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The Pederson Plan: Locker Room Takes Ownership


Instead of having different players serve as captains each week, head coach Doug Pederson wanted something different. So he had the players vote last Monday to name five season-long team captains for 2017, with a sixth captain to rotate on a game-by-game basis.

The locker room has spoken, then. And that's exactly what Pederson desired, continuing a message he's talked about for months.

"I put it into the players' hands. I felt that they had leaders that embraced the team. It was part of the leadership theme that I've been talking about all spring and summer," Pederson said. "This way, it puts the leadership back into the hands of the players. They voted on it and we have five permanent captains for the season, and I will rotate a sixth game each week based on a lot of things. If the player is from that area or has family in that area could be a reason. It could be how well they played the week before. It could be a player who is demonstrating leadership in another way.

"I just wanted ownership back on the football team, back on the players and this continues the idea that the players own this thing."

For the five 2017 captains, the honor is being taken very seriously and with great honor and pride. The season-long captains are: quarterback Carson Wentz, offensive tackle Jason Peters, safety Malcolm Jenkins, defensive end Brandon Graham and safety/special teams ace Chris Maragos.

As you might imagine, the players expect to have an emotional surge when they look at their white jerseys on Sunday at FedEx Field and see the big "C" on their chests.

"It's going to make me do my job even better. I play my hardest and I do my job to the best of my ability on every play, every day, but when I see that 'C,' it's going to feel unbelievable," Graham said. "I feel like I have more motivation to be the best I can so I don't let my teammates down. I'm so happy. A 'C' on my chest for the whole season. I always wondered what that would be like and now I'm going to find out."

The players voted on Monday and the results were tabulated the same day and the players were informed of the team's captains that night.

"I know as a player anytime there's something like that that's voted on by your peers, by the other players, it's a special honor." Wentz said. "I think it's something that I don't personally take for granted, either. I realize it's a high calling, at the same time a lot of responsibility comes with it. It's definitely exciting.

"I'm very honored to be a captain. Second year, I don't get caught up in all of that. We're all in this thing together. It's definitely an honor, especially any time it comes from your peers."

The players who have been voted to the honor are beyond thrilled. The significance goes behind just wearing the 'C," for it's a program that Pederson pitched to the locker room and the locker room bought in 100 percent.


"This means more to me than anything – any contract, any Super Bowl ring, any individual accomplishment," said Maragos, who won the Super Bowl with Seattle in 2013. "This is such an honor and is so humbling for me. It means that I've earned the respect of my teammates and I think as a player that is what you set out to do, to earn the respect of the locker room and the coaches and the organization.

"I feel extremely humbled and I feel the responsibility to represent everybody well, that's for sure."

Maragos was a captain on his high school football team and in college, at Wisconsin, but being a captain in the NFL is a totally different level.

And a totally different feeling.

"Being a vocal guy who can show the young guys and the guys on the team the way to do things, that's one of the things I love to do. We all have a clear vision of the way we're doing things," Maragos said. "I want to lead by example and do things right every day and leave it all out there on the field for your brother and hopefully everybody will follow suit.

"We have a lot of great leaders in this locker room, whether they are wearing the 'C' or not. We're all in this together and we're playing for each other. I think it's a cool idea and we all wanted to do it. It just brings us closer together. There's a lot of love in this locker room."

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