It wasn’t always pretty, but a win over a divisional rival is a win. The Eagles head coach spoke to the media on Monday following the win over the Giants, and talked about listening to his players and their input on a game plan, as well as the production from the run game on Sunday.
Here’s what head coach Doug Pederson had to say:
On the run production Sunday
To open, Pederson was asked if the team’s performance on Sunday was sustainable, and how they use that blueprint moving forward. The head coach says he thinks it’s something they can maintain and when they’ve got that balance as an offense they score points and control the ball.
He was then asked what took so long getting that balance — whether it was Corey Clement’s health, or not knowing about Josh Adams’ potential — but Pederson said sometimes it just takes some time to get into that rhythm and find what works. He did compliment the offensive line, as well as the tight ends and receivers, for the putting the backs in a position to succeed up front.
Pederson went on to talk about how Josh Adams was kind of buried in the depth chart for awhile, starting with being on the practice squad because they had guys like Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles in addition to Clement and Wendell Smallwood. But to Adams’ credit, he’s taken the opportunity he has with some of the injuries to show and add value to the offense.
The head coach was sure to point out that Adams’ success doesn’t discredit the work done by Clement and Smallwood, but rather he’s just taken that lead and has the hot hand.
On the Giants win
Pederson said that heading into Sunday’s matchup some of the most important battles were going to be fought up front, with a lot of pressure on the offensive and defensive lines, and he admitted that they needed that type of production from the guys up front.
He went on to say that they needed the defense to put pressure on the quarterback and stop the run, which they did a better job of in the second half.
The head coach was asked about Golden Tate getting 16 targets in the past two games, more than several other receivers combined, and whether that was a good game plan. Pederson noted that they are trying to get everyone the ball, and while that was part of the plan, just because a certain personnel grouping is on the field, doesn’t mean they know who will end up with the ball.
On a related point, he was asked about Zach Ertz and what he’s been doing to be so effective this season — loading up his stat sheet with career-high numbers. Pederson said it was a combination of how he’s worked in the offseason, he’s a year older and wiser and has a better understanding of opposing defenses, in addition to the other offensive weapons they added that leaves him more open.
Later, Pederson was asked how important winning at home was for the team — specifically noting the head coach’s ode to the fans as he was leaving the field — and he noted that they haven’t done all that well in The Linc so far this season, but the fans always show up, and it was a great, loud crowd against the Giants.
On listening to players
One reporter brought up that the coaching staff listened to the offensive players who wanted to run the ball more, and the defensive players who wanted to simplify the scheme a bit, and how important it was for Pederson and his staff to hear from their players.
The head coach said it’s incredibly important because those are the guys on the field and they’re seeing things in real speed but from a different aspect. Pederson also noted that they are also asking for input and emphasizing the need for communication throughout the building.
Pederson also pointed out that they are talking to players every couple of series, so even if it isn’t obvious, they are routinely checking in with each other to make sure they’re putting everyone in the best place to succeed.
He couldn’t talk specifically about Malcolm Jenkins telling Jim Schwartz they need to simplify the defense — as it comes to Pederson through a guy or two — but offensively, it’s him going up to Carson Wentz and asking what he liked about a particular series or any concerns he has, as well as going up and checking in with the offensive line.
The head coach elaborated, that with the quarterback it’s talking about specific plays or schemes or targets, but with the offensive line, it’s more about a mentality and seeing where the momentum is.
Pederson said that everyone who missed Sunday’s game was doing really well, but that they don’t practice again until Thursday so they’ll have to wait and see. He did point out that Jalen Mills, Sidney Jones, and Avonte Maddox are day-to-day and that Jordan Hicks is probably out a little bit longer than that.
He was also asked about Zach Ertz going in for X-rays after the game, but the head coach seemed a bit surprised by the question and said Ertz is doing fine — although that might be simply because he didn’t even know of it, which would indicate nothing for him to worry about.