The Eagles head coach was all smiles on Victory Monday and spoke to reporters about some of the team’s successes against the Texans, and identified areas they still need to improve. He did confirm that Nick Foles would be the starter against Washington in Week 17, but wouldn’t identify their plan should the make the playoffs.
Here’s what Doug Pederson had to say:
Nick Foles does not have any cracked or broken ribs, and Pederson said he’s fine and will start for the Eagles against Washington. Despite that, the head coach said there is still no plan to put Carson Wentz on IR.
With the rest that he’s getting, Wentz may be back ahead of the initial three month timetable, but it’s something that will depend on how things heal naturally. So, they know they’ll at least still with Foles this week, and then next week take a look at Wentz again and see how he’s progressed.
Jason Peters is going to be day-to-day, but Pederson noted he’s kind of been that way all season and they’ll keep monitoring him throughout the week.
Timmy Jernigan came out of the contest fine, and didn’t re-aggravate his back injury, and barring any setbacks this week, Pederson expects him to have an increased workload against Washington.
Sidney Jones is a little further out, but is considered day-to-day, and Isaac Seumalo is also day-to-day, and could return this weekend.
Mike Wallace is getting better, and he’ll entertain some individual reps on Wednesday and Thursday and they’ll see where he’s at.
On their playoff position
Pederson was asked if the team makes the playoff, who they would go with at quarterback if Wentz was able to get back on the field. The head coach noted that it’s tough to say at this point because they still have to face and beat Washington. He said they’ll answer those questions next week if they are in that position.
The head coach was asked about trying to keep the playoff scenario away from the guys, but he quipped that they know and you can’t really hide it. He said they can’t control what Washington shows on their scoreboard, and when asked if he’d rather not know what’s happening with Minnesota, Pederson said he didn’t think it mattered.
He went on to say that the guys are playing for a lot of different reasons and there’s a lot of pride in the locker room. But if they put the score up during the game, Pederson said he won’t be taking a peak, “that’s what I have Brett for,” he joked.
Later on, he was asked if he was going to call Bears head coach Matt Nagy to help them out a little bit next week, and Pederson joked that he maybe had already done that Monday morning.
On the state of the team
Pederson said he thinks they’ve gotten better throughout the season, and you definitely want to be playing your best football collectively as a group this time of year. He did say though that they didn’t run the ball very well against the Texans, and had 11 penalties and were behind in the turnover rate, so there are still things they need to work on. But he does think in all three phases they are playing the best collectively than they have all year.
He was asked about the increase in the average of yards per pass against Houston and what they attribute that to. Pederson said it has a lot to do with their opponent, and noted no one was hammering him about RPOs simply because they won on Sunday, when you’re not losing those things aren’t questioned as much.
Pederson also said that each of these games is a playoff game for the team and that the guys are playing with a heightened sense of awareness for their position. He said there’s been a greater sense of urgency the past few weeks knowing they have to win out in order to have a chance at the postseason.
Looking back to earlier in the year and where they are now, Pederson was asked what he thinks the identity of the team is. He explained that he listened to the post game comments by players like Chris Long and Zach Ertz, and at this moment their identity is to be more physical than their opponent, to not care who gets the credit, try to be a run-first offense, and on defense to be flying around the field.
He went on to say that people talk about a Philly-type team, and this is who they are right now.
On Darren Sproles
The head coach was asked if he’s surprised that Sproles has been able to return the past few weeks to such a high level after having not played much the past two years. Pederson said he was not surprised, because he’s watched the guy day-in and day-out, from rehab to his practice, and Sproles goes 100 miles an hour in everything he does. So when he comes out on Sunday and plays like that, it’s not surprising because they’ve seen it during the week. Pederson said it’s a credit to him and where he is in his career.
On the Texans game
Pederson was asked about the momentum shift after Josh Adams’ fumble, and the head coach talked about how he’s a young player, but they always stress in that four-minute offense to have two hands on the ball. He said it was a great learning experience for Adams.
He talked about how Nelson Agholor is in a great place, mentally and physically, and even though he might not be getting the same number of snaps or targets, he shows up to work everyday and practices hard and is ready to step up when he’s called upon. Pederson said he’s stayed steady and constant, and is someone they can count on.
On Lane Johnson’s Pro Bowl snub
Lane Johnson told reporters yesterday that when he learned he didn’t make the Pro Bowl, he drove to the NovaCare Complex in the middle of the night and actually slept there. Pederson said he was aware of that, and thought it was a little odd (but not for Lane), but continued that Johnson was motivated to prove that he’s a good tackle, and he did that Sunday.