Doug Pederson

QB Notes: Wentz, Rudolph, Darnold, Carr

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz struggled once again in Philadelphia’s 17-9 loss to the Seahawks. Wentz received a x-ray on his right hand during the second half of the game, but would not blame his poor play on the injury, according to Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk. In his postgame press conference, when asked if the injury affected his play, he said, “I don’t think it did.” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson clarified that the x-rays were negative, but Wentz would go through further tests.

Whether the injury played a role or not, Philadelphia needs to find an answer for their offensive woes. Wentz made a number of poor decisions, but two passes to open receivers in the flat that sailed well out of reach were especially emblematic of his problems. The Eagles are now 5-6 on the season, but have a vital stretch of their schedule against Miami, New York, and Washington. It will be crucial for their playoff chances to come out victorious against three of the weakest teams in the league.

Check out some other notes on quarterbacks around the league:

  • After being benched in the Steelers 16-10 win over the Bengals, quarterback Mason Rudolph addressed allegations from Browns defensive end Myles Garrett that Rudolph used a racial slur last week on Thursday Night Football. Rudolph adamantly denied the claims with reporters after the game, writes Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “I couldn’t believe it and I couldn’t believe that he would go that route after the fact. But it is what it is and I think I’ve moved on. One day it was tough, but moved on. We’re good to go now.” Rudolph reiterated the claims were “totally untrue” and when asked if he said anything that could have been construed in a racist way he said, ““Absolutely not.’’
  • Young quarterback Sam Darnold was criticized a few weeks ago for talking about the playoffs with half the season remaining, but the young Jets gunslinger is showing progress dealing with the media, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN. Darnold mentioned that the playoffs were in the back of his mind after 34-3 blowout win against the Raiders, but quickly made clear that he is taking the season one game at a time. This season has definitely been a roller coaster for Darnold who is still looking to string a few strong games together after missing the start of the season dealing with mononucleosis.
  • Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was benched amidst a blowout loss to the Jets by head coach Jon Gruden. The move is not meant to create any controversy at the position, however. Carr was removed alongside other important players in Oakland’s rotation to protect them from injury down 31 in the third quarter. Still, Gruden acknowledged the difficulty decision talking with reporters after the game, according to Jerry McDonald of The Mercury News. “I didn’t want to take him out, but doing what I think is right and I’m sure I’ll be second-guessed for that but I think I’m doing what’s right for our football team.”

East Notes: Eagles, Sproles, Dolphins, Redskins

The Eagles will have plenty of roster decisions to make heading into the 2019 season. Two of the names at the top of the list include veteran running Darren Sproles and oft-injured linebacker Jordan Hicks, Zack Rosenblatt of NJ.com writes.

After originally declaring this as his final season, Sproles has looked like a vintage version of himself, leading many to wonder if he would come back for his 15th NFL season. One person who would love to have the pass-catching back return is Eagles head coach Doug Pederson.

“I think Darren Sproles would be a great addition” for 2019, Pederson said. “He’s a great leader. he works hard, he’s a great mentor to a lot of young players. I think anybody would love to have a Darren Sproles. I mean, I would.”

He didn’t offer the same ringing endorsement for Hicks. Despite being a noted playmaker who ranks third on the team in tackles in 2018, the Texas Longhorns product has missed 21 games in his first four seasons, including four this season.

“I’ll worry about the roster in the spring when I get to the spring,” Pederson said. “Jordan’s been a big part of our success here and he helped us win the game last week and he’ll help us win another on Sunday.”

Here’s more from around the East:

  • Sticking with the Eagles, thanks once again to Nick Foles, the team is currently in the fight for the last playoff spot in the NFC. Should they make it, there will undoubtedly be a contingent of fans hoping Philly will bring back the veteran in 2019. However, that is unlikely to happen, writes Sports Illustrated’s Andrew Brandt. With Foles on the books for $20MM next year, it is much more likely the Eagles do not exercise his option and make him a free agent. If he goes on another magical run in January, however, every option has to be on the table.
  • Dolphins vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum is not expected back with the team in 2019, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald writes. The move would end his four-year run with the team. Head coach Adam Gase is expected to be retained. Salguero also has heard a few of the names as possible replacements include Dan Marino and Dawn Aponte.
  • Following the release of D.J. Swearinger, one of the Redskins’ top needs this season has quickly become safety, Ben Standig of NBC Sports writes. Coupled with the potential departure of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the Redskins would be down both of their safeties heading into 2019. Should they address the issue in the draft, the team could target Alabama’s Deionte Thompson or Virginia’s Juan Thornhill, two of the top-ranked prospects at free and strong safety, respectively.

