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Doug Pederson talks about facing a familiar coach and a tough Bears defense

Plus, he talked about Golden Tate’s usage and Nick Foles’ late-season success.

The Eagles are back for walk-through’s on Wednesday and head coach Doug Pederson spoke to the media about getting prepared for their wildcard matchup against the Bears, and what he’s expecting to see from his former colleague.

Here’s what the head coach had to say:

Injury Updates and Practice Schedule

Pederson opened by wishing everyone a Happy New Year and also said he was looking over the transcripts from Tuesday’s press conferences with the coordinators (Jim Schwartz and Mike Groh) and quipped that he appreciated there being more questions about their opponent than about injuries.

He went on to say that he’s a believer in if it’s not broke, don’t fix it, and that’s the approach he takes with regards to his practice schedule of late heading into the postseason. They’ve had scaled back practices the past few weeks and has kept the guys a little more fresh for the games, so it’s something that he’s sticking with. He said the schedule does require the coaches to put some extra time into meetings and the players to watch some extra film, but at this stage of the season there’s no need to change things up.

Pederson was asked whether Isaac Seumalo would take back the starting job if he were healthy enough to play on Sunday, and the head coach noted that they’re taking it one step at a time and that they first need to see if he’s even ready to go.

On the wide receivers

Pederson talked a bit about Golden Tate, noting that he’s the No. 3 guy in the slot behind Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor, but said he mixes in well and gives the quarterback an opportunity to complete passes, as well as noting Tate is a good route-runner.

The head coach went on to say that they were already happy with that group when they brought Tate in, but that he added some depth for them — while noting that it doesn’t take away from what Jordan Matthews has done.

Pederson went on to say that Tate has made some important plays for the Eagles, whether it’s on third downs or give opportunity to run after the catch.

On Nick Foles

It was brought up again that Foles has been getting the ball out faster than he has prior in his career, and Pederson said that it’s related to him understanding the offense and being comfortable within the system and knowing where the guys are going to be.

Pederson said that it helps the offense stay a little bit ahead of the chains, and that Foles has been accurate in those passes as well.

The head coach noted that it’s a little easier to tailor the offense for Foles and get the QB ready this time around, especially having to do it last season in the postseason, but also with them having the first two games of this season and the offseason to work together.

Pederson was asked what makes Foles so good in December and in these high-pressure situations, and the head coach said first and foremost he’s int he building early and he studies hard. Secondly, he understands the game plan and how they want to attack an opponent, and also understands protection — which he notes is something all three of the Eagles QBs do and understand.

He echoed that this time of year, you don’t need to re-create the wheel, and they can build off the things they’ve have success with.

On Bears prep

Pederson said that they need to know where Khalil Mack is lined up each play, and that it is a challenge since he can lineup on either side. He went on to say that Mack is a talented player and is someone who can get after the quarterback, so they’ll need to be aware of where he is at all times.

The head coach went on to say that it’s not just Mack either, but that Chicago has a much-improved front in general and it’s better than they’ve seen from them the past few years.

Pederson was also asked about his relationship with Matt Nagy and how that affects this matchup. He noted that with them both being on offense, and Nagy’s offense being a bit different than what they did together in Kansas City, but that they probably understand the psyche of each other.

He then talked about how the Bears have a great defense, and they set out to stop the run every week, not just against the Eagles. Pederson referenced the Houston game, and said while they didn’t do a great job of protecting the quarterback, if they can do a better job of that against Chicago then they won’t have to rely so much on the passing game. Regardless, you still have to try and run the ball and you can’t go three-and-out every drive, but at some point in the game you have to decide whether to stick with the run or abandon in.

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