McMullen: McAdoo’s Views are Irrelevant to Eagles
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - To Ben McAdoo the Eagles winning consecutive Super Bowls probably does look like an insurmountable hurdle.
Understand McAdoo and Eagles coach Doug Pederson have done a 180 over the prior two seasons, the former from young, innovative and brilliant young offensive mind coveted by Philadelphia to unemployed, and the latter from bumbling Plan C once described as a ficus plant by one Philadelphia-area columnist to Super Bowl-winning coach.
McAdoo, whose tenure as the Giants head coach ended after a disastrous 3-13 campaign last season, made news recently while playing pundit while discussing a number of NFC East matters, one of them being how the Eagles will handle success.
"I think Philly, how much success has Philly had?” McAdoo told the New York Post. “I think they’re gonna have a hard time handling success."
So-called Super Bowl hangovers are not exactly rare and observers warning about them in the game shouldn't be all that controversial.
But, this is Philadelphia and the lull between minicamp and training camp just got even more desolate with the one-two punch of Manny Machado heading to Los Angeles and Kawhi Leonard being traded to Toronto.
People are salty so how dare McAdoo, a former failed rival, even put the Eagles in his mouth.
The problem with that is Pederson himself has been warning against the same thing throughout the offseason and addressed McAdoo's words directly on NBCSports Philadelphia.
"I think there's a point there," Pederson admitted. "I mean, quite honestly, complacency can set in. You can skip an OTA, you can maybe skip a workout or whatever. But what I saw from our players was not that. Our players showed up for OTAs, they spent time getting themselves ready."
Chris Long was the latest to chime in during a Men's Wearhouse Suit Drive conference call of all things.
"That's kind of a speculative statement, isn't it?" Long said, according to ESPN's Tim McManus. "There's no science as to who's going to handle success well or not handle success well. Certainly, no one's given any indication in our organization that we won't handle success well. I think it's a challenge for any team coming off a really great season like we had. That's why you don't see a lot of teams repeat. You don't see a lot of teams back deep in the playoffs. Continuity is one of the hardest things to come by in the NFL."
Long knows better than most after spending the early part of his career with a woeful Rams team and now seeing the polar opposite of that with back-to-back Super Bowl championships with two different teams, New England and Philadelphia.
"Listen, that's his opinion," Long continued. "We don't play each other this year, right? At the end of the day, it's an opinion and he doesn't have to back that up. I respect his right to have an opinion -- he coached in the NFL -- but I mean, come on, there's no science to knowing who's going to handle success well or not."
In other words -- who cares what a failed coach from up the turnpike says?
There is a science to this, though, and you can ultimately trace the aforementioned 180 that McAdoo and Pederson did to one thing -- communication. McAdoo knows football but his locker room was in open revolt at times and his life experience is affected by that so in his mind, dealing with players who have had that kind of success probably seems daunting.
For Pederson communication is second nature and he believes there is a "new norm" in Philadelphia.
"The guys have really handled [success] extremely well from the participation [in the spring]," Pederson said at the end of minicamp. "To have everybody at one time or another be here in the off-season and now have everybody here this week, it just shows the commitment the guys have. They understand what we did last year. ... But at the same time, I want them to remember, but we also are moving forward. We're moving towards 2018."
If you think that message hasn't landed, listen to Long:
"The hardest thing is, there's going to be reminders of how great we were last year all through the summer and even into the fall," the veteran defensive end admitted. "They're going to lower the [championship] banner Week 1. And that is what it is. That has nothing to do with what we do Week 1 or Week 2 or all the way through Week 17. It doesn't give us a right to play in the postseason. It's totally irrelevant."
For someone that struggles to reach people, the glass is always going to look half empty.
Back in 2016, the Eagles got lucky when McAdoo ultimately declined their overtures and the organization shifted toward the glass-is-half-full guy.
"The message from me to them and really to the whole team was about sacrifice; what are you willing to give up between now and camp to prove that we can make another run?" Pederson explained. "Again, nothing is ever handed to us. We have to go earn it. We faced adversity. The team was very resilient last year, but what are you willing to give up individually between now and camp to help this football team get back to that championship game again? Things aren't going to be handed to us. The target got a little bit bigger on our backs, and we embrace that.
"Moving forward, that's going to be our challenge. That's going to be our motivation."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen