Pederson’s Next Test is Navigating the Bye Week
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — In most industries stealing is about the worst thing you can do.
In professional football, taking from others is not only expected, it's encouraged. And Doug Pederson has been around a lot of people it's a probably good an idea to steal from, coaches like Don Shula, Mike Holmgren and Andy Reid and quarterbacks with names like Marino, Favre, and McNabb.
Pederson even spent a little time in Cleveland back in 2000 so he also understands who not to pilfer from.
All jokes aside, maybe the most impressive part of Reid's coaching resume has been his success coming out of bye week and as the person most responsible for crafting Pederson into an NFL coach, the latter has learned a thing or two from his former boss about how to handle the in-season break.
And when you've won eight of nine to start the season, Pederson dangled the carrot of a full week off to recharge the batteries.
"Get away from it, clear their minds," Pederson said Monday when asked what he told his players. "Understand that, yeah, we've started something special, but we want to make sure we finish it the right way."
That means a controlled break. The coach wants his players to enjoy their downtime but also keep up the conditioning aspect of their jobs, whether it means taking time out to throw around the weights a time or two or engaging in some cardio. For those staying in the area, the NovaCare Complex remains open for business whether it's for a workout or to get treatment for an injury.
Pederson harkened back to his time with Reid saying "Big Red" was always "great" about giving his players and coaches some time off during the bye week, a strategy that has resulted in almost unrealistic success in the form of a 16-2 record coming out of the bye.
The Padawan is going to have a tough time matching the Jedi because Pederson is 0-1 so far coming off the bye, losing in Week 5 to Detroit back in 2016.
This time around, however, the Eagles are a much better team and it's a much bigger game, a Week 11 matchup in Dallas where a win essentially puts a stranglehold on the NFC East.
The plan seems to be avoiding any impetus to change something that doesn't need fixing during the organization's self-scout.
"You don't come out and recreate and do a lot of things that are not in your schemes," the coach explained. [Reid] was able to do that. I think just being able to refocus the guys was the biggest thing and keeping them on task and not changing a lot of stuff and letting the guys go play again."
The first part of the bye is for the self-scouting and then preparation for the Cowboys will begin next week when all of the players are back in South Philadelphia.
"We go back and just self-scout and self-evaluate," Pederson said. "[We] make sure there are no strong tendencies one way or the other, offensively speaking whether it's by formation or personnel or whatever that might be. Same thing on defense. Just clean some things up. Just evaluate where we are as a football team schematically and move forward from there. Then I'll give the coaches some time later in the week to spend time with their families and get rested up and be able to make this last little push."
Where they're at is 8-1 and the best team in the NFL so the message is a simple one: enjoy the time off with the realization more work needs to be done.
"We've got to come out and enjoy this time this week, reflect on what we've done," the coach said. "But we've also got to come back ready to go next week. If you don't take care of business from here on out, it's all for nothing."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen