Doug Pederson’s response to tanking question says nothing

NFL: JAN 03 Washington Football Team at Eagles
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Eagles coach Doug Pederson defended after Sunday night’s game his decision to bench quarterback Jalen Hurts for Nate Sudfeld. It wasn’t convincing.

On Monday, Pederson and G.M. Howie Roseman met with reporters in a joint video conference. Pederson was asked again about Sunday night’s tactics. The question and the answer (non-answer) appear below.

“Now that you’ve had a night to sleep on it, I know you’re a guy that respects the game very much, and last night when you took out Jalen Hurts in a close game, I think you’re aware that it sent a message kind of across the league,” said Jamie Apody of WPVI-TV. “Eagles fans were upset but I think football fans were upset about what it said. Can you speak on it now that you’ve slept on it a little bit about the message that maybe that that sent and the perception that people had about the way that the game panned out?”

“I’ve thought about that quite a bit, and quite frankly, I look at the entire body of work,” Pederson said. “I look at the entire season and it’s definitely not the season we all had anticipated. Our offensive struggles have not been about one position group or one guy or whatever. It’s been a multitude of issues that we’ve had, and again, last night in that game, we were in a situation where we failed to score as an offense. We failed to score there at the end of the third quarter. We were struggling just a little bit to move the ball. Defensively, they kept us in the game with a couple of takeaways late. And my plan was to get Nate [Sudfeld] in the game. Nate’s a guy that’s very capable of running our system and executing, and an opportunity to pull that game out last night.

“It’s just something that — it’s not where any of us want to be. It’s not where our fans wanted us or expected us to be and it’s definitely not where me or Howie or where Mr. Lurie wanted us to be at this time sitting here today. We wanted to be playing in the postseason. That’s our goal every season. So, this year, this game, this season, didn’t come down to last night. We were playing for our lives in a playoff game four, five, six weeks ago where every game mattered, and we failed even then. I’ve got to look at the whole thing, do what’s in the best interest and try to win a game any way possible.”

Pederson, as his answer demonstrates, didn’t respond to question. At all. He meandered through obvious points and observations without acknowledging the perception, or the reality, that he deliberately removed Hurts and inserted Sudfeld to ensure that the team will have the sixth overall pick in the draft instead of the ninth.

The other possible explanation is that the Eagles didn’t want Hurts to elevate his standing entering an offseason that could still result in a decision that Carson Wentz, not Hurts, should be the 2021 starter. That would have been very difficult to accomplish if Hurts had managed, in the regular-season finale, to prevail in a game that meant everything to Washington and nothing to Philadelphia.

Regardless, the Eagles have been accused of committing an affront to the integrity of the game. If the allegations are false, they should be spitting fire against those who are wrongly suggesting foul play, not spewing implausible word salads that likely came off far better when they were rehearsed in the mirror of the hotel room.

They won’t because they can’t. They can’t because they know what they did. And, frankly, the NFL (and the rest of us) should have seen it coming.

That’s the lesson for the league when selecting the final game of the regular season in the future. Even if there’s one game with playoff relevance that survives the outcomes of the other 15, it’s important to know that both teams have an incentive to win. At a minimum, the league should seek an advance assurance from the team with nothing to play for that, if picked for the regular-season finale, it won’t take a dive.

33 responses to “Doug Pederson’s response to tanking question says nothing

  1. Insert this disgusting debacle into the gambling debate. Fixing a competitive contest opens the entire NFL to potential criminal charges. Congratulations on opening the Pandora’s box, Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman. Your lawyers are on line one! The NFL is on line 2!

  2. Hurts has played poorly in the second half of every game he has started. Yesterday was no different. If the Eagles decide to move on from Wentz they’ll be in the market for Hurts’ replacement sooner vs later.

  3. Maybe he sees Hurts = Tebow? A 52% completion rate one read and run QB who is a nice guy and wins some games and could be an OK backup but overall will not take you to a championship

  4. Of course you tank – 6th overall versus 10th – including rounds 2 and 3 can be a lot of better players – provided they can select the correct ones -they got Reagor and Hurts with their first 2 picks last year at 21 and 53

  5. Cover your bases by trading Wentz to the Patriots the first day of the 2021 league year. Pats and Eagles have always had a good trade relationship. A handshake agreement will suffice for now.

