Eagles head coach Doug Pederson has softened his original stance on the team’s offensive performance last week against the Jets, but knows that there are still a lot of ways to make the group better. He spoke to the media on Friday before the team hits the road about his expectations for the offense — particularly as an offensive-minded coach — and what they’re prepared to see from the Vikings.
Pederson said he’s not going to use their game against the Vikings a couple years ago when preparing the Eagles’ for the matchup, but will talk about how they’re going into a hostile environment, will need to handle the crowd noise, and look at this as the next game they need to win.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On expectations of Vikings defense
“This is an aggressive group, good pass rush, good blitz package on third down. [Mike Zimmer’s] guys know this scheme inside and out, and he’s got good personnel on defense. So, it makes it tough, it makes it a challenge. You have to be able to handle their front four, obviously, and they rotate 5, 6, 7 guys in there, and they’re all capable of rushing the passer. And then, the challenge is to do that with noise, crowd noise. He does a great job of coaching them up, and they fly around.”
On 12 personnel and only 2 TEs
Pederson was asked if it was risky to run so much 12 personnel and yet still only have two tight ends — Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert — on the active roster. The head coach (smiling) noted that they count Big V as a tight end in certain situations, but obviously aren’t going to throw him the ball much.
He went on to talk about how they make sure the two guys feel good, and try to give them as much rest as they can, but “it is was it is right now.” Pederson joked that if it were Christmas everyday they’d have a third tight end, but they’re just working with what they’ve got.
On the RB room with injuries
Corey Clement hasn’t been at practice the past few days and Pederson was asked if that, along with Darren Sproles being sidelined, affects their plan for the running backs. The head coach said they’re looking at that, and they do have Boston Scott on the practice squad if needed.
On expectations from the offense
Pederson was clearly not happy with the offensive performance last week against the Jets, and he was asked if he’s harder on himself, and on the team, because he’s an offensive guy. The head coach noted that he does find himself asking that same question, and admitted he is harder on himself because of that. He said that it starts with him, and he holds himself accountable for some of the issues they had.
He said it’s also important to take a step back and re-evaluate things on a Monday or Tuesday and re-watch the tape. As Pederson mentioned on Monday, things aren’t often as bad (or as good) as you think in the moment, and looking back he said that they “played pretty well” against the Jets.
The head coach clarified that they didn’t execute well, but looking at their assignments and jobs, they did those things well. So, from that standpoint, he was able to take a deep breath and realize things were okay.
Pederson mentioned that he also had to look at what the Jets’ defense was doing scheme-wise, and it’s a bit unique, so they did a good job disrupting the offense’s timing and caused some of the worries after the game.
He said as the head coach he obviously wants all three phases to perform well, and on Sunday the defense played “outstanding”. But with him being an offensive-minded coach, and seeing what’s happening around the league, he can’t compare the Eagles offense’s to others (because they’re different), but he can take what they do and make it better.
Pederson said they don’t have all their piece, with DeSean Jackson and Darren Sproles out, but when they get the guys back, he knows what they are capable of — and saw flashes of it against Washington in Week 1.
- Sidney Jones has been able to practice all week, and Pederson expects him to be able to able to play on Sunday. He later said that based on what they’ve seen in practice, Jones would probably be able to take a full work load during the game.
- Regarding DeSean Jackson, the wide receiver was able to do some running in rehab that the head coach had mentioned earlier in the week. Jackson has progressed each day and done a nice job, he’ll do more running on Friday but the key is to make sure he’s not still sore.