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Four Downs: Everyone stays in their lane

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Go with what you know

New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

We’re in the lull between the frenzy of free agency and the draft, when things seem to slow down a bit. *looks at the stats of this site* Well, not here, because you guys are great. But I thought I’d take a look back at a few stories that stood out, and some other observations.

Vinny Curry, true Eaglea

Vinny Curry has had it pretty good. He grew up an Eagles fan, and was drafted by them. The day after drafting him the Eagles had him at the facility, which must have been a “this is really happening” moment for him. And that day he got to meet Brian Dawkins who was signing his ceremonial one day contract to retire as an Eagle. That’s a pretty good weekend. And of course he won a Super Bowl with the Eagles. He was living the dream, then he was cut for cap reasons. Which happened again in Tampa. So it wasn’t a surprise that he spurned other offers to come home.

DeSean Jackson is the more important returning Eagle, but it’s nice to have Curry back. There are a lot of players on the Eagles that are fun to root for, but none quite like Curry.

The Least of the East

Earlier in the week I noted that the Eagles are, far and away, having the best offseason of the division. That guarantees nothing, but there’s little reason to believe that the Eagles aren’t the best team in the division. I sat on it for a couple of days because I figured a division rival would do something stupid. I should have waited a bit longer, because later that same day the Redskins signed Ereck Flowers. I am laughing as I type that. Not to some minimal signing bonus, non-guaranteed contract in a “hey this guy was a first rounder and we’ve got a pretty good position coach what’s the harm” type of deal. That would be defensible. No, they gave him a $3 million one year contract and guaranteed half of it. For a guy who couldn’t cut it on two 5-11 teams last year. They did sign another former first rounder to a no guaranteed money deal though: Marcus Smith. Yes, that Marcus Smith. If the Cowboys had a 1st round bust they’d probably have signed him too, though there’s still time to trade for Taco Charlton.

The Eagles try to make Thursday Night Football a little less worse

In 1966 the Cowboys hosted their first Thanksgiving game, attempting to cash in on the tradition and popularity of high school football on the day after Thanksgiving and college football on the Saturday after. It became a tradition for the Cowboys, though in 1975 and 1977 the Cardinals replaced them. But from 1978 on, Dallas and Detroit have hosted a game. The Eagles want to change that, proposing that those teams alternate being on the road on Thanksgiving.

Unfortunately, they withdrew the offer, likely because it wouldn’t have enough support. But it’s not nothing that it’s out there. The league isn’t going to change it on their own, so someone has to be the initiator, and maybe down the road opinions change now that the idea has been floated.

BLG hits on a more important point though… it’s not just that the Cowboys (and the Lions) have an advantage with playing a home game on Thanksgiving every year. It’s that the Cowboys have followed it up with another Thursday game. Detroit has never played a TNF game the week after Thanksgiving. The Cowboys have played five, and perhaps not coincidentally, they won them all. This is a relatively new thing. They’ve played on the Thursday after Thanksgiving for three straight seasons, and four of the last five. That’s not right, and that’s a rule change that should be proposed: no team can play back to back TNF games.

Doug Pederson, role knower

When the Sixers visited the Bucks on Sunday, it was a matchup of two of the top teams in the East. It was also a matchup of coaches who in addition to knowing each other quite well from their time in San Antonio, have both had a heavy say in the front office of teams they have coached. In 2015 Mike Budenholzer, coming off the best season in Atlanta Hawks history, front office turmoil as his GM was suspended, and with a new owner, was named President of Basketball Operations in addition to his head coaching duties. Less than two years later, he was stripped of that title. Brett Brown spent the summer overseeing operations for the Sixers, but, perhaps in part having seen it go poorly for his friend, was wise enough to fully embrace the interim part of being the Interim President of Basketball Operations. What does this have to do with the Eagles you might ask.

I bring this up because I find it interesting, and reassuring, that after winning the Super Bowl the Eagles head coach/front office working relationship is the same as it was before they won it. I like that Pederson is more than happy to just be the coach. Obviously he has some level of input, as most coaches do. Pederson (and the rest of his staff) being all in on Carson Wentz certainly played a role in the Eagles trading up to draft him, and his prior relationship with Nick Foles, which Foles has cited as a reason he came back was likewise certainly a factor in signing him, which turned out to be a great move.

It’s natural to want to take on more as you progress in your career, and if you read his book—and you should, it’s good—the man is certainly not lacking in confidence, which should come as no surprise. When he got hired he said he didn’t want to get involved any more than the normal head coach does, but success can change anyone. I’m glad it hasn’t changed Pederson.

Tweet of the Week

The Dallas Male Cowgirls. I can get behind this.