Eagles Extend Roseman, Pederson

In two years as a decision-making duo, Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson lifted the Eagles to never-before-seen heights. And ownership wants no part of a near-future breakup.

The Eagles extended both the GM and their third-year head coach on Sunday, with these new deals running through the 2022 season.

We are thrilled to solidify continuity in our organization’s leadership with the extensions of Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman, whose collaborative partnership helped deliver our city its first Super Bowl championship,” Eagles Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie said. “Doug and Howie are committed to the success of our franchise by ensuring that we remain competitive, both in the short and long term. That unified vision for the future of our team is what gives us the best chance to win moving forward.”

Pederson’s initial Eagles contract ran through the 2020 season, and the team picked up the HC’s fifth-year option recently (per Jeff McLane of Philly.com, on Twitter). So it’s not a big surprise to see the franchise extend that for two more years. In his second season as a head coach, Pederson guided Philadelphia to its first Super Bowl championship and first NFL title since 1960. And he did so after the team’s starting quarterback was lost for the season in December.

Roseman’s path may be even more stunning. Demoted in 2015 in order to give Chip Kelly decision-making power, Roseman returned in 2016 and set out to fortify the team’s core with a slew of extensions that year. That helped lead to the Eagles’ Super Bowl run, and Roseman’s 2016 deal to move into position to draft Carson Wentz has the franchise set up long-term at sports’ premier position. Roseman earned multiple executive of the year honors for his 2017 work.

Pederson, 50, rejoined the Eagles after three years as Andy Reid‘s offensive coordinator with the Chiefs. And after a 7-9 season in Wentz’s rookie year, the Eagles stormed to the NFC’s No. 1 seed and notched three upset (by point spread) victories to secure the Super Bowl LII championship. Roseman, 43, has been with the Eagles since 2000 as a salary cap staffer. He ascended to the GM role in 2010 and was reinstated in that position after Kelly’s ouster late in 2015.

With Wentz back and Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles serving as the NFL’s top insurance policy, Roseman and Pederson have the Eagles positioned as a top threat to become the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls since the 2003-04 Patriots.

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Eagles Pick Up Doug Pederson’s Option

The Eagles picked up an option in coach Doug Pederson‘s contract after the team’s Super Bowl win, sources tell Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). Peterson’s original four-year deal had him signed through 2019, but he’ll now be in place through the 2020 campaign. 

The Eagles hired Pederson in 2016 to replace polarizing coach Chip Kelly. After going 7-9 in his first season at the helm, the Eagles went 13-3 in 2017 before winning their first Super Bowl in franchise history. Thanks in part to Pederson’s offensive acumen and his ability to mold quarterbacks, the Eagles did not miss a beat even after losing Carson Wentz to a torn ACL in Week 14.

Coming to Philadelphia after at three-year run as Andy Reid‘s OC in Kansas City, Pederson helped craft a dominant Eagles season that peaked with one of the most unique playoff runs in NFL history.

After the Eagles finished the regular season as the league’s No. 7 offense (and No. 4 defense), Pederson helped to cater his offense to the talents of backup Nick Foles. And that helped produce three postseason upsets en route to the Super Bowl title.

Philly is now entrenched as one of the league’s elite teams and will be one of the favorites to win Super Bowl LIII. So, it could have been viewed as a given the Eagles would make arrangements to keep Pederson around via this contract option.

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Seahawks Targeting John DeFilippo As OC

Earlier this week, SI.com’s Albert Breer reported Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo is set to be a coaching free agent and could be a candidate for an OC job should he not become the Cardinals’ head coach.

The Seahawks are interested in DeFilippo to succeed Darrell Bevell as OC, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, adding he will join Brian Schottenheimer as a sought-after interviewee for Seattle — should the Eagles lose to the Falcons today.

The Eagles prevented their QBs coach from speaking with the Jets about their OC job last year, with Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reporting Jeffrey Lurie overruled Doug Pederson‘s decision to let DeFilippo do so, but can no longer block him from interviews going forward. Seattle has interest in Schottenheimer but has yet to set up any interviews with candidates. This is the first time in seven years the Seahawks have had an OC vacancy.

DeFilippo played a key role in Carson Wentz rocketing from Division I-FCS product to one-time MVP frontrunner. The Seahawks, who are the first team to have reported interest in the soon-to-be 40-year-old coach as a coordinator, have a franchise quarterback but struggled offensively this season. Seattle had the league’s No. 13-ranked scoring offense this season — its lowest finish since 2010.

