Doug Pederson addressed reporters Wednesday morning. Here’s what he talked about:
Dorial Green-Beckham will be held from practice. Pederson said he’s still sore in the oblique area.
Halapoulivaati Vaitai will be held from practice. Pederson said he’s still a little bit away from returning.
Ryan Mathews and Jordan Matthews are both practicing Wednesday.
On Paul Turner’s involvement if Jordan Matthews is ready to return
Getting Paul in there, even with Jordan getting ready to come back, I think it can be a benefit to the offense to have both of those guys ready to go.
On his team’s slow starts
Is there something behind the slow starts?
The start to a game is a mindset. It’s truly a mindset. It’s one of those things where as a team you want to come out and make the first punch, so to speak, or swing first. We did it against Green Bay, went down and scored, matched touchdown for touchdown there, and we’ve done it throughout the course of the season, but we’ve got to be a little more consistent, offensively, too. That can help. And then defensively it’s just a matter of working to get off the field. On third downs, do what we can by scheme, through plays, through a PBU, whatever we can to get off the field on third down, it becomes a mindset. And it can set the tone for the rest of the game.
Do you look at pre-game prep when it’s a repeated problem?
Yeah, I do look at all that. That’s part of my job. But these guys are in a great frame of mind on game day. They’re loose, energetic, ready to go. They’re focused. You see it pre-game. It’s been unfortunate, but it’s something we’ve got to focus in a little more. Obviously this week, a divisional opponent, we’ve got to try to strike first.
On Carson Wentz and trying to move forward
How do you balance going for the playoffs and protecting the future of the franchise?
This is not the time to pull off, obviously. We’ve got to continue to ... like you said, we’re still in the conversation. It’s down there, but we’re still in the conversation, and four games is a lot of football. It’s a quarter of your season. By no means do we want to ease up now. This is the time to push forward, be aggressive, and do the things we did earlier in the season to try and get back to that level of play. That’s the beauty of having an opportunity. And the other thing, too, with three out of four at home, becomes a huge thing for us, too, down the stretch in the hopes of getting where we want to be.
Is he being affected by too many throws?
I don’t think so. I think the effect is we have to do better in the run game. I’ve got to do a better job calling more runs and trying to maintain or limit the number of throws. You don’t even want to throw 60 times. It’s kind of a recipe for disaster. But I don’t have any concerns with where Carson is. I think Carson’s right on track, he’s right where he needs to be. He does an outstanding job every week, and makes ... you look at some of the throws he makes. I don’t concern myself with the number of throws. Just try to limit them if we can.
See any mental fatigue from Carson?
I don’t. He’s played a lot of football. Coming out of college, he’s obviously been in the playoffs with his school and now playing a 16-game, or at this point a 12-game schedule. I don’t see any fatigue. I still see him in the building early, he and Chase in the quarterback room studying and getting ready to go. He’s still doing everything to prepare himself, and I don’t see that fatigue right now.
On Lane Johnson’s impending return
Obviously he comes back on a short week, too, against the Giants. But we’ve got to see where Big V’s at, coming off an injury in hopefully a week or so, and see where he’s at. But we’re beginning the conversations right now, when he does return. We’ll have to see ... we’ve got to get through these two games, see how Allen [Barbre] does, but listen, he was a big part of our success early in the season. I wouldn’t hesitate to put him back in there.
On Zach Ertz’s avoiding contact against the Bengals
If you really go back and look at the play, Carson was ahead of him at the time, and it wouldn’t have been a factor because he was going to go out of bounds at the time. So obviously Zach, he’s taking a lot of heat for it. But he understands, too, that those plays will come up again, and he knows he needs to make one.
On Wendell Smallwood’s progression
Wendell has done everything we’ve asked him to. He’s learning, like a lot of our young players, learning how to be patient in the run game, using his eyes more than his god-given ability, and he keeps working every day. It’s a learning process. I was looking, just thinking, we’ve had five drafted rookies who had lots of play time this week. And that’s valuable. That’s great experience for them going forward.
On whether he talked with Jim Schwartz about maybe blitzing more
We talked. We kind of both agree that if you’re going to blitz more, you’re going to ask your back end to hold up or whatever. You’re going to give something to get something. There’s a fine line there. Going back to the game on Sunday, there were 17 pressures in that game, and we’ve just got to make sure that when we dial it up, we ... a lot of them can be run pressures as well, to stop the run. The others are obviously pass pressures to put pressure on the quarterback. But listen, we’ve just got to trust the process. We’re not going to reinvent the wheel, we’re not going to change for the sake of change. If it benefits us, we will. And I trust Jim and the defensive staff to have a good game plan for us going forward.