Doug Pederson Says Eagles Ring Ceremony Marks Time to 'Rip Off the Dog Masks'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 12, 2018

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 12: Head coach Doug Pederson of the Philadelphia Eagles talks to the media prior to the start of Eagles OTA's at NovaCare Complex on June 12, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said Tuesday the team must leave its Super Bowl LII triumph over the New England Patriots in the past and focus fully on the 2018 NFL season following Thursday's ring ceremony.

Pederson told reporters it will be time to "put [the championship] to bed" starting Friday.

"It's a great opportunity for us, great motivating factor for us, to sort of rip off the dog masks and no longer be the underdog, but now be the hunted," he said. "Have the target on our back."

Winning back-to-back Super Bowl titles is an arduous task for a multitude of reasons, including the fact that the reigning champs have a proverbial target on their back all year, as Pederson alluded. The Patriots were the last team to accomplish the feat in 2003 and 2004.

The Eagles' journey to the Lombardi Trophy was surprising given that they lost starting quarterback Carson Wentz to a season-ending knee injury in December.

Journeyman backup Nick Foles, who started his career in Philly and returned prior to last season, filled the void and earned Super Bowl MVP honors to cap his memorable run.

Philadelphia is now in position to make a serious repeat push.

Wentz is expected back in time for the start of the regular season, and the offense will be in the capable hands of Foles should there be a setback in the rising star's recovery. And the Eagles return most of their starters at other positions.

They're listed with the second-best odds (8-1) to win next season's Super Bowl behind only the perennially contending Pats (5-1), per OddsShark.

Their early-season schedule doesn't do them any favors, however, starting with a clash against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1.

They can't afford a Super Bowl hangover, which is likely why Pederson is insistent on leaving their championship celebrations in the rear-view mirror following Thursday's ceremony.

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