  6. It’s hard not to picture Coach Doug laughing like a hyena at home after these interviews.

  7. Great organization. Maybe they’ll build a statue of Pederson telling Sudfeld that he’s going into the game.

  8. I watched last night’s game.

    Based on what I saw, if Pederson was actually trying to win, that kind of makes it worse.

  9. Funny i tuned into some talk radio as I drove around and 2 of the 3 stations were talking about this. The one talking head was outraged (probably a Giants fan was out of NY) at the mere thought of a team not playing to win, and how it was a black eye for the entire league. Then I thought, he’s right, you know except for KC and Pitts who sat players. So I guess this “not playing to win” is reserved for the bad teams because if you are a good team, then it is cool to not play to win.

  10. It was really a bad look for the league. NFL should suspend Pederson 2 games and change the draft order so they move behind the 5-11 teams.

    Blatant tanking should not be rewarded. If tanking becomes a pattern half the late season games will become unwatchable like the NBA.

  11. A sad act by the Eagles…even sadder than their draft history, wouldn’t matter if they drafted 6 instead of9.

  12. He threw the game! Have the FBI run a thorough audit of his asset lines, onshore and off. This guy is dirty.

  13. Um so Um we were Um like trying to you know like win the game. Hurts was um sort of like tired, yeah like real tired and remember when McNabb was puking at the end of the Super Bowl, yeah like we didn’t want that to happen because we un like lost that game and I was coaching to win.

  14. It doesn’t matter who the Eagles decide to play and who they keep on the bench – they don’t owe the Giants, or any other team anything. IF they want to take a look at a player on their roster in game conditions, then do it. It’s a big boys league, and the New York Giants have to learn to handle their own business without whining about how some other franchise didn’t do them any favors.

    Giants – you lost more games than you won this season, so put a sock in that pie hole and man-up. You weren’t that good anyway.

  15. The Philadelphia Eagles and their fan base are a disgrace to the game of football.

  16. NFL needs to take that draft pick away and maybe next time they won’t blow a game on purpose !

  17. Seriously? Did you watch the game? Hurts couldn’t do anything from the time he scored the 2nd TD until they pulled him, just 2 first downs and 2 for 11 passing for 7yds and a turnover on downs, he couldn’t do squat and deserved to be benched!

  18. i think the idea that a 4 win team is disrespecting the game by giving a backup some run in the season finale is laughable. if they tanked their own chances at getting in, then I’m with the uproar. otherwise, unless you’re not a giants fan, who cares? they ended up with better draft position FOR THEMSELVES by losing. their motivations were pure. moral of the story is WIN YOUR OWN DAMN GAMES and stop looking for other teams to do it for you

  19. justin7556 says:
    January 4, 2021 at 8:38 pm
    Hurts scored 2 touchdowns and would have won game
    And after scoring those touchdowns, he was not too effective. Washington mostly figured him out after that and when they did not, he missed a wide open receiver in the end zone on fourth down.

  20. I’d like to see all of the posts on PFT at least address the fact that Hurts had played poorly in the game. His last play was missing an open receiver in the end zone on 4th down. Yes, he was scrambling away from pressure, but that’s supposed to be his game. I’m not saying the decision to pull Hurts shouldn’t be questioned, but the guy was not playing well. Pederson, of course, is not going to point out his player’s poor play.

  21. …because the Eagles were going to win that game with Hurts in there. Uh-huh.

  22. Teams regularly tank for the #1 pick, it is known, discussed and largely celebrated. There was no benefit to the Eagles to win the game, none. They are not responsible for another crappy team getting into the playoffs. It is the team’s job to do what is best for the team.

  23. Eagles last 5 drives with Jalen Hurts
    1. 3 plays, 0 yards – punt
    2. 2 plays, 7 yards – end of half
    3. 3 plays, 7 yards – punt
    4. 8 plays, 30 yards – punt
    5. 7 plays, 11 yards – turnover on downs
    That’s 23 plays for 55 yards with 3 punts and a turnover on downs.

  24. A Greg Louganis dive …

    Yes, Hurts wasnt playing well but the score was only 17-14. The kid had plenty of time to win the game. He should have had the chance to finish but a game winning drive would have added more fuel to the get-rid-of-Wentz fire and Pederson knew it …

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