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Bill Belichick’s impressive resume makes it easy for the five-time championship head coach to mandate that players check their egos before joining the New England Patriots.
Doug Pederson didn’t have a hard sell Derick Brassard Penguins Jersey , either.
The Philadelphia Eagles are an unselfish group that prioritizes winning over personal accomplishments. It’s a major reason why the Eagles (15-3) are playing the Patriots (15-3) in the Super Bowl on Sunday.
”It’s a group that doesn’t really care who gets the ball. The bottom line is trying to win the game,” Pederson said. ”I didn’t have to sell it too much.”
Pederson was 7-9 last year in his rookie season as head coach but has guided the Eagles from worst to first in search of the franchise’s first NFL title since 1960. He found a way to blend a young locker room with a mix of accomplished veterans.
The team added veteran receivers Alshon Jeffrey and Torrey Smith, running backs LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi, defensive linemen Chris Long and Tim Jernigan and defensive backs Ronald Darby, Patrick Robinson and Corey Graham.
”I can remember this team showing up in April and talking about being at this place, talking about our dreams, aspirations and focusing on a grind,” safety Malcolm Jenkins said.
”Guys being unselfish, adding guys along the way that added to the team and continued to push, and every time we won and had some success – we even had some adversity – the team believed more and more. It’s been awesome to be a part of.”
Blount led the NFL with 18 touchdowns rushing and earned his second Super Bowl ring last season in New England. He didn’t get a carry in a loss at Kansas City in Week 2 and never complained. Same with Jeffery, who went from No. 1 receiver in Chicago to being one of the guys in Philadelphia.
”We couldn’t care less how many catches or how many carries or how many yards any one guy has,” Blount said. ”We all have one common goal in hand. We all have one thing that we all want more than anything. You can’t be selfish when everybody has one common goal because you have to make sacrifices for the better of the team. We’ve done that and it’s gotten us this far.”
Pederson set the tone and Carson Wentz carried it out with his team-first attitude and that filtered down the roster.
”He’s the most humble guy you come across,” Pederson said. ”He’ll give it right back to the team.”
It was a smooth transition to Nick Foles after Wentz got hurt. Foles also is a respected leader who leads by example. It’s not a coincidence the Eagles sought this type of player.
”This is the most selfless team I’ve ever been around,” Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz said. ”Guys don’t care about stats. They only care about winning. Doug is the best coach I’ve been around in managing players. He lets us show our personalities and if he needs to talk to somebody, he does it quietly and in a mild-mannered way. His selfless leadership is a big reason we’re here.”
The team is one of the closest-knit groups in the league and players genuinely care about each other and spent plenty of time together.
”When you see guys hanging out with players from other position groups, it’s special,” defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said. ”I would go eat dinner with Donnie Jones. You don’t see a guy hanging out with a punter.”
If the Eagles win a few championships, perhaps the standard Pederson has set will eventually become similar to Belichick’s Patriot Way. They have to get the first win first.
AP NFL website: After a slow start, Giancarlo Stanton has been on a roll for the Yankees.
But he also said there’s another gear he can kick into, too.
Stanton hit a three-run homer, CC Sabathia pitched six effective innings Captain Munnerlyn Jersey , and the Yankees beat the Atlanta Braves 6-2 on Wednesday.
Rookie second baseman Gleyber Torres left the game in the top of the fifth inning because of tightness in his right hip and afterward was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right hip strain.
”We’re hoping it’s a short stint. But we think we’ve got to deal with it this time because there is a small strain there,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said outside the home clubhouse after the game.
”Hopefully it won’t be something that it’s too long. Probably take us up to the All-Star break.”
After struggling in his first two months of his debut season in the Bronx, including three games at the end of March, Stanton managed just 11 homers and hit .245.
He settled in and improved in June with eight homers and a .298 average.
”Yeah I can always get better. So yeah, I got to put it together but there’s some balls that I’ve hit hard that could have been in the air, been better,” said Stanton, who’s 6 for 18 (.333) with two home runs and five RBIs through the first four games of July.
”But that’s talking millimeters of (a) difference here. But in terms of in the box, I feel very close.”
Aaron Judge added his 24th homer of the season in the seventh inning. He’s now homered in three of his past four games.
Catcher Kyle Higashioka also homered for the Yankees, becoming the ninth player since 1920 whose first three hits were home runs. Colorado’s Trevor Story homered for his first four big league hits on April 4-6, 2016.
The 28-year-old, who’s spent most of his first 10 professional seasons in the minors, except for a nine-game hitless stint last season, was surprised at what he’s been able to accomplish since his promotion June 25.
”I wouldn’t have thought that my first three hits in the major leagues would be homers, but the most important thing here is winning,” Higashioka said.
Sabathia (6-3) followed his impressive showing last Friday against Boston, the team with the best record in baseball, working out of a couple of jams for the Yankees, who have won six of their past eight after getting swept in three games at Tampa.
National League East-leading Atlanta loaded the bases with two outs in the first, but the 37-year-old struck out 20-year-old phenom Ronald Acuna Jr. on an 88 mph cutter.
”That’s a good lineup. They have a very good team, some good hitters Ian Thomas Jersey ,” Sabathia said. ”Even when I felt I was in control I still had to make pitches. They made me work today.”
The Braves have lost their past two games.
New York took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on Greg Bird’s RBI single off Atlanta starter Julio Teheran (6-6), who lasted just five innings, allowing five hits and five runs. He walked four and struck out 10.
The Yankees got to Teheran again in the third.
With a runner on first and two outs, Aaron Hicks walked. Stanton then fell behind 0-2 before hitting a line drive to the right field bleachers for his 21st homer of the season to make it 4-0.
After retiring the first two batters in the fourth, Teheran fell behind 2-0 against Higashioka before the rookie connected to the left field stands, extending the lead to 5-0.
”You can’t make mistakes to this team,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. ”The way that ball flies around in right center and over, it’s just dangerous. That’s why they are who they are. In spurts, he threw the ball really well.”
The Braves cut the deficit to 5-1 on an RBI grounder from Danny Santana with one out in the fifth. Johan Camargo hit his ninth home run of the season with two outs in the sixth that made it 5-2. But Sabathia limited the damage by retiring Dansby Swanson on a grounder to second with a runner aboard.
Atlanta failed to take advantage in the seventh inning against reliever Chad Green when its first two batters reached on a pair of singles. Green then got three fly outs to end the threat.
PUT ME IN COACH
With New York set to play 11 games in 10 days, beginning Friday at Toronto, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he wanted to be ”greedy” with Thursday being their only day off, and held Austin Romine out of the starting lineup for the fourth consecutive day. Higashioka started for the fourth straight time behind the plate.
The Yankees have been short-handed at catcher since Romine left the game on June 29 against Boston in the seventh inning because of a tight left hamstring. Gary Sanchez has been on the 10-day disabled list since June 25 because of a strained right groin.
Braves: 1B Freddie Freeman, who was hit by a pitch in the third inning, left the game after the fourth because of a contusion in his right upper arm. He expects to be back in the lineup Thursday in Milwaukee.
”I tried to go down in the cage and swing and pretty much topped the ball off the tee,” Freeman said. ”I couldn’t really extend the arm going through the zone. I had no strength. It just kind of swelled up and it looks like a baseball on my tricep right now.”
LHP Luiz Gohara, the No. 3 prospect in the Atlanta organization, arrived about 90 minutes before the first pitch after he was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett for the second time this season. RHP Evan Phillips, who threw 2 1/3 innings Tuesday night, was sent down to Trip
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