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FO/Staff Notes: McDaniels, Lurie, Shanahan

Earlier this week, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels pulled himself out of the race to become San Francisco’s head coach. It turns out he might be content to remain an assistant in New England until head coach Bill Belichick retires, at which point he would potentially take over, says Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). There are no indications the 64-year-old Belichick is pondering retirement, however, and Cole adds that McDaniels could leave the Pats after next season if either Tennessee or Detroit fires its head coach. McDaniels’ goal is to work with a general manager with “strong personnel skills,” per Cole, and he’s familiar with both Titans GM Jon Robinson and the Lions’ Bob Quinn. Those two were longtime members of New England’s front office before departing for their current jobs last offseason.

Elsewhere around the NFL…

  • Since the Eagles brought an end to the Chip Kelly era late in 2015, owner Jeffrey Lurie has taken on a more active role with the franchise, league sources told Tim McManus of ESPN.com. For instance, it was Lurie who pushed to re-sign quarterback Sam Bradford last offseason and Lurie who denied the Jets permission to interview quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo for their offensive coordinator vacancy earlier this month. One reason for Lurie’s involvement is head coach Doug Pederson‘s inexperience. Pederson, who’s fresh off his first season as a sideline leader, told reporters in December that he had weekly meetings – “very positive” ones, he added – with Lurie and de facto GM Howie Roseman.
  • The Falcons probably won’t let offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan take any of their position coaches with him if he accepts the 49ers’ head coaching job, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com hears (Twitter link). Maiocco reported Wednesday that Falcons secondary coach Marquand Manuel was a candidate to become Shanahan’s defensive coordinator in San Francisco, but that now appears unlikely.
  • The Jaguars are set to hire Jason Rebrovich as their assistant defensive line coach, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN. Jacksonville will be Rebrovich’s third stop under head coach Doug Marrone. He previously served on Marrone-led staffs at Syracuse and in Buffalo.
  • The Colts will not bring back wide receivers coach Lee Hull next season, relays Caplan (Twitter link). The ex-college coach lasted only one year in Indianapolis.

Eagles Will Keep Pederson, Roseman

The Rams, 49ers, Jaguars, Chargers, Bills, and Broncos are all in search of their next head coach. The Eagles won’t create a seventh NFL head coaching vacancy this offseason. The Eagles will retain coach Doug Pederson as well as executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman and vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas, according to a team source who spoke with Zach Berman of the Philadelphia InquirerDoug Pederson (vertical)

[RELATED: Darren Sproles Likely To Retire Following 2017 Season]

Although the Eagles were hoping to do better than 7-9 this year, few expected the team to fire Pederson after just one year at the helm. Roseman only recently wrestled back control of the front office after the Chip Kelly ouster and there wasn’t much talk of him getting the boot either. Roseman has been with the organization since 2000 and has a strong relationship with team owners. Of course, the return of Pederson, Roseman, and Douglas doesn’t mean that there won’t be other changes made.

I’m going to evaluate everything,” Pederson said recently when asked about potential staff changes. “Obviously right now, nothing, but we’re just going to get into the offseason and we’re going to take some time to evaluate, but I don’t anticipate anything.”

The Eagles’ first-round pick (No. 12) is owned by the Browns. However, they’ll be picking at either No. 14 or No. 15 thanks to the pick they acquired from the Vikings in the Sam Bradford trade.

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Eagles’ Pederson Denies WR Trade Interest

Will the Eagles make a move for a wide receiver between now and the November trade deadline? Despite rumors linking them to Torrey Smith of the 49ers, coach Doug Pederson says that no such deal is brewing. Doug Pederson (vertical)

I’m happy with the guys we have,” Pederson told reporters moments ago (Twitter link via Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com).

Pederson went on to say that he is happy with the group of receivers that he already has. That group is anchored by Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, and Josh Huff with support from offseason trade acquisition Dorial Green-Beckham and waiver pickup Bryce Treggs. That may not be the most talented WR bunch in the NFL, but the Eagles might not need to tinker with things too much as they stand at 4-2. It’s also worth mentioning that both of the Eagles’ losses were tightly contested games. They fell 24-23 to the Lions and 27-20 to the Redskins. Meanwhile, they have notable wins over the Steelers and Vikings.

If Pederson opts to make changes to his receiver group, he could also turn to practice squad WRs Byron Marshall, Paul Turner, and David Watford.

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NFC Notes: Wentz, Johnson, Palmer, Giants

Further illustrating the Eagles‘ belief in Carson Wentz and their motivation to make the seminal trade with the Browns in April, new Philadelphia OC Frank Reich offered some high-end comparisons for the No. 2 overall pick.

Physically, he reminds me a little bit of a combination of Andrew Luck — though, I’ve never played with him — just watching him play, but a guy that I did play with in Jim Kelly, the size, strength and just the toughness,” Reich said, via Matt Lombardo of NJ.com.

Wentz ran a tenth of a second slower in the 40-yard dash compared to Luck coming out of college (4.77 seconds to 4.67), but the quarterbacks are similar in size — both 6-foot-5 and around 235 pounds. The younger player will attempt to build on his breakthrough debut, one executed despite scant preseason reps and the anticipation he’d be the third-string passer.

Here’s more on Wentz’s potential rise and on some other NFC teams.

  • The Eagles trading Sam Bradford to the Vikings opened the door not only for Wentz to receive an early start on Sundays, but it cleared a path toward endless practice reps instead of a short-term future as Philly’s third-stringer, Jeff McLane of Philly.com writes. Reich told media, including McLane, there was “no question” the additional practice work would accelerate Wentz’s development compared to a season spent behind Bradford and Chase Daniel. Per McLane, Wentz did not speak up much in quarterback meetings while he was the No. 3 quarterback, instead deferring to the veterans. Daniel functions as the scout-team quarterback, and the meetings are geared around a Wentz-conducted offense.
  • Doug Pederson expected to hear something on Lane Johnson‘s lingering suspension by now, Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com notes, but the league has yet to announce the expected 10-game ban. “You would think you would have heard something by now,” Pederson said. “If it does happen down the road, it just pushes everything back. Me personally, I’d rather know now than later. But until then, [Johnson] is the guy.” Pederson said Stefen Wisniewski would play left guard after current starter Allen Barbre swings to right tackle in the event Johnson’s ruling comes down. Wisniewski usurped Isaac Seumalo as the next guard up since the Eagles initially announced their Johnson contingency plan.
  • Earlier today, a potential Panthers plot to select Blaine Gabbert No. 1 overall emerged in advance of Sunday’s Panthers-49ers game. The Buccaneers‘ Week 2 opponent, the Cardinals, also employ a quarterback who will face a team that pursued him years ago. The Bucs attempted to trade for Palmer in 2013, but refusing to push then-starter Josh Freeman to a backup role did not make it an enticing fit for the then-Raiders quarterback as he looked for a team and a long-term deal, Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times writes, analyzing what could have been in advance of Sunday’s tilt. The Bucs joined the Cardinals and Bills in making a push for a then-33-year-old Palmer’s services. Then-Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano wasn’t enamored with Freeman, but the organization did not want to give up on the former first-round pick by automatically making Palmer a starter. Freeman lasted just three games into the ’13 season before being released.
  • The Giants worked out four linebackers on Saturday after cutting Deontae Skinner from their practice squad. Cassanova McKinzy, Deiontrez Mount, Eric Pinkins and Myke Tavarres worked out for the team, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports.

Eagles Seeking Help At Linebacker

After losing promising seventh-round rookie Joe Walker to a torn ACL sustained during Thursday night’s second preseason tilt, the Eagles are indeed in the market for veteran linebacking help, Doug Pederson said Saturday (via Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer, on Twitter).

With Berman categorizing ex-UDFA Don Cherry as the team’s top backup linebacker, the Eagles could certainly use extra talent here to play behind starters Mychal Kendricks, Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham, the latter of which could be facing a personal-conduct suspension for an off-the-field incident in July.

Nothing has emerged on the Stephen Tulloch front, except that he’s not willing to take a deal too close to the veteran minimum. At least, that’s the word that’s coming out of Miami.

Two weeks ago, the Eagles were said to be in heavy negotiations with the former Lions middle linebacker and longtime Jim Schwartz charge. But those talks evidently did not progress to the 31-year-old middle linebacker’s liking. Tulloch was not interested, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, in taking a low-cost deal with the Dolphins. Philly’s depth problems could force the team to up its ante for a player who’s familiar with Schwartz’s system.

As Roster Resource shows, the Eagles’ competition for second-team slots is comprised of multiple UDFAs — Quentin Gause and Myke Tavarres — along with former Patriots reserve Deontae Skinner and ex-waiver claim Najee Goode. The non-rush linebacker market beyond Tulloch is pretty slim presently, with Danny Lansanah — whom the Dolphins signed then quickly cut earlier this month — residing as one of the better options. Entering what would be his seventh season, O’Brien Schofield also resides on the unemployment line.

Considering the Eagles were already pursuing a veteran linebacker before Walker went down, it looks likely they’ll add one in the coming days. Their cap is projected to be close to saturated in 2017 due to the bevy of extensions the team doled out this year, but Philadelphia currently possesses $6.6MM in cap room — plenty to lure a late defensive replacement.

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