Good morning, Eagles fans! Today marks the last time we'll hear from head coach Doug Pederson ahead of Thursday's preseason finale against the Jets at 10:30 a.m. We'll stream that live as well as the start of practice just before noon. Until then, here's what you need to know to start your day in our Morning Roundup presented by Microsoft.
1. There Are Jobs To Be Won
The final preseason game isn't meaningless for players on the roster bubble. Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro highlights seven players who can win a spot, including rookie tackle Jordan Mailata:
The seventh-round draft pick may have already played his way onto the 53-man roster with his rapid improvement, but you never really know until the roster is settled. The Eagles drafted Jordan Mailata knowing he would be a project, so they're excited at the progress they've seen from the athletic left tackle. But there are many steps to take with this large piece of clay. The numbers are crowded along the offensive line and Mailata and sixth-round draft pick Matt Pryor need to play well on Thursday night. It's a big game for both players.
2. Jim Schwartz On The Reality Of This Week
Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz flat-out said Saturday will be the "worst day of this job." The Eagles have to get to the 53-player limit by 4 p.m. on September 1, meaning that close to 1,200 players will be out of work.
"I think there's a dignity that's involved in dealing with those guys. I said this last year when we were getting ready for the Super Bowl. We showed a picture of the Super Bowl trophy and you see all the fingerprints on it and you say, 'Regardless of what your role was on this team, your fingerprints are going to be on that trophy. Whether you were on the practice squad and you were helping the offense. Whether you were an inactive or whether you were active, everybody had a role.' And I'll take that back and include training camp players. Even if you don't make this team, you'll have your fingerprint on the success of this team going forward," Schwartz said.
"People don't make teams for a lot of different reasons. Whether it's not a good scheme fit, maybe a numbers position or maybe an injury. It's very rare that a guy just flat out isn't talented enough. I mean, that certainly happens, but perseverance is a big thing. We've had a lot of players that have been undrafted and have been cut. I think Chris Maragos was cut like three times before he made a roster coming out. He was, like, three straight training camps that he got called to the head coach's office. That guy has been able to persevere and have a great career. So that happens all the time."
3. Doug Pederson Calls An Old Friend For Advice
In his latest column for The MMQB, Albert Breer explains how the Eagles' head coach sought advice for how to handle coming back after winning the Super Bowl. He turned to his former head coach in Mike Holmgren, who Pederson played for when the Packers won the Super Bowl in the 1996 season and returned to the title game the following year:
And Holmgren reminded his old backup QB that it had to start with the head coach, which is the way Pederson was looking at it anyway.
"There's not enough of me to go around," Pederson says. "It takes you away from your job. That's time away, and personally I hate being away. This is what I was hired to do. That's why I respect what Bill Belichick's done, really being able to keep things grounded and focused with that team, and just be point-blank with everybody. You don't see him doing a lot of stuff. He's very selective.
"And there's a reason why they win every year. So for me, now in this position, I respect that. Being there last week and seeing those five championship banners in their stadium, I mean, we've only got one. You look up and they've got five. It's like, Man, I'm just hoping I can maybe get one more somewhere along the way."
4. ESPN Lists The Biggest Concern For Each Team
So, what's the one for the Eagles? What's been one of the top storylines all offseason? No, not Carson Wentz's rehab. It's how will the Eagles embrace being the hunted:
"I'm worried about a Super Bowl hangover," an unnamed exec told Mike Sando. "The defense got older, the quarterback has to prove he can be what he was, the dynamics in the locker room changed and then you always have guys who want to get paid after winning it all, and I'm talking about everybody in your building. They ran off some longtime Eagle guys like Brent (Celek), (Vinny) Curry and (Mychal) Kendricks, and added some guys from other teams with storied pasts."