Lurie on Wentz: ‘Very fixable, and I fully expect him to realize his potential’

The Doug Pederson era in Philadelphia is over. Pederson was fired by the Eagles, the team announced on Monday. Pederson spent five seasons with the Eagles and has been to the postseason three times, including winning a Super Bowl with the team in 2017. 

The 2020 season was a struggle for Pederson and the Eagles. The team finished a disappointing 4-11-1, and reportedly, QB Carson Wentz, who struggled mightily this season, had a bad relationship with Pederson. According to reports, Wentz felt the relationship with Pederson was irreparable. In 12 starts, the 28-year-old Wentz threw 16 touchdowns and 15 interceptions(tied for most in the league), had a 72.8 quarterback rating(second-worst among starting quarterbacks), and was sacked a league-high 50 times. Ultimately, Wentz was benched for the final four games of the season in favor of 2020 second-round pick Jalen Hurts. 

What the Eagles will do at the quarterback position in 2021 should be interesting, and according to Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, who addressed the media on Monday after the announcement of Pederson’s firing, the decision on the quarterback position in 2021 is up to the new head coach, but Lurie appears to be a fan of Wentz.

“First of all, I don’t think any owner should decide that,” Lurie said. “Carson, to us, to me, and to I think virtually everybody in our organization, is a quarterback that his first four years was in many ways elite and comparable to some of the great quarterbacks’ first four years in the league.

“Fifth year, obviously not satisfactory, for whatever reasons. There are probably multiple reasons for that. The way I look at it is we have an asset, and we have a talent. He’s a great guy, and he wants nothing but to win big and win Lombardi Trophies for Philadelphia. This guy is tireless. He has his heart in the right place, and he’s really dedicated off-season, on-season – he’s just what you want. It behooves us as a team with a new coach, a new coaching staff, to be able to really get him back to that elite progression where he was capable of, and at the same time, understand that there have been many quarterbacks in their fourth and fifth year … if you trace this, you can come up with many, many quarterbacks that have a single year where it’s just, whoa, the touchdown-to-interception ratio is not what you want. And we’re talking some great ones, like Peyton [Manning] and Ben [Roethlisberger] and guys like that.

“So I take sort of a more, probably a longer view of this was not the best season for our offense, it was a poor season, and we also had a poor season from Carson in terms of what he’s been able to show in the past. Very fixable, and I fully expect him to realize his potential.”

Based on Wentz’s performance, it appeared that having Hurts around was a distraction to the fifth-year quarterback, so the new coach and organization has to figure out how to fix that situation.

As for Pederson, he will get another job. He’s had a lot of success in Philadelphia and has proven to be a very good coach in the NFL, but at this point, it was not good enough for the Eagles going forward. 

 

Giants’ Joe Judge believes the Eagles ‘disrespected the game’ on Sunday night

Many around the NFL are not happy with the way the Philadelphia Eagles handled their season-finale against the Washington Football Team on Sunday night. There was a lot at stake in this game. If Washington wins, they win the NFC East. If they lose, the Giants, who beat Dallas earlier in the day, win the division.

Here is what got a lot of people upset. First, with the Eagles down 17-14 in the third quarter, Philadelphia had an opportunity to tie the game with a short field goal, but Eagles head coach Doug Pederson decided to go for it on fourth down, and ultimately, Washington would stop them.

Finally, Philadelphia decided to remove their starting QB Jalen Hurts, who ran for two touchdowns on Sunday, and replaced him with Nate Sudfeld, who had not thrown a pass since 2018. Well, Sudfeld proceeded to commit two turnovers(fumble, interception) and finished the game 5/12 for 32 yards. Philadelphia would not score again and would fall to Washington 20-14.

With the loss, the Eagles secured the sixth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Washington won the NFC East, and the Giants were eliminated.

On Monday, Giants head coach Joe Judge addressed the situation, and he was not very happy.

