Eagles coach and Ferndale, Washington, High School graduate Doug Pederson told me Wednesday morning from Philadelphia that he still has great memories of driving 90 minutes down Interstate 5 on Sunday mornings to go to Seahawks games in the Kingdome.
“Jim Zorn. Steve Largent. Kenny Easley. ... My mom and dad had season tickets from the first season, 1976,” Pederson said. “Four of them, up in the end zone, second level, corner end zone. Those were the best seats.”
Pederson, now 48, said his mind wandered during those games to making the NFL. But he didn’t have to dream long to play in an NFL stadium. He did that as a senior at Ferndale High, north of Bellingham, when he played in a state playoff game in the Kingdome. He went on to play collegiately at Louisiana-Monroe and then in 10 NFL seasons for Miami, Green Bay, Philadelphia and Cleveland. Beginning in 1993 with the Dolphins he played in 100 career games as a backup quarterback. Though he started 17 games in his career, he went entire seasons without throwing a pass behind Brett Favre with the Packers.
He then got into coaching, eventually as the Eagles quarterbacks coach and now its head man replacing Chip Kelly.
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He’s been starting No.-1 overall pick Carson Wentz since week one of his rookie season in early September, he says to see what they had in their franchise man and to let him grow into the job. Wentz started 3-0, but the Eagles have lost four of their last six games entering Sunday’s at the Seahawks.
Pederson said Philadelphia’s keys to Sunday will be to keep Russell Wilson in the pocket, to match the speed and intensity of the Seahawks’ defense, and to deal with the noise of the “12th Man” at CenturyLink Field.
He’s known that noise for 40 years, since he was going to all those Seattle games in the old Kingdome.
SEAHAWKS’ NEXT OPPONENT
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (5-4)
1:25 p.m. Sunday, CenturyLink Field, Seattle
Against the Seahawks: The series is tied at seven wins each. The Eagles have lost the last two meetings, late in the 2011 and ’14 seasons. Philadelphia last won in Seattle two tries ago, in November 2008 by a score of 26-7. The Eagles have won two of the three meetings in the Seahawks’ new stadium dating to 2002. The exception was Seattle’s 31-14 home win Dec. 1, 2011, Pete Carroll’s second season coaching the Seahawks. Marshawn Lynch ran for two touchdowns that night, and Tarvaris Jackson threw a TD pass.
Line: Seahawks by 6½
What to know: The runaway optimism of an Eagles Super Bowl with a rookie quarterback from September’s 3-0 start has subsided in Philadelphia. The Eagles have lost four of their last six games. But they held what entered the game as the NFL’s best offense to 15 points in a home win over Atlanta last weekend. … Philadelphia is 1-4 on the road. The lone win was at Chicago in Week 2, 29-14. … The Eagles went to the run early against the Falcons last week to help make life easier for rookie quarterback Carson Wentz. It worked. The No. 2 overall pick completed 25 of 36 passes for 231 yards, while the Eagles rushed for a season-best 208 yards and won by nine. … Wentz, from North Dakota State, has started since game one. Contrast that with the top overall choice picked just before him this spring. Jared Goff will be making his first NFL start for the Rams this week when Los Angeles hosts Miami. … Wentz is completing 65 percent of his throws with nine touchdown passes and five interceptions. He completed 74 percent of his throws for 301 yards in a 34-3 rout of Pittsburgh that left the Eagles 3-0 in September. He threw for a career-best 364 yards but hit on just 57 percent of his 47 throws with two interceptions in a loss to the Giants two weeks ago. That led to the Eagles running more last week. … Pressure wins against Wentz: He’s been sacked six times in Philadelphia’s five wins, and 13 times in its four losses. … The Eagles are 17th in total offense, eighth in rushing and 26th in passing. … Pick you Matthews: Ryan is the Eagles’ leading rusher (396 yards with seven touchdowns, fourth-most TDs in the league); Jordan has 48 catches with three TDs…Veteran running back Darren Sproles is second on the Eagles with 33 receptions. … Philadelphia’s defense is tied for third in the league in points allowed (17.8 per game). It is sixth in total defense, 13th against the run and seventh against the pass. The Eagles have been great defending third downs (allowing a 35.5-percent success rate, fifth-best in the league) and in the red zone (allowing 44.4 percent TDs, tied for third-best). … Last week the Eagles went to more man defense. The league-owned NFL.com said Philadelphia was in man coverage of 18 of 37 Falcons pass plays. Rookie cornerback Jalen Mills, the 23rd-overall pick, covered top Falcons receiver Julio Jones for the majority of the game. Jones had 10 catches in 16 targets for 135 yards. The Seahawks will look for Mills on Sunday, likely sending Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett and perhaps tight end Jimmy Graham at him. … Fellow cornerback Nolan Carroll has started all nine games this season but got a concussion last weekend and is iffy for Sunday’s game. He is currently going through the league’s protocol for that injury. … Common opponent: The Eagles beat the Falcons 24-15 last weekend. The Seahawks beat Atlanta in Seattle 26-24 on Oct. 16. … Eagles coach Doug Pederson is a native of Bellingham who played at Ferndale High School.
Quotable: "It’s going to be tough. We’re going into a hostile environment — "12th Man." We have to come with the same intensity that we come with at home games." Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham, to the Philadelphia Tribune, knowing his team is 1-4 on the road and that Seattle is an NFC-best 82-34 at home since 2002.