Pederson Looks Prepared in the Opener
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - You might think the Gatorade bath after a Week 1 win in Washington was a bit much but there were some optics at play when Eagles special-teams star Kamu Grugier-Hill and inactive defensive end Steven Means decided to give head coach Doug Pederson a bath.
And they were aimed at Mike Lombardi, the former NFL GM who called Pederson the "least qualified" coach he's seen during his 30 years in and around the league.
"Look, the Eagles looked increasingly sloppy and unprepared as the 2016 season limped along," Lombardi charged. "That ain’t changing in ’17.”
The team that showed up Sunday certainly looked prepared and Grugier-Hill, whether cognizant or not, even used the word to punctuate that thought.
"Great job by Coach getting us ready and getting us prepared, and we're rolling now," the LB said when ESPN's Tim McManus caught up with him.
Pederson was appreciative of the gesture but has generally steered clear of the minefield Lombardi laid out for him by refusing to engage.
All division wins are big but this one meant a little more because the Eagles halted a five-game skid against Washington and finally solved their Kirk Cousins problem.
“It was something we were talking all week about," the coach admitted. "You know, we wanted to get the monkey off of our backs down here against the Redskins, particularly on the road. We didn’t do so well last year and all week we have been talking about it and talking about it."
Bigger than the win for Pederson may have been the support his players showed with the vultures outside circling.
“It’s everything I’ve been telling the [media]," Pederson said. "Just ask the players how they feel about me and just give this win to all those players in the locker room. They battled. They hung in there through adversity and they were able to pull through.”
Grugier-Hill was far more blunt.
"[The criticism is] all nonsense, honestly," he claimed. "He gets us prepared every week, he knows how to connect with us, he's been through it. I think personally he's a great coach. So whatever other people are saying, they can "F" off."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen