The Eagles looked much better on Sunday against the Bills than they have the past two weeks. The team had a lot to overcome with so many off-field distractions, but head coach Doug Pederson was impressed with how the players were committed to being better.
Here’s what the head coach had to say after the game:
On the team’s effort and player buy-in
Pederson said that following the win, he told the team how proud he was of them, especially amid all the distractions they had this week, and how they were able to put that all behind them, focus on this game and do their jobs.
“This is really a great team win, and I told them that after the game.”
Pederson mentioned that they need to learn from the successes they had following so much off-field drama, and continue to go to work and focus on football. They need to do what they can to limit those kinds of distractions, but it’s a close locker room and it showed in their energy and excitement during Sunday’s game.
The head coach also talked about the players’ only meeting they held this week. He said that he learned about it on Wednesday when he met with the leadership council, and the guys stepping up like that is a step in the right direction.
“Being a leader is not about being perfect, and everybody makes mistakes, but they owned it and they stepped up and really led today.”
Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod got reps with the scout team during the week at practice, and Pederson said that it showed the younger guys that everyone has to perform. He went on to say that for them to do that, and give the offense a quality look, was great from a leadership standpoint. (Pederson was sure to say no offense to the guys who normally take those reps.)
On the run game
The head coach said he credits the offensive line and tight ends for the success of the run game on Sunday.
Pederson said that they were going up against a good defensive front, and the conditions warranted more of a running. But, he also noted that the offensive line is a prideful group, and they’d have him run the ball the whole game if they could.
Pederson went on to note that it all started up front, and Jordan Howard ran extremely well.
Later on, the head coach also talked about the long run and touchdown by rookie Miles Sanders. Pederson said that was a new play they were trying out this week. They were trying to take advantage of having two running backs.
“Jordan [Howard] had a tremendous block on that play, and Miles just sort of pulled away and showed his speed.”
He said that they tried the same play in the first half, but quarterback Carson Wentz had Alshon Jeffery on the left side of the field — it went incomplete, so they went back to it later in the game.
On the play calling
Pederson was asked about the long 8-minute drive in the fourth quarter, and the run by quarterback Carson Wentz on 3rd and 10. The head coach explained that it was not a designed run Wentz, it was a screen, but there was a defender in his throwing lane, so the QB tucked it and ran.
“That’s Carson making a play. Great play by him, good execution, obviously. He played really tough today.”
Doug Pederson says Carson Wentz played “extremely well” against the Bills. Played smart, tough, aggressive, threw the ball well, accurate. #Eagles— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) October 27, 2019
On the secondary
“I thought they stepped up. You know, criticism, we’ve had some injury back there and we’ve held it together. Coaches have done a great job coaching their players. Today, [Ronald] Darby was back full, and we had Jalen [Mills] back out there, so the secondary — Sidney [Jones] was out there today. So, we’re starting to get those guys healthy and back out onto the field. I thought they really did a nice job against some really good skill players for the Bills. Did a nice job.”