The Eagles have been making moves and adjustments this week, and head coach Doug Pederson spoke to the media on Wednesday about the Zach Brown move, the state of the defense and also gave some injury updates.
The head coach mentioned that the team as a whole is really close, and while he would’ve liked to be saying that coming off a win, he’s still confident in this group. Pederson said the guys are all working extremely hard, but they just have to continue to work because it’s already Week 7 and they’re looking ahead at a 10-game season.
He confirmed that nothing that has happened this week — the comments about beating Dallas or releasing Zach Brown — has anything to do with his confidence in this team.
Here’s what else the head coach had to say.
Pederson said Jason Peters’ injury is a little bit more extensive, probably a “week-to-week” designation for him. This means that 2019 first-round pick Andre Dillard is slated to start at left tackle moving forward.
Pederson had mentioned earlier in the week that Ronald Darby will ramp things up this week and Jalen Mills is cleared for practice. The head coach confirmed Cre’Von LeBlanc is not able to return to practice yet.
Regarding Nigel Bradham, he’s day-to-day.
DeSean Jackson is also day-to-day, but he’s working and getting closer. Pederson said there’s not really anything the receiver can show in order to play on Sunday, but it’s more about how Jackson is feeling. He has to feel 100%, especially with all the starting and stopping and route running stuff.
Timmy Jernigan is another guy who is getting close, but there’s no table. Pederson mentioned he’s doing well.
On Andre Dillard stepping in for JP
“That’s why we drafted him. We have total confidence in Andre. I go back and think about what Big V did in his first start, it wasn’t perfect. And, I think about what Andre did last week in Minneapolis, it wasn’t perfect, he’ll learn from it, he’ll get better. Tremendous athlete, he’s smart, got a lot of confidence in Andre.
The guys around him, he’s not on an island, obviously. He’ll get a lot of help from the guys, starting with Jason Kelce, and we go from there.”
On Zach Brown’s release and the LB position
Pederson said that — as DC Jim Schwartz alluded to — they need more production from the linebacker group, and they make moves for the betterment of the team. The head coach was asked why he was on the field for so many snaps if he wasn’t producing. He noted that Brown was the starting linebacker, but this move allows some of the younger guys on the roster to get some experience, like T.J. Edwards and Duke Riley.
He said he’s appreciative of the work Brown put in, but when asked whether it was solely related to on-field reasons, the head coach said that it was production based and didn’t want to get into specifics of “why”. Pederson did make note that Brown’s comments about Kirk Cousins ahead of last week’s game didn’t have anything to do with the move.
Pederson said they always are looking at adding talent and depth to their roster, so in that capacity they’ll probably be looking into it. They’ll also look to the practice squad, like they have on the offensive side of the ball this season, which means Alex Singleton will have a chance to move up.
Later on, the head coach mentioned that he isn’t worried about the linebacker group against the Cowboys. He talked about Nate Gerry having starting experience, and having played against Dallas last season. Pederson said there’s a next man up mentality and a sense of urgency at the position.
On control over the defense
It was pointed out that Jim Schwartz has pretty much had total control over the defense, but against the Vikings on Sunday, Pederson was asked if he ever felt the need to step in. The head coach said that the entire team falls under his direction and he’s responsible for the good and bad.
But, he has given Schwartz a lot of control because of his experience in the league and as a head coach and defensive coordinator. At this point, Pederson doesn’t see the need to make a change to that, and the two of them do communicate throughout the week about personnel and game-planning.
On Derek Barnett’s production
Pederson was asked about the “lack of production” from Derek Barnett through six games, and the head coach was quick to point out that he’s been doing a lot, including playing and practicing hurt, busting his tail and doing everything he can for himself and the football team. He also pointed out that when quarterbacks are getting the ball out quickly, Barnett is then in a turn and chase situation.
When asked to clarify where Barnett is hurt, Pederson alluded to all over and said that he’s sore at this point in the season.
On Jalen Ramsey to the Rams
Pederson said he couldn’t comment much, but that the Rams had some need in the secondary with injuries, and they’ve added a good player. The head coach said the Eagles are getting some players back too, and are getting healthy, so they’re excited about their secondary situation.