four years of Doug Pederson have shown us all that no matter what’s going on in and around this football team, he’s got this.
In 2016, it was a 1-7 stretch marked by three straight double-digit losses that turned a 4-2 start into a 5-9 record. In 2017, it was the rash of injuries that decimated the roster. In 2018, it was a 2-5 stretch featuring an unfathomable 41-point loss to the Saints … and more injuries. Last year, it was a three-game losing streak culminating in a loss to a 2-9 Dolphins team.
But it goes well beyond the football field.
Pederson has shown a truly special talent for really understanding his players, for listening, for caring.
He’s one part football coach, one part psychologist, one part camp counselor, one part drill sergeant.
The way he’s provided a forum for the Eagles’ Black players to openly discuss the Black Lives Matter movement with the team’s white players in a healthy, productive way … that kind of stuff truly brings people together.
Ever notice how nobody ever demands to be traded from here? Or questions a Pederson play call or decision? Or blasts a teammate? Or embarrasses the team?
People want to be here. Because Pederson not only understands how to win football games, he understands how to treat human beings with respect and he knows how to help football players and their families navigate their way through whatever challenge comes their way.
Whether it’s a career-threatening injury, the death of a relative, getting benched … anything.
We’ve seen it every day since Jeff Lurie hired Pederson on Jan. 18, 2016.
And that’s going to serve this team well going into a football season with so many unknowns. A season that will start in the teeth of a global pandemic in empty or nearly empty stadiums if it starts at all.
There’s nobody I’d rather have running my football team during all this craziness than Doug Pederson.
There’s nobody I’d trust more for guidance and support and leadership heading into the unknown more than Doug Pederson.
Because for four years he’s shown such a flair for keeping a level head and keeping his wits about him no matter how much chaos is swirling outside the NovaCare Complex.
Ever seen him lose his cool? Ever seen him look flustered? Ever seen him come across as indecisive?
Pederson always gives off an air of being in control, of being prepared for whatever happens next. Even when he’s not. That’s leadership.
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I’ll never forget how matter-of-fact he was that day at L.A. Coliseum on Dec. 10, 2017, when he just plainly said, Yeah, if Carson can’t play we’ll just go forward with Nick, and we’ll be fine.
His players see that and they believe him and they fall right in step behind him and they go out and win a Super Bowl.
Coaching is about calling the right plays and teaching blocking and tackling, but it’s also about getting guys to believe in you by the way you carry yourself and the way you treat other people.
Do that and you can overcome an awful lot of adversity. And as we sit here a month before training camps open, that’s exactly what the Eagles are about to face.
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