The Eagles are coming off a win against the Jaguars, and not only did they get back to 4-4 on the season, but they were able to overcome a unique travel situation and find a way to finish strong during the fourth quarter.
Sure, there were still some glaring issues throughout the contest, but for the most part, there was a spark that has been few and far between since the 2017 season.
Doug Pederson spoke to the media on Monday, and here’s what the head coach had to say:
Pederson was asked how both Lane Johnson and Jalen Mills were doing, but the head coach noted that due to the late flight home and weird schedule, they pushed their treatments back, so he doesn’t have any updates on any of the guys at the time of the presser.
He was then asked if anyone — on the currently long list of Eagles players on IR — that might be getting close to coming back. He admitted that a couple of guys are getting close, and over the next couple of weeks they’ll keep an eye on that.
He specifically pointed to Richard Rodgers and Mack Hollins as guys who were injured early on and could be activated off injured reserve, and noted that Mike Wallace is a little bit behind them but he’s coming along well, too.
Pederson continued to talk about other guys who could come back that didn’t make their way to IR, including Darren Sproles who is still day-to-day. He lauded the guys for putting in the work needed to get back on the field, and said that with an extra week of rest there’s a chance they see some players return after the bye.
On any potential upcoming trades
He was asked if he expects the team to make any moves ahead of the trade deadline, and he answered by simply saying that he is extremely comfortable with the guys they have currently on the roster.
Pederson said again, as he’s said before, that they are constantly looking at ways to improve the roster, and if there’s an opportunity to do that, they will, but “we’ll see”.
He then was asked whether the injuries have affected their plan for the trade deadline, and he said it was certainly something to consider, but there are a lot of other aspects to bringing in a new player, like their fit within the locker room and the scheme.
On the RB situation
The head coach was asked about last year’s running back room having LeGarrette Blount, who was a strong, short-yardage kind of guy, and whether he has someone to fill that role currently on roster — specifically if Josh Adams might take on that role.
Pederson said, “I think we have that guy,” and went on to say he called more run plays on 3rd and 2, 3rd and 3 that were converted. He pointed out that Adams was in on those plays, but also complimented Wendell Smallwood on some of his impressive carries on Sunday, and added Corey Clement to the list of guys who can get them those yards in short situations.
He did say that the success of the run game is predicated upfront, and he noted that the offensive line played really well against Jacksonville. But ultimately, he’s really comfortable with the guys in the running back room as of now.
Later on, Pederson was asked if running Adams more throughout the contest was due to game planning or whether it was because of him getting hot early on. He acknowledged it was a little bit of both — RB coach Duce Staley had Adams written in to a few different schemes heading into the matchup, and then he had the hot hand in the second half.
Pederson was asked about Corey Clement’s development from Year 1 to Year 2, and the head coach said he’s done a really good job and is a valuable part of what they’re doing. He noted Clement dealing with an injury early on in the season hampering his production, but also lauded his value on special teams.
On the O-line’s versatility
With so many injuries throughout Sunday’s contest, there was a lot of movement along the offensive line. Pederson talked about how important it is to have versatility among their players, especially with those backup and/or swing guys.
He credited not only the players, but the coaches for getting them ready for that kind of situation. Pederson also admitted that rotating those guys does impact the play-calling a little bit at the beginning, as you try and get them acclimated to the speed of the game, he may call a run or two or a quick pass to get him settled in.
On the team’s energy
Pederson was asked if this win served as the kind of catalyst that he was hoping for before the team flew to London, and he admitted it feels that way. He said the guys had about 2.5 days together, and they handled their business, and were able to bond some in the process.
He continue to talk about how it was good trip, and a good road win — even pointing out that despite that being more of a neutral site game, that it felt like a home game with a “really good contingency of Eagles fans there”.
On looking ahead this season
The head coach was asked what the team needs to work on and focus on as they get ready for the back-half of the season — a back-half that could be much more challenging than the first.
Pederson said they need to continue to get better in third down situations — despite being better on Sunday — as well as get better in the redzone and “score more points”. He noted that as the playcaller, he has some control over those kinds of things.
On defense, he noted, the redzone defense “is playing extremely well” and so the goal is to just keep improving and keep getting better, and hopefully the team gets some of the injured players back.
He also noted that they will face five division opponents in the next eight weeks, which is it’s own challenge, but that they are opponents the team is familiar with.