The Eagles are back at practice on Wednesday, but before the team hit the field, head coach Doug Pederson stepped up to the podium to talk to the media. There are still a lot of question marks surrounding offensive player availability heading into the Week 4 matchup against the Titans, but it’s still a little too early in the week to get definitive answers.
Here’s what the head coach had to say about getting Carson Wentz ready for his second game of the year, and how they are preparing for Tennessee.
The team is still waiting on one more test before determining the availability of Rodney McLeod, but they should have an answer by the end of the week.
Alshon Jeffery is OFFICIALLY cleared for contact now, but the team still has to determine whether or not he’s ready to play on Sunday. Pederson said they have to see how he moves in practice and see where he’s at physically with all of his rehab, and that it’s important that they make sure that everything is right before they put him back on the field.
Running backs Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles are both feeling good, but the team won’t know until later in the week if they’ll be ready to get back in the mix against the Titans.
On Titans prep
Pederson wouldn’t get into details about the workload that Jeffery would get if they did let him play, and wouldn’t comment on whether or not they’d ease him back into the offense.
(Game-planning Doug is mysterious, and I respect that.)
Getting Jeffery back should be a boost to the team and would allow for some different game planning as a guy who often draws double coverage.
If Sproles is back on Sunday, he’ll be back to fielding punts, but if he can’t go that job will still be with Corey Clement. Pederson quipped, “Have you ever tried to catch a punt in the rain?” when talking about their confidence in Clement on punt returns after the Colts game.
Even as the Eagles get some of the offensive pieces back, there is still going to be room for improvement and time for development. It’s not going to be them picking up right where they left off last year, that’s just not realistic.
Pederson expects things to come into focus for Carson Wentz more this week, and the more reps and more time he’s out there will help him improve, and the game itself will slow down.
In what the head coach is expecting from Wentz this week, he noted that he wants the QB to improve incrementally, more attention to detail and to work through his progressions. Most of all just letting the game slow down a little bit, which should be much easier this week without all of the emotions about his first game back in front of a home crowd.
Pederson was also asked what he thought of Titans QB Marcus Mariota, and the head coach acknowledged he really liked him coming out of college. He pointed out Mariota’s athleticism, attention to detail, his work ethic and intelligence, and that he’d flourish in the right system — which he seems to have found in Tennessee.
He continued to talk about how Mariota can be dangerous outside the pocket and throws a really good ball.
On Fletcher Cox
Pederson lauded the defender for setting lofty goals like winning Defensive Player of the Year, and pointed out Cox is one of the players who could work to actually make it happen.
He also noted that Cox’s maturity and taking on more responsibility has led to him taking on more of a leadership role with the team this season.
On roughing the passer penalties
The officials have a tough job deciphering some of the rule changes.
As a former QB it appears that some of those are good, clean hits, but he ultimately doesn’t make those decisions, so you just have to accept that something like that is going to happen. He said those penalties are things they’ll need to learn from.