Doug Pederson took the podium in the belly of Paul Brown Stadium after the Eagles’ hideous loss to the Bengals on Sunday afternoon. Here’s what he talked about with reporters:
On what he saw in the loss
“Obviously very disappointed in the way we played, and it’s a collective effort, all three phases, tonight. It’s something that we pride ourselves to play better and to not turn the ball over, to get off the field on third downs, to rush the passer. All the things we’re not doing right now, we’ve got to get back to doing.
“And I just mentioned to the team after the game that individually, and myself included — I tell you guys this every week. I’m the hardest critic on myself, and i’m with that group in the locker room. We all have to take that collective effort, individually take that collective effort, and just look at yourself in the mirror, the man in the mirror and see if you’re doing enough, if we’re putting ourselves in the positions to win. It’s not for a lack of effort.
“It’s just the discipline of your assignments, your jobs, and just ... you can look at a little bit of the adversity. We lost our right tackle there, when things started going the other direction, and to throw 60 times, that means you’re coming from behind. We put ourselves in a bind early in this football game, and it’s going to be a learning lesson for [Wentz], obviously. He stood in there and just shows you the kind of character and toughness you have.”
What happened, and changed, from 3-0 to now?
“There’s probably a lot of factors. I think one you can look at a little bit of adversity. We lost our right tackle, when things started going the other direction. There were some injuries in there. Teams had film on us, film on Carson, could attack differently, and then it just all begins to snowball. It gets us in this situation that we’re in.”
What’s going on with Carson? What’d you see today?
“I’ve said this week in, week out, you never want your quarterback to throw 60 times. That means you’re playing from behind, and we put ourselves in a bind early in this football game. It’s going to be a learning lesson for him, obviously. But he stood in there, led the football team, took some shots, it shows you the character and toughness he has.”
Anything specific that went wrong on some of his throws?
“It’s strictly mechanics, if you watch it. It’s just that we’ve got to get him off his back foot, and stepping into some of these throws, and trusting the decision down the field. There were opportunities, and we just, a young quarterback ,missed quite a bit of time in the preseason, but we’ve got to keep cleaning things up.”
How do you prevent the season from spiraling out of control?
“I’m hurting like the players are. I’m obviously disappointed, because I felt we’ve had some opportunities to win some of these games, and put ourselves in better positions to win, even with all the adversity we’ve faced in the last few weeks. We still have a month of football left, and obviously three of the four left are division opponents. We’ve got some challenges, but I told the guys in the locker room, this thing can go one of two ways. I only know the one way it’s going to go, and that’s up. We’ve just got to dig ourselves out of this hole, and it starts next week.”
What’s the mood of the team?
“The mood is obviously everybody’s dejected and down. And we’ll be this way for a while. But the fact of the matter is we come back to work on Tuesday with these guys, and we’re on to our next opponent. We put this one to rest. We learn from it, number one, and that’s the thing with young players, putting them in those positions and those situations right now. It’s just a learning experience for them, and I just know this is going to make us better. Again, we’ve got a month left, and we’re going to continue to work hard.”
What went wrong with the defense today?
“It’s disappointing. Obviously we’ve got to continue to put pressure on the quarterback, and sometimes it’s hard with just four guys, and that’s something we have to look at as a staff and make sure we’re doing the right thing there. The other thing is just third down conversions. Teams are being able to stay on the field with third down conversions, and we’ve got to find a way, in those areas, to make a play. And it’s just a ... it goes back to a collective effort, again. Just doing your job, doing your assignment. Focus on your assignment, focus on your technique, and try to make that play work.”
How do you make sure guys are invested in the next game?
“I can just go in that locker room, talk to each one individually, and just look at their faces, and just see how they feel. They’re all dejected. That tells me enough right there, that we’re still together and they’re with everything we’re doing. It’s going to be a great test for the leadership on our team, and the guys are going to have to rally. Even the young guys. You just have to -- listen, everyone, myself included, we have to demand excellence. Is it going to be perfect all the time? No, it’s not. But you have to go in with enough pride and enough want-to that you want that perfection, and nothing less than that.”