Good morning, Eagles fans. This is a day many of you have anticipated for decades: An Eagles parade up Broad Street. The Eagles will start their parade at Broad Street and Pattison Ave. at 11 a.m. They’ll make it to the Art Museum two hours later for a 1 p.m. ceremony. You’ll find comprehensive coverage on Philly.com and in The Inquirer and Daily News.
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— Zach Berman
Sounds like Jason Peters will be be back at left tackle in 2018
Jason Peters wants to continue playing next season. Doug Pederson believes he can still play. And the way it sounded Wednesday, Pederson plans to have Peters at left tackle for the Eagles for the 10th consecutive season. (He missed all of 2012 because of injury, though.)
“He’s a Pro Bowl left tackle,” Pederson said. “Guys like that, in my opinion, in my humble opinion, they can go out when they want to go out. I respect him and what he’s done and how he’s working right now through injury. If you had to hold a gun to my head, I’d say, ‘Yeah, he’s my starting left tackle.’”
Peters, 36, is recovering from a torn ACL and MCL suffered in October. He will count $10.667 million against the salary cap next season, so unless the Eagles renegotiated his contract, they must be confident that he’ll be healthy in time for next season. The Eagles won a Super Bowl with Halapoulivaati Vaitai at left tackle, and they could be in the market for an offensive tackle early in the draft.
But what cannot be disputed is Peters’ value on the field when he’s healthy and in the locker room throughout the year. He’s perhaps the most respected player on the team — he’s also a favorite of owner Jeffrey Lurie — and the Eagles have never wavered in their commitment to him.
Judging by Pederson’s comments on Wednesday, this offseason won’t be an exception.
Doug Pederson’s ‘alter-ego’
By now, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Pederson is an aggressive play-caller and decision-maker. He’s been that way all season, and it built on his first season. A worldwide audience saw it in the Super Bowl, when Pederson made a pledge not to change how he coached because of the stage or because Bill Belichick was on the other sideline.
“That’s my alter ego. That’s my evil twin, I guess,” Pederson said of his aggressiveness. “I learned that probably from my dad a little bit in his aggressiveness with us as kids growing up. I’ve always been sort of under the mindset, I want every play to score a touchdown, every play. I want every defense to lose five yards. That’s just how I approach the game. I might come off as this soft-spoken guy to [reporters] but inside, I want to win the game. And not at an all-costs type of expense but pretty close, pretty close.”
Pederson said when playing the Patriots with Belichick and Tom Brady, a coach must remain aggressive or “you’re going to lose those games.” So the “Philly Special”, the fourth-down decisions, and the early passing — that’s who Pederson is, and he wasn’t going to start becoming conservative because it was his first Super Bowl.
“I had my mind made up after the Minnesota game and I knew we were playing the Patriots; that I was going to have to maintain that aggressiveness in this football game,” Pederson said. “The pressure of the game was not going to change who I am and that’s how I communicated that to our team and that’s how they responded Sunday.”
Eagles excited for the parade
If you think you’re excited for the parade, you’re not alone. The players are, too — and they’re genuinely curious to see what it’ll be like.
“It’s a great question,” quarterback Nick Foles said. “I don’t think anyone really knows. We’re really excited about it. I know there’s supposed to be millions of people. I can’t wait to go down Broad, go to the Art Museum, and just see everything. This is what you dream of, so it’s really cool.”
Pederson said he’s seen the excitement from the fans in the past few days, but it will sink in even more on Thursday. He wants his players to enjoy one last time together as a team, too. They had their final meeting on Wednesday, they’ll have the parade on Thursday, and they won’t be together again until a new version of the team reports in April for the offseason program.
“This is the first time we’ve been together, really, since the game,” Pederson said Wednesday. “Just the joy and the excitement and just knowing that kind of what we’ve been through this year, is a pretty special thing. Like I told them, this team is inked in NFL history and Philadelphia Eagles history, forever. That will never be the same again. It will change as of, probably after the parade tomorrow, everything, dynamics change. So just having that moment today with the guys and just kind of revisiting it is a pretty special thing.”
What you need to know about the Eagles
- Find the best stories from the season all in one place.
- Doug Pederson says playing deep into the postseason is the “new norm” in Philadelphia.
- Bob Ford writes about Pederson and Charlie Manuel, two unlikely parade marshals.
- This Super Bowl parade was almost unthinkable one year ago, Marcus Hayes writes.
- Frank Fitzpatrick writes on memories of an old championship.
- Les Bowen talks to the players who gave Gatorade baths to Pederson.
- A former Eagles quarterback caught the touchdown that inspired the Philly Special, Ed Barkowitz writes.
- Meet the man behind the parade.
- Here’s how to get into Philly for the parade and what to pack, wear, and eat.
- The police are ready for the parade.
- If you missed Wednesday’s newsletter, Chris Long and LeGarrette Blount joined an exclusive fraternity.
From the mailbag
Wondering why you think the Birds are in the market for a 3rd safety. Or, more specifically, why would they not simply resign Corey Graham, who has played pretty well and can’t be all that expensive? — Larry S., via email
That’s a fair question. I noted in Wednesday’s how important that third safety position is for the Eagles and that I’m curious how they fill it next season. Perhaps they re-sign Corey Graham, but they signed him to a one-year contract in August after seeing their roster for the first week of training camp. He’ll be 33 next season. The Eagles might want to give an internal option a chance (Jaylen Watkins? Tre Sullivan?). They might draft someone. Or they might sign a younger player. They could also consider playing a more traditional dime defense with four cornerbacks if they wanted to get Jalen Mills, Rodney Darby, Sidney Jones, and Rasul Douglas on the field at the same time. (Add in Patrick Robinson, if the Eagles re-sign him.) My point is the dynamics of the 2018 roster will change, and the Eagles might use that roster spot and defensive spot in a different way.