Out of Mulligans, Eagles Move Forward with No Margin for Error
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Last week Doug Pederson's messaging wasn't heard by the Eagles and the result was a setback at the hands of the talent-deficient Miami Dolphins. This week that's no longer an option with the equally dismal New York Giants set for Lincoln Financial Field on "Monday Night Football."
The Eagles can [almost] officially say there is no more margin for error in their 2019 season.
“The main message is, we’re in a must-win situation," Pederson said Thursday. “We know that. For me, I’ve got to stay the course. I’ve got to stay transparent. I’ve got to stay as honest as I can with the team."
The Eagles have lost three consecutive games and stand at 5-7 on the season, a game back of first-place Dallas in what is shaping up as a historically bad NFC East. The Cowboys kick off the week by visiting the Chicago Bears on Thursday night.
Philadelphia was in a similar position last season before a late-season run resulted in a playoff berth and ultimately a wild-card weekend win over the Bears before a divisional round setback at New Orleans.
To accomplish something similar this time around the Eagles need to pull an Aaron Rodgers and run the table -- against the NYG, at Washington, vs. Dallas and at the Giants -- in Week 17. That's the only path that guarantees certainty for Philadelphia and getting there starts with the coach and his staff, according to Pederson.
“We’re responsible for how our players play," he said. “And that starts with me. So I hold my coaches accountable first, and then it goes down to the players."
Too often neither side of that equation has held up to the harsh eye of accountability and the mulligans have all been used up.
Despite that Pederson still believes that sense of urgency will trickle down from himself and his coaching staff to the veteran leaders and then the rest of the locker room.
"I can just sense and feel the energy of the group," the coach claimed. "Listen, we're all disappointed and we're all sick to our stomach, but they also understand we have done this to ourselves obviously and they're ready to go back to work. I sensed that yesterday and I sensed it again today. And of course, again, it's my job to -- I have to bring that energy, bring that juice, so that they can see me in that light, and then that's what spreads out through the rest of the team."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen