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LANDOVER, MARYLAND - NOVEMBER 08: Head coach Joe Judge of the New York Giants looks on in the second quarter against the Washington Football Team at FedExField on November 08, 2020 in Landover, Maryland.

By Joe Staszak

Yes, Joe Judge, I am talking to you but that goes for everybody else who has complained publicly or privately about Doug Pederson’s perceived “tank job” last Sunday night when he pulled quarterback Jalen Hurts and replaced him with third string quarterback Nate Sudfeld, in the 4th quarter of a three point game that ultimately ended up in a 20-14 loss to the Washington Football Team.

Head coach Judge and his New York Giants would have won the NFC East had the Eagles beaten the Football Team in the season finale.

So who should I rip first? Well, let’s start with the first year head coach of Big Blue shall we? This is what Judge said on Monday when asked how he felt about how things went down Sunday night.

“One thing to keep in mind with this season is we had a lot of people opt-IN to this season,”…”We had a lot of people opt-in … coaches, players, that includes family members as well.

“So, to look at a group of grown men who I ask to give me effort on a day-in, day-out basis, and to empty the tank, and then I can look them in the eye and ensure them that I’m always gonna do everything I can to put them in a competitive advantage and play them in position of strength …“To me, you don’t ever want to disrespect those players and their effort and disrespect the game.

“The sacrifices that they made to come into work every day and test before coming in … to sit in meetings spaced out, to wear masks, and have shields over those masks … to go through extensive protocols … to travel in unconventional ways … to get text messages at 6:30 in the morning telling ’em practice is gonna be canceled, we have to go a virtual day. … OK? To tell them, ‘Please don’t have your family over for Thanksgiving, please avoid Christmas gatherings. … We know it’s your wife’s birthday, let’s make sure we put that one off ’til the offseason.’

“There’s a number of sacrifices that have been made by all the players and coaches in this league. There’s a number of sacrifices that come along as well with the family members, the people connected with them.

“To disrespect the effort that everyone put forward to make this season a success for the National Football League, to disrespect the game by going out there and not competing for 60 minutes and doing everything you can to help those players win.

“We will never do that as long as I’m the head coach of the New York Giants.”

That’s great Coach because you always want to hurt your organization long term by winning meaningless games right? Secondly, if Pederson had called running plays on obvious passing downs, or won the toss and instead of deferring decided to kick-off, or let Jake Elliott take some snaps under center I could understand the argument, but I do believe Pederson coached to win

for the most part. But the scoreboard just wasn’t his priority nor should it have been. He gave one of his players an opportunity to shine on national TV and the whole thing went awry. He tried to win with a lesser quarterback at the helm in the fourth quarter. No one complained when he announced that he would be sitting 10 starters earlier in the week, did they?

The Chiefs and Steelers did the same thing on Sunday. They sat their stars and why? Because their main objective wasn’t the scoreboard. Their game plans did not include putting themselves at risk in a meaningless game. Remember it’s all about what’s best for the team in the quest for the ultimate goal. Any decision that puts you potentially further away from a Super Bowl Championship is just not prudent and certainly not intelligent.

Did former Sixers coach Brett Brown tank 72 times back in 2014-2015? Absolutely not. He tried to win too but he tried to win with lesser players.

In fairness, Judge did go on to say that his team had 16 opportunities to win more games this year and doesn’t want to make excuses. Huh? If that’s the case then he should have just said that and kept his mouth zipped about the perceived “tank job”. You can’t have it both ways, coach. People have lauded Judge for saying what he said publicly in order to further instill a winning culture in New York. I think he sounds like a complete imbecile whose team won just six games this year. Let’s think about that. If the Giants had won the NFC East Sunday night they would be the worst team in NFL history in the worst division in NFL history to qualify for the postseason. And he’s complaining about Pederson’s decision to throw his fourth year quarterback a bone in a meaningless game which resulted in the betterment of the franchise? Give me a break, coach. Does Judge have multiple Super Bowl wins on his resume as a head coach that I don’t know about? If you want to win in this league, coach, then perhaps don’t have your team start the season 1-7 and don’t lose three of your final four games down the stretch. What do you think?

