Coming back after a short break can be a little difficult in any strain of life. Whether it’s School, work or anything else, it’s almost hard not to turn up to your first day back a little lackadaisical. For the Eagles, they return to Training Camp as Super Bowl champions…but there’s no way that their Head Coach would allow them to be anything less than raring to go, embracing the target on their back.
After just one practice at the NovaCare Complex, a day in which the sun shined, the mood was relatively relaxed and the tempo was to the pacing of a 10/10/10 format, Pederson wasted no time in raising the bar.
“We do have to get better in all phases and we got to detail our work and hone into what we’re doing, “Xs” and “Os”, and just make sure that we’re attacking every single day we step out on the field.” The Super Bowl winning Head Coach told reporters on Thursday. “Like today, too many pre-snap penalties. Even though it was day one, there was a lot of pre-snap penalties. All phases – offense, defense, special teams. It’s an area we can get better at, something we’ve struggled with in the past.”
Rallying a roster of 88 men is no easy task, especially when some of the faces who were so instrumental in such a successful campaign are no longer on the team. Sustaining a winning culture is often the hardest hurdle a Coach will have to leap over, aside from breaking a losing one. As opposed to urging his players to lick their lips and embrace the underdog status bestowed upon them by the media, Pederson is painting a big red ‘X’ on the back of the franchise and simply telling his hungry dogs to run faster.
“Obviously we need to embrace winning, embrace the success.” He exclaimed. “We need to learn from it. We need to get better as a football team. We got to focus on one day at a time. Training camp is long. We’re building this thing one day at a time. We’re building to the start of the season. The players and coaches have to embrace it, kind of own up to it, you know, that we’re going to get everybody’s best each week and it’s going to start in a few weeks with the first pre-season game.”
However one thing that has always remained vibrant in Pederson’s culture is learning to run before you can walk. Focusing on the immediate task at hand has always taken a priority over worrying about long-term consequences of a potential loss, or adding any unnecessary weight by factoring in circumstances beyond the team’s control. While the expectation for himself and his players is a repeat of last season, the mentality also remains identical.
“The goal is to obviously win another one and to win another one and to win another one.” Pederson said. “I mean, that’s why we get into this business. That’s the motivation. But listen, I’m not going to focus on the end result. I’m focusing on today. We’re going to get better today, and then we’ll worry about tomorrow. Obviously, the ultimate goal is to try to win again. We know how hard that is in this league. A lot of good football teams in this league. We’ve got our work cut out for us.”
As battles form across the roster, pressures begin to build and the sound of thudding pads carries through the air once again, it’s only a matter of time before Pederson’s notoriously rigorous Training Camp begins to show its true colors for the third consecutive year. Competition will be at an all-time high, the intensity will be felt heavier than ever before and the expectation will not waiver one bit.
The Eagles may be coming into this season as the defending Super Bowl Champions, the grandest of honors and largest of accomplishments…but just because the chapter is finished, it doesn’t mean the story has to end. A new chapter is just beginning and Doug Pederson is intent on ensuring it’s one even more emphatic than the last.
Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports