Ford: Eagles brass silent while Pederson explains Huff mess

Howie Roseman (left), the Eagles executive vice president of football operations, and owner Jeffrey Lurie left coach Doug Pederson to convey the team's view of wide receiver Josh Huff's arrest on gun and marijuana charges while driving over the Walt Whitman Bridge Tuesday.

After about a dozen questions at Doug Pederson's weekly Wednesday news conference, several things had been firmly established.

The coach was disappointed that receiver/returner Josh Huff had apparently not heard that the only places in the Philadelphia region where you absolutely do not speed are the four bridges patrolled by the Delaware River Port Authority, which really doesn't have a whole lot else to occupy its time.

"It's not what you want to see happen on a player day off," Pederson said.

Not only disappointed, Pederson said he was also angry "deep down," particularly since he has made a repeated point of telling the players to be smart away from the complex, and recently had Nigel Bradham serve as an example when the linebacker went through security at Miami International Airport having removed neither his shoes, his liquids nor the loaded handgun in his backpack.

"If you make poor choices in life, you're going to make poor choices on the football field," Pederson said. "If it's a constant thing, eventually you'll suffer the consequences."

Aside from the legal ramifications that could result from Tuesday's stop on the Walt Whitman Bridge, Huff's screw-up might also be the tipping point beyond which the Eagles organization can no longer just ignore this stuff. Eventually, as incidents pile up, the team has to either make a show of disapproval or be accused of a fundamental lack of discipline.

That remains to be seen. Pederson said the organization is still in fact-finding mode, although there seems to be a wealth of facts to weigh from both the police report and from Pederson's own chat with Huff. What the team is waiting to see is whether this might blow over by the next news cycle. Maybe Huff can finagle pretrial intervention to avoid possible jail time. Maybe he'll merely have to return kicks while wearing an ankle monitor.

Like most sports organizations that employ young millionaires who have been treated as stars since they were teenagers, the Eagles are realistic about their ability to control anything. It's more about damage control than real control, and if they have to suspend or cut someone in order to achieve the appearance of it, that's what they will do.

What is wrong, or looked wrong as Pederson worked his way through the questions about his disappointment, his level of disappointment, his plans for dealing with this disappointment, and the potential for future disappointment, was that the head coach was out there by himself. This was a time when someone higher up the food chain in the organization should have been speaking for owner Jeff Lurie, including perhaps Lurie himself.

Instead, the bosses were content to let the football coach fumble through the team's vague policies and fall back on the same he's-here-until-he's-not observation that Pederson employed while Lane Johnson was awaiting suspension. It would have been nice for someone who will be among the decision-makers for the organization's ultimate action - which is way above Pederson's pay grade - to be the one standing up on Wednesday, but it was just the coach dodging the repetitive body blows.

"Are we playing the Giants this week?" Pederson said. "Just wondering."

They are, and it will be Huff returning the opening kickoff if that's the way the coin flip turns out. He has one return for a touchdown this season and brought another back 53 yards against the Cowboys last Sunday. Of course, Wendell Smallwood also has a TD return and, like every other receiver, there's nothing special about Huff's contributions on offense. If he sees his situation clearly, he's expendable; if not this season, then very soon. It will cost the Eagles $705,000 in cash money to keep him for next year and a mere $139,000 in dead cap space to get rid of him.

That's a precarious spot for a player who has embarrassed the organization, and Huff can also look forward to more frequent "random" drug testing by the league now that he has attracted the eye of Sauron. As Pederson said, there are consequences for actions and Huff is only starting to feel those.

"I can't let this define me and it won't define me," Huff said, but tell that to Google, which will bring up the Driving While Dumb incident forever when you search his name.

Meanwhile, the Eagles top brass hides behind its own set of tinted windows. There's no telling what's going on in there, or whether there is a core belief that extends beyond damage control. On Wednesday, the bosses kept the windows rolled up and sent the football coach out to talk to the cops. They have the right to remain silent, I guess, but that doesn't make it right.