Most former players who have turned talking heads, especially the ones with some weighty jewelry boxes, ripped Judge’s comments while former Cowboys Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin didn’t want to hear it from Judge’s players either. “If you’re a damn player you had 16 times to make a statement. Shut your mouth right now if you didn’t do it during the season. Shut up talking about Philly didn’t do you a favor by winning the damn game when you had 16 times to make a statement then. Shut up please!”

Credit to the Giants’ players. To my knowledge not one of them has complained publicly about Pederson’s controversial decision. Some may have been perplexed by the quarterback change but to a man, Judge’s players took the high road and took accountability for a less than stellar six win season. Kudos fellas.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for some of the Eagles though. Running back Miles Sanders went on local radio Tuesday morning and said this.

“Oh man, If I’m being honest, nobody liked the decision. Nobody. And that’s all I can say. I don’t know who was the main person behind that decision, but all I know is there’s a lot of people on the team [who] was confused.”

Really, brah? Maybe you shouldn’t have fumbled inside the five on the first drive of the Cleveland game back in week 11. Those seven points would have come in handy because your team ended up losing that game by 5. Shut up please!

Reports also say that many Eagles players and coaches were shocked and outraged by Pederson’s decision to pull Hurts the other night. Am I losing my mind? Again, shut up please!

Some were angry. Two defensive players had to be held back from approaching Pederson. Center Jason Kelce and another offensive starter went to the coach to ask him why he had pulled the starting quarterback with the Eagles trailing by only three. First of all Kelce’s imperfect snap led to one of Sudfeld’s turnovers and second of all – restrained? Excuse me? Why would you ever have to restrain a player for wanting to voice his thoughts to the coach? Pederson would have probably welcomed it while setting the record straight.

But what I love the most are the folks who say that Pederson may have lost the locker room. What? Did I hear that right? Yeah, God forbid Doug would lose the faith of a four win locker room. Yo, 47! What was that again? Oh yeah. SHUT UP PLEASE!

You know what builds a winning culture? Players that can actually play.

We should only hope that Birds’ general manager Howie Roseman loses the locker room this off season. I’d settle for half of it.

It’s pretty simple. Any and every football decision you make as an NFL franchise, and the same goes for the other sports leagues, should be made by asking only this – what’s best for the team?

I mercilessly hammered former Eagles’ head coach Chip Kelly for beating the Giants in the season finale in the 2014-2015 season. The Birds were eliminated from the playoffs the previous week and it rendered the last game meaningless. Philly rolled the Giants that day 36-24. They ended up drafting 20th in the 2015 draft. The win cost them up to four slots that year.

Kelly, who was the acting general manager back then as well, selected wide receiver Nelson Aghalor, who had an underwhelming career here sans 2017. He could have selected five-time pro bowler and four time all-pro cornerback Marcus Peters, who went just two picks before Aghalor to the Kansas City Chiefs, had his team lost that meaningless season finale. Just sayin’.

Having said that, no one seems to have much confidence that Birds general manager Howie Roseman will make the right pick anyway and that’s certainly understandable. But in theory, the sixth overall pick is much better than the ninth overall pick if you have a competent personnel department, which the Eagles clearly don’t, especially if you’re in the market for a franchise quarterback. Wait, what?

Think about the mess that is the quarterback situation right now. If reports are true that the relationship between Carson Wentz and Pederson is fractured beyond repair and he is going to request a trade, then what? He’s virtually unmovable because of his contract and the cap hit will cripple this team even further. They’re already in cap Hell right now, as they are nearly $65 million over the cap today. If the team can’t move him the Birds could perhaps have a very unhappy employee on their hands. Either that or they could wind up paying $34 million dollars next season for a back-up quarterback. Oh and by the way, he was the worst quarterback in the league this past year and the worst player on his team. You can add Wentz to the list of people embarrassing themselves this week if the latest report is true. I haven’t seen less bargaining power since the WNBA threatened to go on strike prior to the 2003 season.

Ok, what about Jalen Hurts? He’s the heir apparent to Wentz, right? Well not so fast. He was just 1-3 as a starter in the last four games and since he replaced Wentz in the third quarter of the Packers game back in early December he’s just 74/145 with six touchdowns and four interceptions. That’s a completion percentage of 51%. Does that instill confidence that he’s the right choice to take this team to great heights in the near future? Sure he adds an extra element of excitement and danger with his legs as seen Sunday night when ran for two scores in the first half keeping the game close. But let’s face it, winning quarterbacks can throw the ball accurately from the pocket on a consistent basis. End of story. So far he hasn’t proven that he can do that.