 “I’ll let Philadelphia speak for themselves on that in terms of how they approached the game,” Judge said. “Really simply, I was in my office last night. I watched our film from the game yesterday, and then I was actually watching our first Tampa game with the Philly-Washington game on in the background. There’s been a lot made of that game internal or from the outside. Let me just be very clear on this; we had sixteen opportunities this year, that’s it. It’s our responsibility to take care of our opportunities and perform better and execute the situations when they’re on our plate. We don’t ever want to leave our fate in the hands of anybody else. We’re not going to make excuses as an organization. Not now, not ever. We had our opportunities. We need to learn from the lessons we have from this year and carry them forward. That’s the experience you truly gain. That’s really the most important thing right there, our opportunities.

“That being said, obviously, players have asked me throughout the day. The one thing to keep in mind with this season is we had a lot of people opt into this season. We had a lot of people opt-in. Coaches, players, that includes family members as well. 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. I can look them in the eye and assure them that I’m always going to do everything I can to put them in a competitive advantage and play them in a 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 in to work every and test before coming in. To sit in meetings spaced out, to wear masks, to have shields over those masks, to go through extensive protocols, to travel in unconventional ways, and to get text messages at 6:30 in the morning telling them practice was going to be canceled we have to do a virtual day. To tell them to 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 to 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 for the family members of the people connected to 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 am the head coach of the New York Giants.”

In life and in football, you never let anyone control your destiny, and in the end, New York did not do enough to control their destiny, and because of that, the Washington Football Team are NFC East champions. It’s that simple. 

However, one thing for sure, when the Giants and Eagles play next season, it should be a lot of fun!

Watch Judge below:

Eagles’ Roseman: ‘I certainly regret that comment about quarterback factory’

The Philadelphia Eagles ended a disappointing 2020 season by losing to the Washington Football Team 20-14 on Sunday night. With the loss, the Eagles finished the season at 4-11-1. 

You could argue the season went bad back in April when the team drafted QB Jalen Hurts in the second round. After the selection, Eagles Executive Vice President/General Manager Howie Roseman said the following:

“For better or worse, we are quarterback developers. We want to be a quarterback factory. We have the right people in place to do that. No team in the National Football League has benefitted more from developing quarterbacks than the Philadelphia Eagles.”

On Monday, Roseman talked about those comments. According to Roseman, he now has regrets.

“Of some of the things that I’ve done this season, I certainly regret that comment about quarterback factory,” Roseman said. “Really it was just in terms of how — the importance of the position around the league, the importance of the position to this organization, and really a reflection of our experiences with backup quarterbacks when we did that.”

In 2019, the Eagles signed Carson Wentz to a four-year, $128 million contract extension, so it seemed odd that Philadelphia would draft a quarterback the following season. You could argue that Wentz was bothered by the selection of Hurts, and it showed on the field this season. The fifth-year quarterback had his worst year as a pro. In 12 starts, the 28-year-old Wentz threw 16 touchdowns and 15 interceptions(tied for most in the league), 72.8 quarterback rating(second-worst among starting quarterbacks), and sacked a league-high 50 times. All is not on Wentz, but he was not very good in 2020.

When asked if he regrets drafting Hurts, Roseman said the following:

“I think certainly when you talk about Jalen and his talent and his work ethic; it’s all the things that we saw in college in terms of the big picture and how we are building this team, you even see it last night,” he said. “Two teams are playing for a playoff berth with their backup quarterbacks. As we go towards 17 games, depth is important in this league, and I think that’s an important position that you’re trying to find depth and certainly a guy that we liked as a player.”

According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Wentz has a poor relationship with Eagles head coach Doug Pederson and wants out of Philadelphia. However, according to Pederson, his relationship with Wentz is solid.

“Listen, I’m not going to speak for Carson, obviously, but I can speak for myself and say that, yeah, the relationship is good. It’s fine,” Pederson said. “It’s something that we’re going to continue to build upon, and listen; I know Carson’s disappointed. It’s not the season that he had anticipated. It’s not the season I had anticipated as the head coach. There were a lot of moving parts. It’s not about one guy here. It takes all of us, and that’s something that we’ve stressed a lot here.”

