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This Eagles Postmortem Serves As A Good Warning For The Team’s Next Coach

Carson Wentz and Doug Pederson standing next to each other. They both look pensive.
Elsa/Getty Images

Last week the Philadelphia Eagles fired head coach Doug Pederson, and so now it’s time for some juicy backstory of the team’s shitty 2020 season to come out. This weekend, fans were lucky enough to get a bunch of details in a story from the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane.

McLane has been on the Eagles beat long enough to have once been punched by a colleague, which is to say: This story is well-sourced and also wild. It opens with a description of “a Fathead a fan might plaster in his or her bedroom,” but in GM Howie Roseman’s office. It’s great.

The article says what was made pretty obvious when team owner Jeffrey Lurie said Carson Wentz was not the reason for Doug Pederson’s firing: Carson Wentz was the reason for Doug Pederson’s firing. There were other factors, too, but the head coach and quarterback weren’t getting along. ESPN reported on Jan. 3 that the relationship was “fractured beyond repair,” and Wentz might want out. Certainly the soured relationship had to at least contribute to the decision to boot Pederson.

According to McLane, Wentz didn’t want to practice—a familiar tale of underachieving Philadelphia athletes spanning generations. It was more about the QB’s mindset than laziness. He would “object” when asked to re-run plays in practice to correct flaws. An anonymous Eagles player said Wentz “will never admit” that “he lost games for us.” Wentz also clashed with coaches in general. Here’s one particularly hilarious detail:

There was a disconnect even before Wentz was benched, though. Pederson would call a play only for his quarterback to occasionally kill it for apparently no other reason than his personal distaste, sources said. It became “a pissing match” between the two, one of the sources said.

Congratulations to McLane for getting the phrase “pissing match” into the Philadelphia Inquirer for only the second time in its 191-year history, according to my research. The only other instance I could find was a story by Vinny Vella, who was originally a tabloid Philadelphia Daily News reporter before they merged the desks. It’s really a milestone moment.

But I’m also not totally sure what this bit means. What constitutes changing a play call for “no other reason” than personal distaste? Isn’t that the same functional result as changing the play call because you don’t like the play?

I could definitely ask more rhetorical questions, but it may not matter why Wentz tortured Philly fans with his cries of “Kill! Kill!” this season. The team’s next coach will have to figure out how to work with Wentz, or convince Lurie and Roseman to get rid of him.