It’s always a big week when the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles play each other. Always.
The game is magnified this particular week because both teams are coming off of losses and a loss against their bitter rival could send each fan base into a tailspin. This is why it was so shocking when Eagles head coach Doug Pederson talked a little bit of trash when the week began.
Honestly, though, Pederson didn’t really talk “trash” when you look at exactly what he said. He expressed confidence in his team and that was about it. He’s obviously confident that they’ll win on Sunday. Here are his exact words.
PEDERSON: I know the sky is falling outside. It’s falling. And I get that. And the fans are reeling just a little bit. But we’re going down to Dallas, and our guys are going to be ready to play. And we’re going to win that football game and when we do we’re in first place in the NFC East. We control our own destiny. We’re right where we need to be. Has it been perfect or beautiful or all of that? No. But all we’ve got to do is try to be 1-0 this week, beat the Dallas Cowboys, and we’re in first place. And, listen, they’re reeling, too. They’re struggling, too. They’ve dropped their last three games. So this will be an exciting football game.
CATALDI: You sound very confident about Sunday, Doug.
PEDERSON: I have to be. I am. I see — when I watch the tape, I put the tape on and and I go ‘OK, there are coachable moments, there are teachable moments on the tape that we can get better at as an offense and as a defense.’ I’m also optimistic that some of our injured players in the secondary will make a return this week, and we’ll see. But I’ve got to stay positive not only for myself but for the guys in the locker room.
This happened on Monday so it’s a ways back in the rearview mirror. As you can imagine it made the rounds across the internet and Pederson was even asked about it later in the week. He noted that he wasn’t really guaranteeing anything out of arrogance and just expressing confidence. Again, that’s fair.
Today is now Friday. That story had really gone away and was something that had seemingly been swept under the rug with so many other things to focus on (injuries, matchups, and I don’t know, the game). That lasted until early Friday afternoon.
What brought this story back to life, you ask? Was it an Eagles player doubling down on his head coach’s proclamation and rubbing it in all the more? Nope. It was DeMarcus Lawrence. He clapped back at Pederson and got way more aggressive than the original statement.
DeMarcus Lawrence on Doug Pederson’s declaration that the Eagles are going to come to AT&T Stadium this weekend & win. “Tell him to come on. We’re ready. Can he play the game? So he might want to shut his ass up and stay on the sideline.”— David Moore (@DavidMooreDMN) October 18, 2019
Why does this need to be said? What good can from it? I ask again... why?
DeMarcus Lawrence has become well-known for his spicy soundbites in weeks leading up to games and the reality is that when you’re winning those go over well, but when you’re losing, especially on the defensive side of the ball where Lawrence plays, people begin to get worn out and roll their eyes at it all.
It’s totally fine if the Cowboys are using Pederson’s words as motivation and/or bulletin board material, but putting it out into the ether like that doesn’t seem like the best move for a defense that is getting scored on all over. Perhaps Lawrence is trying to motivate his teammates but this just doesn’t seem like the best way to do it.
The Dallas Cowboys have played the Green Bay Packers and New York Jets in their last two games. After the first, running back Aaron Jones was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week, and after the second, quarterback Sam Darnold was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week. That’s not a good trend.
Dallas can say whatever they want on Friday, but it’s what they do on Sunday that matters most.