The Eagles were back at practice Wednesday, and head coach Doug Pederson spoke to the media before hitting the field. He talked about injury updates, the state of the team and of quarterback Carson Wentz, and priorities heading into the trade deadline.
Pederson said that he expects both of the new (rookie) defensive tackles signed this week to play on Sunday.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
Pederson expects Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills to play on Sunday.
DeSean Jackson won’ practice with the team, but will be doing his running and rehab. Pederson later said that Jackson was right where they expected him to be in his recovery, and they didn’t want to put him on IR.
“Sproles is getting close, too. He’s going to work. He probably won’t practice with the team - I know he won’t practice with the team - but he’ll do his conditioning and all that off to the side.”
Nigel Bradham, Timmy Jernigan and Jason Peters will all ramp up their rehab this week. Pederson doesn’t expect them to practice with the team yet, but they’ll continue to monitor their situations.
Avonte Maddox update
“We know that possibly Avonte Maddox would not be available still. He is still dealing with some soreness. The thing is with Avonte, just to be clear, it’s a head and a neck injury, that he suffered. So, he’s technically still in the protocol until he clears really both injuries, so that’s why he probably would not make it this week.”
And later clarified:
The symptoms are fine. He’s okay from that. It’s the neck. That’s the concern for us. We’re making sure -- he’s still dealing with some soreness obviously and so we’re still working with that, range of motion, all of that, before we put him back out there.
On the state of the team
Pederson was asked about what he’s seen from the team so far this week, and he talked about how they were motivated to get back on the practice field and correct their mistakes.
“This team is mad. They’re upset and they’re disappointed in how we’ve lost these last two games. They are embarrassed obviously from the other day, which is good. It’s not good that you lose, but it’s good the fact that they’re taking ownership of it.
They’re in a good spot. Again, like I’ve said, this is a resilient group. They are going to bounce back and respond positively.”
He also talked about the messaging this week, and the head coach talked about how the coaches have to put in just as much work as the players to improve. Pederson noted that they have all the tools to make corrections in the building, they just have to continue to work.
The head coach later was asked about starting off with double digit deficits and how it affects Carson Wentz.
“It affects everybody. It doesn’t [just] affect Carson. It affects me as a play caller. It kind of gets you out of what you would like to do and focuses more on we have to score and score kind of in a hurry to get back into this football game.
I look back on it, too, and there is still a lot of the football to be played, so in some regards you can kind of stick with your game plan and just try to work yourself back into the game that way.
But it disrupts everybody, and that’s something we have to stop and we have to stop it in a hurry.”
On Carson Wentz’s performance
Pederson said that he is pleased with the quarterback’s work, but that there is room for improvement. The head coach pointed out that the team’s struggle isn’t about just one guy, it’s about improving as a unit.
“We have to offensively, whether it starts -- everything starts with the offensive line and making sure that they’re on point with what they’re seeing from the front blitzes, run game, all of that. That just trickles back to the quarterback, it trickles back to the tight ends, the running back, and of course the receivers and the passing game.
And there are some things that come up in games that are unscouted looks, meaning the defense has put in something new, which we expect a defense to do from time to time that disrupts the offense a little bit until we can make an adjustment.”
He also talked about how the team has been really close a couple times, and they are working on building up some of the young players.
On Sidney Jones
Pederson denied that Jones’ zero snaps last week was like the Nelson Agholor benching back in 2016.
The head coach did not want to speak for Jones and his confidence level, but said from his own perspective, the cornerback is in a good place and ready to get back on the field and perform. Pederson noted that Jones has had a lot of injuries he’s had to come from since he was drafted.
Pederson seemed non-committal about Jones being the slot cornerback this upcoming Sunday.
“We will work through that this week, yes. We have a few options, but we will work through that.”
On priorities ahead of the trade deadline
He admitted that (of course) he was working with Howie Roseman about potential moves ahead of next week’s trade deadline. As he often says, Pederson pointed out that they are always looking at talent and at ways to add value and depth to the roster.
“We understand our injury situation, especially at defensive line. So if we just start there, let’s say, and look and see what’s available, see what we can do.”
Pederson also talked about how he and Roseman are on the same page when it comes to filling some holes due to injury — whether that’s through acquisitions, trades, or pulling up from the practice squad.
“Yeah, and I think that’s the thing that I think Howie and I are on the same page about. He sees the same injuries that we see, and he knows the bind that we’re in at certain positions.”
On the attempted break-in at Fletcher Cox’s home
A man was arrested after allegedly attempting to break into Cox’s home, with the defensive tackle actually grabbing his shotgun to thwart away the person.
Pederson was asked about what this might mean for the team and whether they would increase security on the premises. He said that the whole thing was a personal issue, so he was staying out of it, but the police are investigating and will let the team know if they need to ramp up security at the facilities.
“Obviously we do our best to protect our players here on premises, but obviously they have personal lives, we all have personal lives, and things are going to come up, so we do the best we can to educate our players and try to protect them the best we can.”