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Doug Pederson: Time To Rip Off The Dog Masks

One of the lasting memories from the run to the Super Bowl was Lane Johnson and Chris Long sporting dog masks on the field after the Divisional Round win over the Atlanta Falcons. The Eagles entered the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the NFC, but most analysts expected an early exit after losing Carson Wentz to a knee injury.

Philadelphia - the team, the fans, the city - embraced the underdog theme and it helped fuel the Eagles to their first world championship.

On Tuesday, head coach Doug Pederson said it's time to toss the dog masks aside and embrace the challenge ahead as the Eagles look to get back to the mountaintop in 2018.

"It's going to be a part of our fabric, part of our history here in Philadelphia, part of the Eagles organization obviously. I want guys to remember. I think it's the journey that we took to get to see a Super Bowl 52 logo on the wall," Pederson said. 

"It means something different to Jason Peters than it does Big V (Halapoulivaati Vaitai). I want those guys to remember it. I want those guys to embrace it. It's a great opportunity for us this season, great motivating factor for us to sort of rip off the dog mask and no longer be the underdog but now be the hunted and have the target on our back.

"We have to embrace it and use it as sort of motivation to get back to that game and to do it for the guys who didn't have an opportunity to play in that game last year."

The Super Bowl celebration continues as the team will receive their rings at a ceremony on Thursday night. But at 12:01 a.m. Friday morning, Pederson wants to turn the page and "put it to bed." The players report for Training Camp on July 25 and open the preseason August 9 against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lincoln Financial Field.

First, the Eagles have their three-day mandatory minicamp. Pederson said that all players are in attendance. The primary objective, the head coach noted, is to keep everyone healthy.

"Get some good work in, some situational things, then really on Thursday wrap it up, keep the guys focused and motivated for July 25," Pederson said.

With players like Wentz and Peters who did not play in the Super Bowl and the other leaders on the team, the hunger remains to carry over that special feeling from last year to this one.

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