Monday, September 11, 2017

Eagles win one for Doug

Forget the Gipper.

The Eagles yesterday won one for Doug.

That would be their head coach, Doug Pederson.

You might remember that Pederson was torched last week by former NFL GM Mike Lombardi, who unloaded both barrels on Pederson as the least qualified head coach in the NFL.

Pederson did not return fire, low-keying the whole thing in a perfect fit for his personality.

But those scorching words were not lost in the Eagles locker room, where some even wondered if maybe they were connected to defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, a one-time Lombardi protege who some see as lying in wait for Pederson's job.

In the meantime, the Eagles went out and scorched the Redskins in the season opener, 30-17.

In a show of support, several Birds offered their head coach a Gatorade shower after the win, something that usually accompanies a bit bigger game than simple an opening day win.

But the message was clear.

The team stands behind Pederson.

As for the game, it reinforced several things we already knew.

Carson Wentz is very good, especially when he's improvising. And with this offensive line, it seems he's going to be improvising a lot. The line is a mess, much as it appeared for the bulk of the pre-season. Adding a little fuel to the fire is a groin injury that shelved left tackle Jason Peters for much of the second half.

On the other side of the ball, everyone figured the Eagles were going to be good.

They were very good. Led by defensive end Brandon Graham, who spent most of the day in Kirk Cousins' face, they dominated the game, forcing four turnovers.

Unfortunately, they lost newly acquired cornerback Ronald Darby to a nasty looking ankle injury. How long he will be out has not yet been determined.

Wentz went 26 of 39 for 307 yards. Nelson Agholor showed signs of life.

Basically, this game reinforced everything we saw in the preseason. Wentz can be very good, but still seems a bit klunky on routine throws from the pocket. The offensive line needs major work. The defensive line and linebacking units are studs, while questions again hover over the secondary.

But they're 1-0.

So is Doug Pederson.

Take that, Mike Lombardi.

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