Little else turns the stomach like watching football players quit. Their job is brutal; their nature, brutish. Yet they choose this life and they are paid like princes to perform, and they never turn down their paychecks. It is their job to fight and flail and finish. The Eagles failed in Cincinnati; some worse than others. You saw it. We all saw it. Doug Pederson saw it, too. He saw safety Rodney "No Thanks" McLeod refuse to hit Bengals running back Jeremy Hill at the goal line Sunday. He saw tight end Zach "El Matador" Ertz refuse to block Vontaze Burfict on a quarterback run. Pederson saw it all. It made him sick, too. Asked Monday whether all of his players played hard in Cincinnati, Pederson replied: "Not everybody." You heard that correctly. The head coach of an NFL team in a blue-collar town acknowledged that his players are tanking. Stealing money. Playing soft. In the 215 area code, that's heresy. You might punk out in the baseball heaven that is St. Louis, where McLeod spent his first four NFL seasons, but, in the Delaware Valley, refusing to block and declining to tackle warrants benching. Not every Eagle plays this way. A week earlier, offensive lineman Allen Barbre knocked Packers linebacker Clay Matthews out of the game with a hellacious block. Then again, Barbre makes only $1.75 million. Barbre can be cut at any time.
Pederson should bench McLeod, Ertz for soft play
Philly.com | Dec 6