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Doug Pederson: The Eagles are ‘extremely close’ to competing each year

The Eagles’ head coach feels good about his team.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Doug Pederson spoke to reporters following Sunday’s 27-13 win over the Cowboys. Here’s what he touched on:

What do you take out of today’s win?

“Just how well these guys fought the entire season, and all the way down to the end. I challenged the team a couple weeks ago, as far as let’s finish the season the right way, and our last month of the season has been heading in the right direction. It’s great to finish strong, two division opponents this way. Kicking off the year the right way.”

Will there be changes to the coaching staff?

“I’m going to evaluate everything. Obviously, right now, nothing. But we’re just ... we’re going to get into the offseason, take some time to evaluate. But I don’t anticipate anything.”

Have you seen increased intensity from Zach Ertz since the Bengals game?

“Zach’s a great athlete, he’s got great pride, and he’s a big part of what we’re doing. It’s tough being in that ... I’ve been in those situations, been on teams where it’s, every week is a challenge for players to get themselves ready to play, and you’re up sometimes, you’re down, but Zach, he’s really playing his best football here at the end. I don’t know if it’s the incident you mentioned, or just the pride he has to play at a high level? Whatever it is, he’s really come on and done some really great things. We look forward to his future and continuing to work with him.”

What do you think of Carson Wentz’s first full season?

“He set a record for completions from a rookie, I believe, today. For him to get outside of the game a week ago, get all the reps, all the snaps? His progression from the start of the year to today is night and day, better. He’s really seeing the field, he’s surveying the field, he’s using his legs, he’s being a runner, he knows where everyone’s going to be, he’s got great dialogue and communication on the sideline, and on the football field.

“His leadership, he’s an exciting player to watch and to coach. It’s a pleasure having him this year, in his rookie season, to do the things he’s done is just amazing. I’m really looking forward to the offseason and building for next year.”

What do you think of Mychal Kendricks’ season?

“I’ll tell you, it’s tough. He’s that sort of swing linebacker. Teams play so much what we call 11 personnel, that he’s just, by the nature of the game, not on the field. And learning a new scheme, learning that position, like I tell the team all the time, you’re not going to be perfect. It’s how you respond. I thought he hung in there and battled. Was it always right? No, probably not. But at the same time, he’s a big part of that defense, very athletic, very talented, and just something that’s by the nature of the game plans, he’s not on the field enough.

“I think he’s a perfect fit for this system, that backside linebacker. He can run sideline to sideline, he’s a physical guy. Going into this offseason he’ll have a full season of digesting the defense and the scheme. And I expect some good things coming up through OTAs, next year, and training camp.”

What does this team need in order to be better next season?

“You know, I’m going to wait to answer that, because we’ve got an evaluation process these next few weeks to really evaluate everything. It’s really hard to do that right now, and until we can evaluate, sit down, and really see where we are and what we need, I think we can answer it at a better time.”

You said you meet with Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman weekly. What are the meetings like?

“Those are obviously closed-door meetings, so I’m not going to get into everything, but they’re obviously very positive. We get into a lot of things. We talk about the health of the team, there’s some business things that are discussed. Even sometimes just, how are you doing? Through the adversity of the season, just wanting to know how I’m feeling, if I’m okay, if I need anything. Those kinds of things. Along with some other football-related items. But those are obviously closed-door.”

Do you think this team is close to being where you want it?

“We’re very close. We’re very close. When you talk to coaches around the league, they see it on the outside. And even though the win-loss and everything is not in our favor. I think we lost six games by a touchdown or less. We’ve just got to learn to make more plays and finish those games. But I think we’re extremely close, extremely close to being a team to compete each year, not only for the NFC East but also for the postseason.”

How have you changed as a coach over the season?

“I haven’t changed any part of what I do each week. It’s still the same from a game plan standpoint, from a leadership standpoint with the team, being consistent with the team on my messaging to them. I think, as a coach, I’ve grown this season in the play calling realm. And utilizing personnel, and getting young players on the football field. That’s another thing. We’ve played a lot of young players.

“It’s managing all that, and making sure we’ve got the right pieces on the field. Me, personally, I’m still the same guy as when I started back in September. Maybe just a little thicker skin, dealing with you guys. But other than that, nothing else has changed.”

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