‘Next Man Up’: Eagles Coach Challenges Cowboys, Name Drops Nick Foles

Dak Prescott

Getty Dak Prescott

The Philadelphia Eagles were sitting in first place in the NFC East before Dak Prescott gruesomely twisted his ankle and ended his contract year. Look, a 6-9-1 record may still win the division but no one wants to see that.

Prescott’s injury opens up opportunities for even worse teams — and the Andy Dalton-led Cowboys are as bad as they come — to steal the division crown. Be that as it may, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is playing nice in the easiest sand box in the NFC.

“Injuries are a part of the game. But these types of injuries, where he could miss, obviously the remainder of the season, multiple weeks for sure, it’s terrible,” Pederson said of Prescott. “And having gone through it with our quarterback, with Carson [Wentz] and Dallas is in that same boat now, it’s the next-man-up mentality. They will rally and be behind Dalton and get him prepared and ready to go, just like we did with Nick Foles back a few years ago.”

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Pederson Channels Bill Belichick and Patriots

Maybe the pressure is getting to Pederson, right? The same guy who conquered Bill Belichick — and avoided his pregame walk-through — is now quoting (arguably) the greatest coach in history.

When asked about the Eagles position in the highly uncompetitive NFC East, Pederson said:

“Listen, I don’t care about the rest of the league. I care about the Philadelphia Eagles,” Pederson said. “Our division, what are we, still a half game back? Look, it is what it is. I’m going to pull out my inner Bill Belichick and say I’m focused on Baltimore.”

The Eagles play the high-powered Baltimore Ravens this week. Ravens coach John Harbaugh is a Andy Reid disciple with one Super Bowl ring under his belt.

Jim Schwartz Under Fire in Philadelphia?

The fan base has had enough of Jim Schwartz in Philadelphia. That’s not up for debate. But the organization loves him, although Pederson seemed to throw the blame for Sunday’s loss on the embattled defensive coordinator.

“It was the coverage, it was the defense that was called, it was an empty formation,” Pederson said. “It’s no different when offensively, we go empty, I give Carson the play and then Carson audibles or checks to something, whether it may be a quick slant to Greg Ward or to Miles [Sanders]. He’s understanding the leverage of the defense and the matchup that he likes and so that was the case at the end of the game.”

Obviously the Eagles head coach tried to deflect the brain fart from Schwartz — the one where he left Nate Gerry matched up on Chase Claypool — but the implication was clear. Do better or you’re gone.

“So listen, it’s, again, it’s all about them making a play and recognizing the defense and making a play,” Pederson said. “I mean, we sit here today and go, okay, yeah, call a different defense. Okay, yeah, do this, do that, and it’s — it is what it is — they made a play.”

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