Doug Pederson’s future with the Philadelphia Eagles has been a heated topic of debate in recent weeks. There have been talks the owner might want to part ways with the Super Bowl-winning coach if the team misses the playoffs. There have also been reports of Pederson being frustrated and wanting to be fired.
Well, it seems as if all the rampant speculation has finally gotten back to Pederson’s ears. The fifth-year, visor-wearing leader of men felt the need to address the issue. On Tuesday, Pederson told the Associated Press he has no desire to leave Philadelphia and doubled down on his previous “laughable” claim that he wants to be dismissed.
“That is the furthest from the truth,” Pederson told Rob Maaddi. “I don’t want out of Philly. It is a great place to work. We have had a ton of success around here in my five years here. This is a down year for a lot of reasons, but we are still in the thick of it. It’s all about getting into the tournament.”
Getting into the tournament will be a tough task this year considering the 4-9-1 hole the team has dug for themselves. But it’s not impossible, especially not the way the NFC East has looked through 15 weeks. Anything is possible.
“Do we need help? Yeah, we need some help,” Pederson told reporters on Monday. “But we control — when I talked to the guys this past week, it’s we control sort of our destiny right now, and we’ve got to find a way to make it through these next couple of weeks.”
The Eagles have two games against division opponents left on their schedule: Dec. 27 versus the Dallas Cowboys, Jan. 3 versus the Washington Football Team. Win those and there is “light at the end of the tunnel.”
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Jake Elliott Taking Over Punting Duties?
Eagles punter Cameron Johnston left last week’s game with a head injury and remains in the league’s concussion protocol. There is a good chance the former Australian rules football player may not be available on Sunday. If so, the punting duties would go to struggling kicker Jake Elliott.
Elliot was forced to punt twice in Week 15 against the Arizona Cardinals and netted 38.5 yards per boot. Johnston, of course, is one of the best punters in the NFL with a 47.7 overall average, good for seventh-best in the league. Eagles special teams coordinator Dave Fipp praised Elliott’s fill-in job while revealing the kicker always gets a few practice punts in during practice every week.
“He’s just great at all that stuff. He’s got a lot of confidence,” Fipp told reporters on Tuesday, “and a lot of poise and nothing really seems to bother him a whole lot, which is why he’s a good kicker, too.”
New Starting Outside Cornerback?
The Eagles may have unexpectedly found a new starting cornerback to pair opposite Darius Slay on the outside. When Avonte Maddox was placed on injured reserve last week with a season-ending knee injury, it was unclear what the secondary would look like. Now the picture is getting a little bit clearer.
Michael Jacquet — a player already high on Pederson’s radar — made the most of his 68 defensive snaps (100%) and strongly stated a case to be the starter for the rest of the year. The undrafted rookie out of Louisiana-Lafayette finished with seven tackles, two pass breakups, one quarterback hit, one forced fumble, 0.5 sack.
Yes, DeAndre Hopkins had nine catches for 169 yards but the Pro Bowl receiver made some ridiculous one-handed catches on tough, contested balls. Jacquet battled him all day.
“You’re going to have to battle, particularly against great players. They’re going to win some, you’re going to win some,” defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said of Jacquet. “I think that’s been the thing I’ve been most impressed by him. He is also for a former wide receiver he’s played really tough. He hasn’t been shy about contact, getting into the mix, and has played with a lot of spirit. I’ve really been proud of him.”
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