After week of heat, Eagles players cool Doug Pederson off with Gatorade bath

LANDOVER, Md. -- As the clock ticked to zero, making the Eagles' first win against the Washington Redskins in three years official, Philadelphia defensive end Steven Means and linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill decided to give coach Doug Pederson a Gatorade bath.

"I saw Means go over there and grab it, and I was like, 'Hell yeah.' Huge win, divisional game, first game, so let's get it rolling," Grugier-Hill said. "Great job by Coach getting us ready and getting us prepared, and we're rolling now."

The coach offered his take.

"I'm appreciative of it," Pederson said, "but, yeah, a little sticky."

The Eagles had dropped their past five games against Washington -- a fact Pederson harped on leading into Sunday's contest, according to several players. Afterward, he talked about the team wanting to get "the monkey off our backs down here against the Redskins."

There was some additional heat on Pederson this week, as he faced criticism about his qualifications and whether everybody was on board with the program. It did not go unnoticed in the locker room.

"That's Philly," left tackle Jason Peters said. "Second-year head coach. Pressure is on him, pressure is on us. We had to get this win for Doug."

Grugier-Hill gave his assessment.

"It's all nonsense, honestly," Grugier-Hill said. "He gets us prepared every week, he knows how to connect with us, he's been through it. I think personally he's a great coach. So whatever other people are saying, they can eff off, because this is our house and we're going to back him no matter what he does."

While a win, some supportive words and a postgame dousing don't hurt, the fact remains that Pederson will be under heavy scrutiny in Year 2. As quarterback Carson Wentz showed once again in the opener, he has talent. This season will go a long way in determining whether Pederson is the right head coach to pair with him over the long term.

Pederson has his share of skeptics on the outside, in part because some believe he got the gig as a result of his connection with former Eagles coach Andy Reid. As it happens, Pederson will face Reid next, as the Eagles travel to Kansas City to face the Chiefs on Sunday.

Pederson has a little wind in his sails heading into that game, thanks to a long-awaited win over Washington and some player endorsements afterward.

"He's a coach that is young in this league who's really, I think, been pushing us to be a more consistent team, be a real power in this league," safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "And for us to start off 1-0 on the road, obviously we're happy for him as players, him being our leader.

"Nobody really cares about [the criticisms]. We've got a family mentality here. Everybody that we've got in this locker room and in the building is family. This is who we're taking to battle week in and week out, and we'll let the outside noise stay outside."