Hurts showed flashes during his four starts, but he did not blow anybody away. If I’m the Eagles, I try to work things out with Wentz. Outside of 2020, he has played at a high level. Other than this season and his rookie year, Wentz has not thrown more than seven interceptions in a season, so you could argue what happened in 2020 was an aberration. Based on how his contract is structured and barring a trade, Philadelphia could be stuck with Wentz until after the 2021 season, when they will be able to get out of the deal without a significant cap hit. 

However, you don’t draft a quarterback in the second round for no reason, so what happens next should be interesting.

Giants’ Ryan: ‘Regardless of what happens tonight, I feel like we run the division’

The New York Giants(6-10) handled their business on Sunday and defeated the Cowboys(6-10) 23-19 at MetLife Stadium. With the victory, the Cowboys are eliminated from playoff contention, and now they wait for the outcome of the Washington Football Team-Eagles game on Sunday night.

If Washington loses, the Giants win the NFC East, which would be a great accomplishment when you consider they were 1-7 after eight games.

No matter what happens with Washington tonight, Giants S Logan Ryan feels New York is the class of the NFC East.

“Regardless of what happens tonight, I feel like we run the division,” Ryan said after the game. “I feel like we swept Washington. I feel like at the first Cowboys game, they had a great play at the end of the game to get them in field goal range and we kind of let that happen. We came back and avenged that with a great play on our end. The Philly game, it was a similar thing; we failed in a dramatic fashion in the end. Our two-minute defense was being questioned. Our third down defense was being questioned, and we came back and pretty much handled Philly the second time. I can’t talk too bad about Philly because I’m a Philly fan today. I need all my South Jersey people to flap their wings tonight, so I won’t beat up Philly too bad. Other than that, I feel like we’re the best team in the division. We definitely deserve to represent the NFC East.

“It wouldn’t mean anything different, honestly. We won our last game. We did everything we could. I’m not going to hang my head if it doesn’t happen. It doesn’t make me think any higher or any lower of this team. It was an odd year for everybody. It’s an odd year for this division, but we fought our division well. I feel like we’re the best team in the division. We didn’t handle the games outside of the division all the time, so we’ll see what happens. Whether we make it or not, I know that’s great for the fan base, it’s great for the franchise, it great to have a division matter, but I’m not going to think about this team any differently based on the results tonight.”

The NFC East is the NFC East. It’s not a very good division. Maybe, the Giants are the best team in the NFC East, but at the end of the day, if Washington wins tonight, they are the NFC East champions. It’s that simple!

PhotoL @Giants/Twitter

Eagles DC Schwartz tells what happened with Michael Jacquet against Cowboys

Life as a cornerback in the NFL is never easy. In fact, you have to have a very short memory. On Sunday, Philadelphia Eagles rookie CB Michael Jacquet had an unforgettably bad day in the team’s loss to Dallas.

Whether he was defending Michael Gallup or Amari Cooper, Jacquet struggled. According to Next Gen Stats, Jacquet allowed seven catches for 182 yards and two touchdowns. The 182 yards was the second-most given up by a defensive back this season. 

On Tuesday, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz explained what went wrong:

“Yeah, well, we put [CB Darius] Slay on [Cowboys WR Amari] Cooper, and M.J. [Michael Jacquet] was out on [Cowboys WR Michael] Gallup most of the time,” Schwartz said. “And he was having a tough day. And I started going to some zone, but the problem with that is the quarterback just kept checking down to Zeke [Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott], and he would get 10 yards a pop there.

“At halftime, we switched Slay over to Gallup to try to get a little bit more help to M.J., but he was still struggling. What I compare that to, it’s a little bit like a pitcher. Sometimes you don’t have your best stuff, and Skip [the manager] has got to go to the bullpen.

