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Doug Pederson talks about Nick Foles, his message to Alshon Jeffery, and more

The Eagles head coach already has some new points of focus for the 2019 season.

Divisional Round - Philadelphia Eagles v New Orleans Saints Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson made one last call-in to Philadelphia radio station 94WIP to discuss the end of the team’s postseason run, and had nothing but good things to say about Nick Foles, Alshon Jeffery and the rest of his team despite the loss.

It’ll be a long offseason for Pederson, and there’s a lot of time to figure out contracts and who will or won’t be getting a new deal to stay in Philly, but the overall message was just how proud he was of this group of guys who continued to defy the odds all year long.

Here’s what the head coach had to say:

He opened by talking about how it’s weird to be out of the postseason run, noting that they’re disappointed and hurt. Pederson also said that the finality of things is one of the weirder things about this business, and that throughout the season the guys have given everything they had and played with no regrets, but in the end, they came up short.

Pederson did say, however, that it doesn’t discount that this is the new normal for the Eagles franchise, as he’s said throughout the season. They want and expect to be playing into January each and every season, and they’ve got to continue to establish that kind of culture.

The head coach was asked about something that seemed unique after the game, which was Pederson standing outside the locker room and embracing every single player as they left the field. Pederson noted that it was important for him to do that because he knows how hard these guys work every single day, and how they push through injuries and pain in order to help the team win. He said that he felt it was important to show them that he appreciates and loves them, and he wanted to take that moment to thank them for their efforts.

Pederson also elaborated on what he told Alshon Jeffery after the game:

“Number one, he’s a great player. He’s made a lot of plays for us. I told him to keep his head up. I was proud of him for just continuing to fight and battle. He’s made more good catches than not and I didn’t want this to define him because he’s going to make more of those plays down the road. So I just told him to keep his head up, I was proud of him, and told him I loved him.”

He said that Jeffery taking on the entire loss is part of his nature, but that you can’t just put everything on his shoulders, and that there was enough blame to go around. Pederson even likened it to Cody Parkey the week before, putting the loss on his shoulders. The head coach said that they would learn from it and the team and Jeffery will be better from it.

Pederson was also asked about Nick Foles, who spoke after the game and sort of said a goodbye to the city. The head coach noted it’s a little early to make any declarations, but that he can’t say enough great things about the quarterback.

“For him to come here and be the backup behind Carson and then to do the things he’s done the last two years, like I said I can’t thank him enough. He’s a pro’s pro. He’s a great human being, great leader in the locker room. He’ll always be remembered in Philadelphia for bringing a Super Bowl to this city. So, a lot of great things for him and we’ve got these next few weeks, few months to make some tough decisions, but we’ll make them at that point.”

Pederson talked a bit about the offensive struggles after that strong first quarter, and he noted that it’s something he’s been thinking about ever since the final whistle. He credited the Saints for changing their approach, and also noted that they had a tough time establishing the run game after the momentum-shifting interception in the second quarter.

The head coach also didn’t seem to regret running a play before the two-minute warning, and said he would do it again. Pederson noted that they thought they were going to score on that drive, and were hoping they’d get an extra 5 or 6 yards on that play, especially because at that moment the crowd was kind of taken out of it a bit.

Pederson was also asked about not taking the penalty on the 4th and 1, and knowing that it would probably be a fake punt. He admitted with that one that hindsight is 20/20, but in that situation do you give Drew Brees another third down. Again, he noted it was the decision he made and would probably do it again.

One thing he does wish was different was some of those close games earlier in the year that would have given them a postseason game in The Linc, especially given how important home-field advantage was on Sunday. Pederson said that it’ll be part of his message to the team on Monday, when looking back at the season is setting goals like winning the division, but also winning games you should win. He said those games that they should have won but didn’t will serve as lessons learned in terms of finishing better and coaching better.

Pederson had mentioned that this was the toughest of his three seasons as a head coach, and noted that from a coaching standpoint all the injuries that piled up, especially starters, showed him the importance of building a solid roster on the practice squad and making sure they have depth throughout the lineup.

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