Weekend Reading: Pederson Shakes Up Offices
A collection of the latest, greatest Eagles-related reads, brought to you interruption-free for your enjoyment.
NFL.com’s Albert Breer writes about a re-organizing of the Eagles’ offices in the NovaCare Complex under Doug Pederson’s watch.
In Philly, there’s a spacious area connected to the head coach’s office that, during the Andy Reid years, was fashioned as a conference room and gathering spot for the staff, intentionally placed near the boss. In 2013, it was overhauled and served as offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur‘s quarters in the time since.
Long story short, new Eagles coach Doug Pederson is switching it back into a conference room.
The idea here is to reconnect the football operation in particular and the entire building in general, a task owner Jeffrey Lurie laid out as an important one to Pederson and other candidates during the interview process.
“I think he felt that was missing — the communication, an open-door policy — and it’s something I’m obviously willing to change and want to change, to try and make it the best working environment,” Pederson said in a quiet moment between practices in Mobile on Wednesday. “If we’re all together as a staff, it does bleed down to the team and affect that locker room.”
It’s time to acknowledge that time is running out for Jason Peters at left tackle, writes the Inquirer’s Bob Brookover.
“I can still play left tackle,” [Peters] said after the season finale against the New York Giants. “I’m the best we’ve got. Who’s better than me in this locker room? Nobody. Who can they draft better than me? Nobody. Who can they pick up better than me? Nobody.”
Defiance is a fine quality for a big man paid big money to protect the blindside of the most important player on a football team. Truth is, however, Peters’ worst game of the season was the Eagles’ most important one. Defensive end Preston Smith, who had three sacks in his first 15 games, registered three against Peters in Washington’s Week 16 win that decided this year’s NFC East race.
Maybe the Eagles can squeeze one more season out of Peters, who just turned 34 last week. But what’s the point if they’re not going to be Super Bowl contenders in 2016? A prudent philosophy in the business of professional sports is to get rid of a guy a year too early rather than a year too late.
The MMQB’s Peter King touches on the 49ers’ hiring of Chip Kelly, and why San Francisco’s front office might be better for Kelly than that of the Eagles.
“I talked to my most trusted agent, Tom Gamble, and I got the answers to every question I had,” said [Trent] Baalke. “All I had to do was ask Tom. That drove the decision-making process as much as anything. Actually, there’s some similarities with Chip’s situation [in Philadelphia] and what I’ve gone through here. You’re valued one way, say, three years ago, and now you’re valued a totally different way today [by the public and media].”
Baalke and Niners CEO Jed York spent five-and-a-half hours with Kelly at Kelly’s home in New Hampshire, where he’s from. “I like the person, and I like the coach,” Baalke said. “He’s passionate about learning more every day. He’s a strong leader, and I believe he’s an excellent communicator. I think Chip has an openness to collaborate. None of us has all the answers. Certainly I don’t. I think it’s going to work out.”
The key will be an open dialogue among the three men—Kelly, Gamble and Baalke—and the ability of Kelly to trust the personnel side of the building. It’s clear he didn’t trust [Howie] Roseman, and that led to the downfall of the great idea of hiring Kelly in Philadelphia.
According to former players, the Eagles’ new defensive line coach, Chris Wilson, is quite the character, writes PhillyVoice’s Jimmy Kempski.
Most defensive line coaches are crazy, from Jerry Azzinaro screaming “More violence!” at his players during practice, or Jim Washburn using language that would make Charles Manson blush. It seems that new Eagles defensive line coach Chris Wilson is no different.
“He’s one of the craziest coaches I know,” said OLB Jordan Jenkins, whose face lit up when Wilson’s name was mentioned during an interview with PhillyVoice at the Senior Bowl. “He just gets after it. His coaching style is that if you’re not playing up to par he’s going to let you know. He enjoys the game of football and loves pass rushing. He’s crazy.”
Jenkins played for Wilson at Georgia during his sophomore year in 2013, and while he didn’t technically play on the defensive line, he was often in on DL meetings. Jenkins attributed many of his pass rush techniques to Wilson, who has also coached top 12 overall picks in Gerald McCoy, Fletcher Cox, and Leonard Williams.
The New York Times’ Bill Pennington writes about former Giants safety Tyler Sash, dead at 27, who was found with C.T.E.
Cut by the Giants in 2013 after what was at least his fifth concussion, Sash had returned to Iowa and increasingly displayed surprising and irregular behavior, family members said this week. He was arrested in his hometown, Oskaloosa, for public intoxication after leading the police on a four-block chase with a motorized scooter, a pursuit that ended with Sash fleeing toward a wooded area.
Sash had bouts of confusion, memory loss and minor fits of temper. Although an Iowa sports celebrity, both as a Super Bowl-winning member of the Giants and a popular star athlete at the University of Iowa, Sash was unable to seek meaningful employment because he had difficulty focusing long enough to finish a job.
Barnetta Sash, Tyler’s mother, blamed much of her son’s changeable behavior, which she had not observed in the past, on the powerful prescription drugs he was taking for a football-related shoulder injury that needed surgery. Nonetheless, after his death she donated his brain to be tested for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or C.T.E., a degenerative brain disease caused by repeated trauma that has been found in dozens of former N.F.L. players.