Eagles players past and present are sounding off about what their head coach, Doug Pederson, did Sunday night, benching quarterback Jalen Hurts for Nate Sudfeld, compromising his team’s chance to beat Washington. Giants players are sounding off about what their head coach, Joe Judge, said in response to Pederson’s antics, which aided in costing the Giants a shot at the playoffs.
“I think it was an awesome message by coach Judge,’’ linebacker Blake Martinez said Tuesday. “It’s something he has kind of instilled in us since Day 1. Always competing, always being ready to play, always putting us in the right position to win games. I think it was just an awesome way to go about it.’’
Judge, without mentioning the Eagles or Pederson, said Monday: “To disrespect the effort that everyone put forward to make this season a success for the National Football League, to disrespect the game by going out there and not competing for 60 minutes and doing everything you can to help those players win. We will never do that as long as I’m the head coach of the New York Giants.”
While watching the Eagles fall to Washington 20-14 — eliminating the Giants from the postseason — cornerback James Bradberry said something stood out to him more than Pederson’s quarterback switcheroo.
“The Eagles defense was playing really well,’’ Bradberry said. “I felt like the Eagles offense they weren’t really getting it going. Of course they made that late quarterback change in the fourth quarter. But watching the whole game I wasn’t really questioning the coaches’ decisions and stuff, I was just impressed by how well the Eagles defense was playing. The game was real close, they weren’t playing for anything, and I’ve been in that situation before, so I know how things can be as a player. So I was glad they were playing hard.’’
Rookie safety Xavier McKinney made the game-clinching interception in the closing seconds of the season-ending victory over the Cowboys and then immediately cued up an old tweet from Fox Sports rabble-rouser and Cowboys fan Skip Bayless.
“Yeah, man, I didn’t even get to see when he first said it, and I saw it, somebody just mentioned it to me, probably a couple days ago,’’ McKinney said. “So, I had one kinda in my bag a little bit, trying to play with it a little bit.’’
Bayless on April 24 took to Twitter to post his thoughts on the Giants taking McKinney with the 36th-overall pick in the draft: “Glad the Giants took the Bama safety, Xavier McKinney, I did not want the Cowboys to take.’’
McKinney not long after getting his first NFL interception to eliminate the Cowboys from playoff contention tweeted back at Bayless: “Happy Belated New Year’s Skip’’ with a winking emoji.
Judge said as soon as he saw the interception and saw McKinney darting around his first reaction was “stay in the damn end zone.’’ McKinney admitted that was not his first thought.
“In college, I remember I caught one and I was in the end zone, it was the end of the game, and it was kinda like this same scenario, and in college, I caught the interception and took a knee,’’ McKinney said. “Everybody was like, ‘Man, you need to run it out.’ So when I get this one, as soon as I caught it, my first instinct was just to go, because I was just trying to take it the distance, to be honest, but I heard Logan [Ryan], really I heard Logan tell me to get down, and as soon as I heard that, I just slid and I was happy with the end result that we got with that.’’