“I felt like we had sort of gone through all the different things. We tried to go to some zone. We tried to switch it up. He was still having a tough day. And we didn’t want to, but we had to go to J-Mill [S Jalen Mills] at corner, and I didn’t want to because he was giving us a lot of solidity in the middle part of the field. I thought Mills did an outstanding job of putting the fire out. I thought him and Slay at that point really started playing well on the outside part of the field.

“Now, we had our other issues that put more pressure on the safeties, and [S Marcus] Epps got banged up a little bit early in the game. We started going with some different combinations back there. Communication wasn’t the best. But we made a little run in the second half, mainly because of Slay and Mills. Again, I think it’s just such a compliment to Jalen that he’s been such an unselfish player. He’s been making progress at safety, and for his career, it’s probably best that he just stays there, but when we said, ‘Hey, we’ve got to move you to corner,’ he never even batted an eye. He’s gone out, and he’s switched to the best receiver before, he’s gone out and just started playing right and left, challenges guys.

“We weren’t able to get back in the game, but that gave us a chance to get back in the game. But M.J. will bounce back. We talked a little bit about his mental makeup and things. Sometimes they’re going to hit a homer off of you, and you’ve got to be able to come back and throw that fastball again, and I have confidence that he will.”

Ideally, Jacquet, who was an undrafted rookie free agent out of Louisiana-LaFayette,  would not be on the field, but injuries in the secondary forced him into the lineup. Hopefully, for Jacquet, better days are ahead for him.

Eagles’ Pederson on winning a Super Bowl: ‘I know what it takes’

The Philadelphia Eagles did not have much success in 2020, but because they are in the NFC East, Philadelphia had a legitimate chance to win the division. However, that all ended when the Eagles lost to the Cowboys 37-17 on Sunday. With the loss, Philadelphia(4-10-1) is officially eliminated from the playoffs. 

Philadelphia, who will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2016, has dealt with many injuries in 2020. The offensive line and secondary were hard hit by injuries. Those injuries, along with poor quarterback play from Carson Wentz, hurt this team tremendously.  

Although Philadelphia struggled in 2020, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, who some believe could lose his job at season’s end, believes he can turn things around.

“This season has been tough for myself personally as the head coach here,” Pederson said. “Obviously, as the team and dealing with the pandemic and just everything that’s really hit us through injury and not playing well, it’s very disheartening.

“I just sit here today and just have to apologize to the fans. Really just this is not what we expected. It’s not what I expected back in training camp and the early part of the season.

“But I know in my heart that this is a great place to play, a great place to coach. We do have the best fans. When we win, it’s unbelievable. It’s exciting. I know we can get back to that level.”

Pederson was the first and only coach to lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl victory back in the 2017 season, and according to him, he knows what it takes to get his team back to that point.

“Like I said earlier, I know what that looks like. I know what it takes,” he said about winning a Super Bowl. “Me personally, I’ve been in three Super Bowls, been on three Super Bowl teams, and I’ve seen exactly how it can be done. We’ve got to get that back. We’ve got some great players, some great young players, and they’re getting valuable experience right now playing.

“It’s just unfortunate that we’re not winning these games. I think of yesterday’s game. It’s kind of like how our season has gone. We’ve had opportunities, right? We’re in the red zone, in the scoring zone, and we just come up short. That’s kind of been the way our season has gone. It is unfortunate, but I know we can get it turned around and get it fixed.”

This is Pederson’s first lousy season with the Eagles. He’s been in the playoffs for three straight seasons, including a Super Bowl victory. So, what that being said, he deserves a chance to fix what’s wrong. Obviously, they have a decision to make at the quarterback position, which should be interesting. But, in the end, Pederson should be the guy to fix everything that went wrong with Philadelphia in 2020.

Washington-Eagles flexed to SNF in Week 17

The Washington Football Team will face the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night Football on NBC in Week 17, the NFL announced today.

