I get it. Trust me, I do.
Your 2017 Philadelphia Eagles are damn good. It’s almost excruciating how good they are in a “this hurts so much because they’re so good and this can’t end well” kind of way. Something has GOT to give, right? This is Philadelphia and good times like these don’t last very long in your sports world.
In any other season, finding a competent replacement for your star (for all the right reasons) left tackle would seem a daunting task. Instead, your 2017 Eagles have flourished without Jason Peters, and have been led by your star (for all the wrong reasons, prior to this year) right tackle in Lane Johnson.
In any other season, losing a much-heralded teammate like Darren Sproles for the season would prove detrimental to any number of NFL teams, but it’s created little-to-no obstacle at all for the Eagles backfield. In fact, the running game has become a powerhouse with LeGarrette Blount leading the way, Corey Clement proving almost everyone wrong, and a rejuvenated Jay Ajayi looking to leave Miami and its vices in the rear view mirror.
In any other season, the loss of Jordan Hicks for the year might have demoralized an entire defense. Instead, it has simply reawakened something a lot of us already knew: Mychal Kendricks can flat out play. Props should be given to Nigel Bradham as well for playing lights out in lieu of a completely healthy LB core.
So far, this is not “any other season”.
What makes this team different from past Eagles teams? Is it Carson Wentz? Is it the savvy maneuvers pulled by GM Howie Roseman? A man whose seat at this point a year or two ago was lukewarm, if not hot? It could be any number of contributing factors that have led to the Eagles success this year, but there is one individual who deserves the most praise: Doug Pederson.
The way players and coaches have gathered around the head coach after an offseason where half of Philadelphia wanted him evaporated from existence is remarkable. Pederson has taken everything in stride, worked hand in hand with his players, and shown more faith in his 2nd year QB than anyone expected him to. For this, he is the organization’s MVP.
With a win on Sunday night versus the despicable Dallas Cowboys, the Philadelphia Eagles are in the NFC East drivers seat. Yes, 10 games into the season, your 2017 Philadelphia Eagles will have a stranglehold on the NFC East and to say that ANYONE saw this coming is a complete and utter lie.
It’s an astonishing turn of events, thanks to Doug. He is the reason this year feels so spectacularly different for Eagles fans. It’s an occurrence that Eagles fans are not accustomed to and it is for that reason that I feel inclined to push this message out: Despite it all, there is still a ways to go. Getting ahead of yourself as a Philadelphia sports fan almost always turns out to be a catastrophic mistake. I say this not to be a drag, but to be a beacon of reasoning for the casual fan that might not have their feelings in check.
So while a win on Sunday night would solidify the Birds as the top dog in the East, the brakes should be lightly tapped, if not pumped on any talks about Minnesota in February. “One game at a time” is the most cliché mantra in sports, but it’s the one this team follows closest and that’s the perfect angle to take. It starts with Dallas.
Delco bred, living in Denver. Member of the US Army. Cody Ross still haunts my dreams. Twitter: @JosephPVicente