With Training Camp (hopefully) a short few weeks away, it’s interesting to look back at just how much has changed for the Philadelphia Eagles. 2019 was a rollercoaster season for a team buried in ‘anonymous sources’, drama caused by former Cowboys, choked leads, and an injury crisis. Fighting through adversity has very much become a part of this team’s identity in recent years, but in a year where the whole world is now battling unique challenges, the team is trying to nullify as much noise as possible.
OTA’S may have been scrapped, but that didn’t stop Fletcher Cox from gathering most of his defensive line teammates for workouts. Carson Wentz carried out a similar plan for a group of young wide receivers not too long after pictures of Cox and the Eagles pass-rush emerged.
Head Coach Doug Pederson praised the intuitiveness of his leaders on the team in a recent press conference.
“I think it’s important. I love the fact that our veteran players, guys like Fletch [DT Fletcher Cox] and [QB] Carson [Wentz], Carson has done it in the past obviously but now in this time where we are trying to protect not only our players but our staff, as well. But at the same time, I think it’s important that they get together and they build team chemistry as a position group, whether it’s D-Line or receivers and get together like they are doing. I commend the guys for doing that and taking time.
One of the things, it’s been small groups, so they have been protected and that’s our goal, first and foremost, but it doesn’t go without saying that that’s a great way to start building chemistry, especially with the amount of young receivers that we have working with Carson.”
On top of that, Pederson implemented guest speeches from some very notable names during the team’s virtual OTA period. Hearing words and wisdom from some of the most recognizable names in the world of sports can only galvanize a team that had been fractured, pulled, and twisted in so many directions over the past 12 months.
“Just to get a sense and get a feel from these guys, Steve Kerr, Phil Jackson, CC Sabathia, Charles Barkley, Mike Trout, guys that have had a lot of not only success on and off the court or the diamond or the field, but also their struggles what they went through early in their careers. I think the message was resounding to our young players on how to be a professional, how to handle the spotlight and then what they have overcome in their careers to have success. I think that was so important to show it from these guys and have them come in and speak to the team.
And we just had a great time with them, and the guys, the messages I got from my team after they spoke was very positive and they loved it. The players loved it.
So something that we can continue to look at in the future.”
Just as things were beginning to settle and the Eagles looked primed to float seamlessly into Training Camp, TE Dallas Goedert was sucker-punched at a restaurant in South Dakota. The responses from his Eagles teammates spoke volumes.
Maybe it’s just because there’s so many emotions flowing through the world’s veins right now, but seeing an Eagles team sticking close together through a tough couple of month feels extra important. From the efforts of Jeffrey Lurie and Doug Pederson to communicate with their players and educate those less informed on the social injustices faced by the entire nation, to the statements issued by key white leaders such as Carson Wentz and Zach Ertz on that very topic, the Eagles seem to have each other’s backs in every possible way, and after several rocky seasons that contained questions of character for some, seeing such proactive approaches to really strengthening those bonds is extremely nice to see.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Liam is a 24-year old sports journalist from the UK and founder of the Philly Sports Network. In just five years he turned a hobby into one of the fastest-growing Philadelphia sports sites in the world, amassing 7,000,000 views and writing over 3,000 articles. Drawing attention from the likes of CSN, NJ.Com and Bleacher Report in the process, Liam is set on changing the way Philadelphia sports teams are reported on forever.
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