Yes, he’s the only coach in Eagles history to win a Super Bowl. And the statue of him and Nick Foles calling the “Philly Special” will remain outside Lincoln Financial Field. But Foles is gone, and Doug Pederson must follow him out the door.
It appears the team, to a man, was upset with Pederson’s decision to bench rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts in favor of Nate Sudfeld in the fourth quarter of the Eagles’ 20-14 loss to the Washington Football Team. While Eagles Twitter was heavily on the side of “who gives a fuck about the Giants, go cry some more,” Eagles Twitter doesn’t matter. The fact that the Giants’ playoff chances were on the line doesn’t really matter either; it’s hard to feel sorry for a 6-10 team not making the playoffs.
But the feelings of the players matter. The idea that you want to give Sudfeld a look is laughable. Sudfeld is a marginal talent at best, and he’s been with the team for four years. Pederson and his coaches get to see him every day. If they can’t properly evaluate him, they’re not very good coaches.
Moreover, NFL games are not tryouts. Bill Parcells said as much in the 2004 season, when Cowboys fans and media were clamoring for Drew Henson to get a shot over Vinny Testaverde.
“We are trying to win here. We are not running a tryout camp,” Parcells said. “It’s as simple as that. (Testaverde) gives us a better chance to win the game. That is what I am trying to do.”
Parcells is a cranky old blowhard, who was at his crankiest, blowhardiest in that 2004 season. But he was right. As Herm Edwards famously said, “You play to win the game!... Hello!” Forget draft position, the difference between picking sixth and seventh isn’t worth not giving your guys the chance to win. Trevor Lawrence isn’t on the line here.
For the guys in the Eagles’ locker room, this is nothing short of betrayal. Multiple players attempted to confront Pederson on the sideline. according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Some were angry. Two defensive players had to be held back from approaching Pederson. Center Jason Kelce and another offensive starter went to the coach to ask him why he had pulled the starting quarterback with the Eagles trailing by only three.
Hurts was distraught, as well. Even though he had been told Wednesday that there was a chance Sudfeld could play, he couldn’t understand why Pederson would make the switch, sources close to the situation said.
The NBC broadcast caught Hurts on the bench after he was replaced apparently saying, ‘That’s not right.’
Hurts is a rookie who flashed signs of brilliance, but also had inconsistency and accuracy issues. Isn’t it more important to give him a shot to win a close game against a tough defense playing for its season? When your rookie quarterback is questioning you, when a veteran leader like Kelce doesn’t have faith in your decision, well you’ve lost the team.
Pack your bags, Doug. Thanks for the Super Bowl.