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Philadelphia Eagles

Column | Doug Pederson heaping unnecessary pressure on Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, left, and Carson Wentz talk before an NFL football game against the New York Giants, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
(AP Photo/Michael Perez)

The Philadelphia Eagles will enter the 2017 season being compared to the Green Bay Packers teams of the 1990s.

They have head coach Doug Pederson, a former Packers backup quarterback, to thank for that.

The second-year NFL head coach is obviously pleased with the massive overhaul of talent the Eagles brought in through free agency and the draft. He went out on a limb and compared a team that has three Wild-Card playoff appearances in the last nine years to a perennial playoff contender that appeared in back-to-back Super Bowls and won one of them.

“I look back at my time in Green Bay as a player when we were making those playoff runs and those Super Bowl runs there, and do we have as much talent on this team than we did then? We probably have more talent, right?” Pederson told ESPN’s Tim McManus.

The cringe-worthy comparison probably wasn’t intended as it will be received in the sports world. To Pederson’s credit, he followed up the comparison by admitting talent wasn’t everything, and that the Eagles would have to work hard to prove they are more than a simply a great team on paper.

But those follow-up comments don’t exactly stick like the original comparison. In a quarterback-driven league, is Carson Wentz going to somehow transform into Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre? Is there a Reggie White somewhere we don’t know about on the Eagles defense?

Those are the type of comparisons Pederson opens the door to with those kinds of comments.

The Eagles should already have enough on their plate trying to improving from last place in an NFC East division rich with talent. The Dallas Cowboys were the No. 1 seed in the NFC last season, and the ever-improving New York Giants weren’t too far behind. The Washington Redskins have also been a tough out in recent years.

There still isn’t any certainty Wentz will even develop as a franchise quarterback. While his continued development has given the Eagles some hope, it’s premature to jump on the bandwagon of such outlandish comparisons until we at least see some consistency from the 24-year-old signal caller.

That isn’t to say the Eagles haven’t made some serious strides in the offseason. The additions of Alshon Jeffery, LeGarrette Blount, Torrey Smith and Chris Long were truly some great signings. They also had a sensational draft by bringing in the likes of Derek Barnett, Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas on defense.

Things are definitely looking up for the Eagles.

However, it would have been nice to see Pederson focus more on improving than prognosticating. The Eagles now face the pressure of living up to a ghost team they had no business being compared to in the first place.

*****

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