According to reports, Hurts was apparently “devastated” for being pulled Sunday. Excuse me? Dude, you were 7/20 for 72 yards, an interception and a quarterback rating of 25.4. Shut up please! Not only that, you had the ball inside the five late in the third quarter, with your team down just three, and you missed a wide open Zach Ertz on third and goal and then missed a wide open Quez Watkins on fourth and goal. Either one should have been a touchdown. You had your chances bro and spit it up, so zip it. Someone needs to remind him that he’s a rookie and by definition he should zip it way more often than not.

Pederson was criticized for not taking the field goal there but upon further review he was giving his rookie qb a chance to perform in a critical situation. You can be unconventional in an exhibition game, which is how Pederson appeared to approach the season finale. Had Hurts converted that possession into seven points, it would have given the Birds 21 points, possibly enough to win the game.

Now I’m going to rip my any and all of my Eagles’ brethren who had an issue with the way things went down last Sunday night. What are you people smoking? Whatever it is it is definitely time to share. Are you really whining about dumping a meaningless game for the greater good? What’s the matter with you? You do realize that an Eagles win would have given their biggest rival the division crown (yes, the Giants are the Eagles’ biggest rival not the Cowboys. In order to be one’s biggest rival the other team has to feel the same way. The Cowboys biggest rival is the Washington Football team. Deal with it). Believe me, it was the right call and I wouldn’t be surprised if the decision to treat the game like a preseason game didn’t come down from the top. The Eagles need all the help they can get in the upcoming draft and the brass clearly told Pederson beforehand that he would retain his job next year and thus,

he did the right thing for the team moving forward. He did say earlier in the week that he might try to get Sudfeld some snaps and was true to his word. He did exactly what he said he might do.

Sudfeld is an unrestricted free agent this off-season. Meaningless games at the end of the season give some of the lesser players a chance to put themselves on tape for other teams to see as they look for their next job. All Pederson was doing was rewarding his third string quarterback for being a good teammate over the last four years. The problem occurred when Sundfeld imploded on the field, turning the ball over twice in his first five snaps while going 5/12 for 32 yards. He hadn’t played in a real game in the last 105 weeks but I don’t think anybody, especially Pederson, thought it would go as sideways as it did. Remember, he was supposed to be the Eagles’ second-string quarterback in 2019 but he broke his non-throwing wrist in the preseason opener against the Titans. That injury forced the Eagles to go out and sign 40-year-old Josh McCown to back up Wentz. And once they signed McCown, Sudfeld never got his second-string job back.

Only two, maybe three teams that draft ahead of the Eagles this April need a quarterback and there are four highly rated quarterbacks entering the draft: Kyle Trask from Florida, Zack Wilson from BYU, Justin Fields from Ohio State and Trevor Lawrence from Clemson. Lawrence is the consensus top pick and would have been sitting in the New York Jets’ lap had they not won two of their last three games finishing one slot behind the Jacksonville Jaguars in April’s draft order. On Monday, Jets’ head coach Adam Gase was promptly fired after an abysmal 2-14 season. If I was the Jets’ owner I wouldn’t have fired him for losing 14 games I would have fired him for winning the other two.

Now, dream a little dream, if perhaps the Birds figure out their quarterback situation and decide to build around either Wentz or Hurts it’s possible that Heisman winner Alabama wide receiver Devonta Smith could be sitting there at six if the Texans and Bengals both pass on him. Either way, the Birds are in a much better situation with the sixth pick versus the ninth pick as I stated earlier.

There’s a thing in the NFL that most if not all coaches mandate from their players. It’s called the 24 hour rule. Immediately following every game the players get 24 hours to either celebrate or lament the previous game’s outcome. After that it’s time to turn the page and move on to the upcoming game. In a meaningless regular season game like last Sunday there should have been a :30 second rule. And that goes for the fans too. It’s way past bedtime on turning the page on that mess Sunday night. Anybody still worked up about it, my advice to you is simple. Shut up please!