Doug Pederson likened the talent on the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles to the great Green Bay Packers teams of the 1990s -- even giving the advantage to his current squad -- while noting ability only gets you so far.
Speaking with a group of reporters before the team's summer break, the head coach was asked if the Eagles are capable of winning big this with receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith and running back LeGarrette Blount entering the fold.
"You're capable. ... I look back at my time in Green Bay as a player when we were making those playoff runs and those Super Bowl runs there, and do we have as much talent on this team than we did then? We probably have more talent, right?" Pederson said.
"But we also had a lot of talent in  here and where did that get us? So there's got to be a combination of blending all this talent with the coaching staff, with my ideas and philosophy, to bring that all together, put the egos aside, put pride aside, and just go focus on winning this game that we have in front of us. I'm a big believer [that] if you do that, then you look back at the end of the season and you're probably going to be where you want to be, and that's playing in the postseason."
Pederson served as a backup quarterback in Green Bay from 1996 to '98 and again from 2001 to '04. During his first stint, the Packers -- led by Brett Favre, Reggie White, Dorsey Levens and Desmond Howard -- went 37-11 and appeared in a pair of Super Bowls, winning one. That's a world apart from an Eagles team that hasn't won a playoff game since 2008 and is coming off a 7-9 season. There is confidence young Carson Wentz is a franchise quarterback and a belief the team should make strides now that his weapons have been upgraded.
Pederson has also been around long enough to know free agency can deliver false promise. As he referenced, he was an assistant coach in Philly in 2011 when the "Dream Team" was assembled, a chemistry-less bunch featuring Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins and Vince Young that needed four straight wins to end the season to finish 8-8.
Pederson says the biggest question heading into training camp is whether the pieces will mesh.
"You acquire all this new talent through the draft, through free agency, always having roster moves. And so being able to bring all of that together through training camp ... you keep asking yourself that question of just how well can they join together and play together, and you don't know until you start playing in July and August."
So where should the bar be set: 10-6 or higher? A postseason run? Pederson noted myriad variables can impact a season and shift expectations ("I'm not going to put myself in a box that way," he said) but made it clear he anticipates better results.
"If we win eight, go 8-8, is that a successful year? No. ... I don't coach to be average, I'll tell you that," he said. "These players don't practice the way they do to be average. We're all in this together, and we'll just continue to work every single day till we get to that goal.
As for being on a talent level with the Favre-led Packers, Pederson said, "I think we're there. It's just bringing all that together ... that's the thing."