The only way this news conference could have been worse was if it’d been held at Four Seasons Total Landscaping.
Doug Pederson had to be asked three times Wednesday if he agreed with good ol’ buddy Brett Favre, who said Tuesday that the Eagles should have kept Nick Foles instead of Carson Wentz. At issue:
Was Favre betraying a secret Doug told him? Had Pederson, over the years, told his former Green Bay teammate that he’d wanted to keep Foles all along? After all, in 2017 and 2018 Foles had won Pederson a Super Bowl and a playoff game as Wentz’s injury replacement.
Pederson didn’t get it. He didn’t understand the gravity of Favre’s comments about Wentz and how those comments might incriminate Pederson.
Incredibly, in his first two answers, Pederson said Favre had the right to his own opinion … and left it at that. In fact, Pederson to refuse to support Wentz. By the third question — the last question allowed by the moderator — reporters were ready to reach through the Zoom screen, grab Pederson by his lapels, and shake some sense into his senseless responses.
Finally, Pederson endorsed Wentz over Foles. To his credit, Pederson, now clearly irritated, fought his greater demons when he didn’t finish with, “You idiots.”
Except, the reporters weren’t the idiots. Not this time.
According to two Eagles sources, Pederson approached Wednesday’s teleconference ready to defuse controversy. The problem was, he was ready to defuse the wrong controversy.
Pederson wanted to defuse any controversy that might arise between him and Favre. He wanted everyone to now that he wasn’t angry with his former Green Bay teammate.
Pederson couldn’t conceive of the possibility that anyone would think that he agreed with Favre. Pederson couldn’t conceive that anyone would think that he’d planted those seeds of criticism in Favre’s unsophisticated head. Pederson couldn’t conceive that the world would think he has seller’s remorse over letting Foles go.
And, to whatever degree it exists, therein lies Pederson’s idiocy. It wasn’t that he didn’t understand his loyalty to Wentz was in question; it’s that he didn’t think his loyalty to Wentz could be in question.
And while that’s as arrogant as it is tone-deaf, it’s not actually dumb. There’s a difference between obtuse and stupid, God bless Rich Kotite.
Don’t forget, Doug survived a bout with coronavirus. Maybe he’s got the COVID brain.
Who among us can afford to lose 8.5 IQ points?
The first question about Favre was open-ended and simply asked for a “reaction” to Favre’s comments and their friendship. Pederson replied:
“I respect Brett’s opinion. Yeah, we are friends, but I haven’t talked to him and he’s entitled to that and that’s about it. I’ll have that conversation with him off the record.”
The second question pointedly asked if Pederson agreed with Favre, Pederson damningly and dumbly replied:
“He’s entitled to his opinion, and that’s fine, and I’ll leave it at that.”
Which precipitated the need for a third question. This time, the questioner alerted Pederson to the firestorm of controversy that would descend if Pederson didn’t explicitly endorse Wentz, on whose shoulders the fate of the franchise falls. Pederson, GM Howie Roseman, and owner Jeffrey Lurie drafted Wentz No. 2 overall in 2016, then gave him a four-year, $128 million extension after the 2018 season, two months before they let Foles walk (they could have retained him with a $25 million franchise tag).
Favre’s comments made it sound like Pederson might never have been on board with keeping Wentz over Foles. After all, Foles had won some big games for Pederson.
Anyway, the final questioner finally broke through Pederson’s apparent brain fog. Pederson replied:
“Carson’s our guy. Carson was our draft pick. Carson is the guy that is going to carry us and lead this football team,” Pederson said, his voice rising. “Those aren’t my words. Those aren’t Howie’s [Roseman] words, those aren’t Jeffrey’s [Lurie] words. Those are [Favre’s] words. I respect that opinion. Whatever he wants to say, that’s fine and we’re going to remain friends. It doesn’t bother me one way or the other.”
“We’re going to remain friends.”
Somehow, Pederson was worried more about preserving his friendship with Favre than with preserving his starting quarterback’s confidence.
That starting quarterback leads the NFL with 16 turnovers through eight games, ranks second-to-last in passer rating, and is looking over his shoulder at second-round rookie Jalen Hurts.
Is this incredible? Yes. Incredulous? Not really. Not if you know Doug Pederson. Like a basset hound, he might not always be sharp, but he’s loyal.
“Carson’s our guy, bottom line, end of story,” Pederson finished.