In the aftermath of the tank that forever ruined “the integrity” of football and the venerable Philadelphia Eagles organization, there was a lot of talk about culture, and how the players themselves felt about the Washington loss.
Would there be fractured relationships with Doug Pederson and the coaching staff? Did Doug lose the locker room or disrespect his guys by not putting them in a position to win?
Seems like there might be some truth to that, since a couple of players are now piping up and saying things like this:
Miles Sanders on @SportsRadioWIP on Jalen Hurts sitting" "Man if I'm being honest, nobody liked the decision, nobody. That's all I can say really. I don't know who was the main person behind that decision. All I know is that a lot of people on the team was confused." #Eagles
— John McMullen (@JFMcMullen) January 5, 2021
If that ain’t your mentality to win them all then what you playing for ?
— #KMasterLock™$$ (@KVonWallace) January 5, 2021
First things first, Miles Sanders didn’t even play in this game. If the matchup meant something, he and the nine other inactives would have been on the field gutting it out and playing through pain, but because the game did not mean anything, the Eagles decided to deactivate them to protect their health as they looked forward to next season instead.
Surely Sanders understands this right? Eagles players can’t be this dense, can they?
Everybody knows you’re competitors and that you want to go out and play hard and win. We admire and respect that, and we wouldn’t expect anything otherwise.
But there’s a very obvious reason why the Eagles essentially rolled out the B team and then pulled the quarterback in the second half. Because they were looking to improve their draft stock and via losing the game.
Kyle Neubeck pretty much nails it here:
Two separate ideas here:
Players being angry at a chance to compete/win being undercut is not just understandable, but undeniably a good thing.
Not understanding the decision in spite of the very clear message that was sent by resting so many guys is, at best, pretty naive
— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) January 5, 2021
I’ll take it a step further by saying that this miniature revolt is pitiful. You, the players, went out and won four games this year. You were still in playoff contention in week 16 despite having a losing record. You had every chance in the world to play hard, compete, and win the worst division in football. And now, after that pathetic on-field display that fans sat and watched week-in and week-out, you have the audacity to complain openly about the franchise improving their draft position and looking at this situation in a pragmatic and macro kind of way?
Obviously Doug fell short here in the communication department. It’s less about the decision to tank, and more about how the Eagles went about it. In hindsight, he should have pulled Jalen Hurts at halftime and put in Nate Sudfeld right then and there. Then it would have been less obvious and slightly more palatable. They wouldn’t be in the situation they currently find themselves in.
But make no mistake; the Eagles are in this position because everybody stunk up the joint in 2020. The general manager did a bad job. The coaches did a bad job. The players did a bad job. After turning in a season like that, these guys should just be thankful to have NFL gigs after delivering that ridiculous on-field product. You don’t have the right to complain about anything after gracing Eagles fans with seventeen weeks of total slop.