If the Tennessee Titans defeat the Green Bay Packers in tonight’s game, Tennessee will face the Houston Texans at 1 p.m. ET Sunday on CBS and the Indianapolis Colts will host the Jacksonville Jaguars at 1 p.m. ET Sunday on CBS.  If Green Bay defeats Tennessee, both the Tennessee-Houston and Jacksonville-Indianapolis games will be played at 4:25 p.m. ET Sunday on CBS.

The Week 17 schedule (all times ET):

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills

1:00 PM

CBS

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals

1:00 PM

CBS

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns

1:00 PM

CBS

Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions

1:00 PM

FOX

Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans

1:00 or 4:25 PM

CBS

Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts

1:00 or 4:25 PM

CBS

New York Jets at New England Patriots

1:00 PM

CBS

Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants

1:00 PM

FOX

Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1:00 PM

FOX

New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers

4:25 PM

FOX

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears

4:25 PM

FOX

Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos

4:25 PM

CBS

Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs

4:25 PM

FOX

Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams

4:25 PM

CBS

Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers

4:25 PM

FOX

Washington Football Team at Philadelphia Eagles

8:20 PM

NBC

Eagles’ Fipp on Elliott: ‘He’s had some short misses there; it’s unacceptable for us’

Philadelphia Eagles K Jake Elliott was one of the heroes of Super Bowl 52. Elliott made three field goals in that contest, including a 46-yarder that put the Eagles up 41-33 late in the game. Ultimately, as we know, Philadelphia would hold on and defeat the Patriots on that day.

Before this season, the 25-year-old Elliott had been a very consistent kicker for the Eagles and was rewarded with a five-year, $21 million contract extension last November, but one year later, Elliott is floundering. In 13 games this season, Elliott has missed five field goals(13-18), including a 22-yarder last week in the team’s win over New Orleans. 

On Tuesday, Eagles special teams coach Dave Fipp talked about Elliott’s struggles in 2020.

“Obviously, the last three weeks, he’s had some short misses there. It’s unacceptable for us. He knows that I know that,” Fipp said… “I mean, I have to do a better job with him just working our fundamentals, our techniques, our drills. We had a good snap, a good hold. I think the operation has been really good for him. He’s obviously made a bunch of longer kicks, so some of it is hard to fathom. At the end of the day, I’m not going to get into all the techniques and detail, but it comes down to just striking the ball more consistently. We got to get him in a little bit better rhythm and make sure he’s striking the ball a little bit more consistently there.

“He’s a talented player; he’s got a lot of tools, he’s a really talented player, he works really hard at it. It’s really important to him, it’s not a lack of effort or of a want to, so we’ll just stay the course. I think any player in that position in this league or most players in that position in this league have had to fight through something. This will be a good opportunity for him to fight through a little adversity here.”

Elliott has to be better going forward for the Eagles. In reality, no one cares about the kicker until they have to care about the kicker, and that usually happens when the kicker is struggling, and at this time, Elliott is struggling. It’s hard to understand why, but hopefully, Fipp can find ways to help Elliott turn it around. Otherwise, Philadelphia may have a decision to make at the kicker position.

 

Reagor on Jalen Hurts: ‘He is a winner’

Eagles rookie QB Jalen Hurts, in his first career start, made a few plays, and with the help of Miles Sanders(115 yards rushing, one touchdown), who had an 82-yard touchdown run and an opportunistic defense that sacked Saints QB Taysom Hill five times and forced two turnovers, Philadelphia(4-8-1) was able to defeat New Orleans(10-3) 24-21 at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday.

Hurts, who replaced an ineffective Wentz, was 17-30 for 167 yards with a touchdown and 106 yards rushing, played a solid game on Sunday against the Saints number one ranked defense, and was excited to get a win in his first career start.

