Pederson Ditches Underdog Tag by Framing Focus
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The fans may have embraced the underdog tag here in Philadelphia but Doug Pederson already believes it's passe with the NFC Championship Game looming.
"I probably haven't used it as much," Pederson admitted at his final press conference before Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings. "I just think leading up to the divisional round [against Atlanta], I think that's what the guys had been hearing a lot, and we're sort of accustomed to it now. We're sort of used to it I guess."
The Eagles are indeed a 3-point underdog to the Vikings in Las Vegas' mind but plenty of experts are picking Philadelphia and the Vikings themselves have used the same kind of disrespect motivation through their own run toward Super Bowl LII.
That doesn't mean there won't be a number of dog masks at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday but Pederson himself isn't playing mash-ups of media members picking Minnesota this week.
With the George Halas Trophy on the line, the Eagles coach is back to preaching focus and "winning" each and every day in practice.
"The messaging is just we gotta focus on this game," Pederson explained. "We gotta focus on the Vikings, we gotta focus on our jobs and the scheme and the game plan and have good practices and win today. Doing the same things that got us to this spot, that's all we've been talking about."
With the weather breaking a bit the Eagles' took practice outdoors to the Linc on Friday to get the players used to a resodded playing surface.
"The field actually has been in really good shape," Pederson said. "[Eagles director of grounds] Tony Leonard, and the guys do a great job of maintaining that field over and with all the activities, the college games and all the different activities on that field. ... we've resodded a couple times already this year prior to the recent one. The field's in great shape for this time of year."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen