The Eagles have landed!
With just two days to adjust and get ready to take on Jacksonville, head coach Doug Pederson spoke to the media on Friday before practice. He talked about the travel and being greeted by Eagles fans at the airport, as well as gave some injury and personnel updates.
Here’s what Pederson had to say:
On the travel
Pederson opened by saying the flight was great and he got four to five hours of sleep. He called having to get their bodies adjusted to the time difference and sleep “tough” but said they prepare for it — noting they have an team of people go and scout out the hotels and area so that they are as prepared as they can be.
He said it’s a little bit of an adjustment but they’ll make it through. On what the team would do schedule-wise on Saturday, Pederson said they want to keep it as normal as possible, and have a few hours of a walk-through practice and keep them going.
But after that, he noted, it’s up to the guys if they want to relax, or go out and see the sites, that they’ll have the opportunity while they’re in London to do that.
Pederson was asked if the team was coming together more since last week’s loss, and the head coach pointed out that the team trip to London is a good way for them to stay connected. He also said that they’ve been doing and saying everything right this week, and hopefully that will show up on Sunday.
He went on to talk about how being all together on further trips from home build that needed camaraderie. He noted that the players aren’t all spread out like they are in Philly, and that the guys can hang out and explore London together if they choose to go out. Pederson said he thinks it’s important that they bond that way.
Later on, Pederson lauded his players for how they’ve embraced this trip and how they’ve handled the travel and even the first morning in London.
Pederson was asked if Jacksonville frequently making the trip to London is an advantage for them, and agreed that it could be. He went on to say that they are familiar with the city and the travel, but at the same time, there are coaches and players on the Eagles who have made the trip as well — even if the team hadn’t played there.
He also talked more about the advance team going and scouting out everything beforehand, which included the ins and outs of Wembley Stadium and the conditions of the field. Pederson said that he and the guys are excited to play in a big stadium, that feels like a playoff atmosphere.
On that note, the head coach was asked about Eagles fans making the trip, and Pederson (with a big smile on his face) talked about walking through the airport and there being Eagles fans chanting. He said it’s exciting that they are in London supporting the team and the guys, but he’s also excited for local NFL fans to attend the game.
On injuries and personnel
Pederson said the team will know about Haloti Ngata after practice on Friday and that he’s a game-time decision, but he’s been trending well.
Corey Graham also made the trip, and the head coach called him day-to-day, but said there is a chance he plays on Sunday and that he’s getting close.
On Darren Sproles, Pederson noted that he’s another day-to-day case, and that they are continuing to work him out but wouldn’t get into the details of the injury. He did confirm that it’s a hamstring issue, but with that kind of injury, they don’t want him to return too soon. Pederson said, “I believe so,” when asked if he felt confident that Sproles would play this year.
He was asked for an update on Timmy Jernigan, and Pederson said that Jernigan is another guy they hope to get back in the next couple of weeks. He said that Timmy has been doing well, and they’ll have to see where he’s at, but he’s another one trending in the right direction.
With Derek Barnett on IR, the team called up practice squad cornerback Chandon Sullivan, and Pederson said that the kid has done everything right and that this is going to be a great opportunity for him. He was non-committal about how much playing time he’d get, but the head coach said Sullivan has put himself in a position to help the team, and the team was excited for him.