“It felt good, it felt good. [It’s] always a great feeling to get a ‘W’,” Hurt said. “All week, we talked about going out there and executing and dominating our box. Coming out at halftime without looking at the scoreboard. I’ve said it a lot, just having a standard for play. We got this win, but is it up to our standard of play? No. So that’s why I say we have so much to build on and so much more to work for. [We] have to continue to build, continue to learn. Every game is an opportunity to learn, and we need to use it to our advantage moving forward.”

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson felt Hurts gave the team a spark on Sunday.

“Jalen got the start this afternoon, and I thought overall, there were some good things and really, kind of gave us a spark as a team that I was looking for, and I think we were looking for as a team,” Pederson said. “But you know, this win today is not about one guy. This win is about this team and how resilient this team is.”

Eagles WR Jalen Reagor(65 total yards) was impressed by what he saw out of Hurts and was proud of his performance.

“Ah man, you guys saw, he looked good,” Reagor said about Hurts. “He is a fearless guy, just like myself. He is a winner. He knows how to play, and I am proud of him. I am proud for him, and I am happy to see where he goes.”

When asked if Hurts will be the starter next week on the road against Arizona, Pederson has this to say:

“I’m going to enjoy this one. I’m going to go home and relax and be with my family tonight and enjoy this win and get ready for the week.”

Obviously, Hurts will start next week against the Cardinals. The rookie was solid today and used his legs effectively against New Orleans. Maybe this move should have happened sooner. Who knows. However, Hurts and Philadelphia have to keep it going, and this win against the Saints should give the Eagles some hope.

Eagles’ Schwartz on Metcalf: ‘I can’t believe paying a compliment to a player has become such a big thing’

Before the Seahawks defeated the Eagles on Sunday night, their star WR D.K. Metcalf found a little a motivation. According to the second-year player, who had 10 catches for 177 yards against Philadelphia on Monday night, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who coached Calvin Johnson in Detroit, told Metcalf that he’s not “Megatron.”

The comment, according to Metcalf, motivated him against Philadelphia and led to him having a big game on Monday night.

On Wednesday, Schwartz responded to Metcalf’s comments:

“I can’t believe paying a compliment to a player has become such a big thing. Before I even go into that, I want to say everybody needs to know the high esteem that I hold Calvin Johnson in,” Scwartz said. “Calvin was not only the best player I’ve ever coached, he was the best player I ever coached against, and I think he’s one of the great players in the history of the National Football League. I had five years up close and personal of every defensive coordinator’s number one job was to stop Calvin Johnson and ran every tricked up defense known to man and he still made the plays and he was an incredibly hard worker, underreported with him. Great person. And just the honor of my career to coach a guy like Calvin Johnson.

“So, it’s, in my mind, it’s a little bit funny, anytime you even speak somebody’s name in the same sentence as Calvin Johnson I don’t know how you could take offense to that. So I tried to pay the guy a compliment, said I read his story, knew he had overcome injury, heard he was a hard worker, and said he reminds me a little bit of Calvin and congratulated him after the game. At the time he told me, ‘Hey, thanks, Coach, that means a lot to me.

“So if anybody wants to take offense to being compared to who I think is one of the greatest players in the history of the National Football League, then, yeah, if you get your motivation that way, then fine, but we’re not going to worry too much about that. I think that the only person in the whole thing that deserves or that has any sort of whatever in that thing would be a guy like Calvin. But again, you just have to understand how much esteem I hold Calvin in, and like I said, the greatest honor of my coaching career was coaching that guy day-in and day-out. He’s meant a lot to my kids and family and everything else. So, tried to pay a guy a compliment. I chatted with Russell Wilson before the game because I respect him so much and saw DK on the sideline in between plays and wanted to compliment him on his work ethic and overcoming injury and stuff like that. So, there it is.”

Who knows what to believe. Maybe Metcalf is telling the truth; maybe Metcalf is pulling a Michael Jordan and trying to make up stories to find motivation. Who knows, but one thing for sure, Metcalf is a stud, but at this point, he’s not Calvin Johnson just yet.