They say Football is a game of inches and that saying was never more prevalent than during the NFL divisional round. The Philadelphia Eagles stormed into the Mercedes Benz Superdome, battered, bruised, and high on confidence after overthrowing the Chicago Bears in memorable fashion. They left with a defeat in a game that went down to the wire and ultimately slipped away.
Needless to say, the lasting image of Alshon Jeffery lying on the turf, while Marshon Lattimore sprinted away with the ball in his hands, left a sour taste in the mouths of the Eagles. Next season they want to get rid of it.
“I kind of mentioned I think the other day that these guys were disappointed in how our season ended.” Doug Pederson said on Wednesday. “They felt like we were really kind of catching our stride again late in the year. Disappointed on how we finished our season so close to potentially moving on and being in the NFC championship game.
It was unfortunate we lost that game. I think it resonates with players, and that was my message at the end of the season when we sat here in January was: We have to remember these moments, remember these times, because that’s what’s going to make us stronger in the future.
I’ve seen that excitement and that chip, so to speak, on the guys’ shoulders, and they’re working hard. They’re all building towards the regular season.
Now, it’s a long season; we understand that. One-game-at-a-time mentality. But there is a little different vibe with the guys this off-season that’s been very positive.”
Mandatory Minicamp comes to a close on Thursday and then comes the calm before the Training Camp storm. One last chance to rest and prepare for what could be the most intense Summer of the Doug Pederson era.
Last season was a grueling one for the Eagles. Philadelphia had a total of 39 players appear on the injury report last season. Thirty. Nine. While several of those are still rehabbing and recovering from the injuries sustained, the Eagles Head Coach also spoke about a different kind of energy that’s noticeable in the spring portion of the offseason.
“Guys came back in relatively good shape in April and they’ve worked hard and you’re seeing kind of the fruits of their labor the entire nine, ten weeks we’ve been together.” Pederson explained. The extra time helps, obviously. It refreshes mind, body, and soul as coaches and players. There is that renewed energy you’re seeing at this time.
In comparison to last offseason, one that was subtly shortened due to the team’s first ever Super Bowl victory, the Eagles have had time to catch their breaths and reflect on what was a title defense that just didn’t end the way anybody envisioned. But without the target on their backs, the Eagles are once again looking to prove everybody wrong. To assert themselves back in all of the major conversations. That starts in the Spring…and if you thought the Eagles were a team worthy of fearing last year, so long as they can maintain that gritty energy and allow that chip on their shoulder to manifest, there’s a very good chance this group will give opposing coaches night terrors.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports