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Doug Pederson talks DeSean Jackson returning to practice and other Eagles updates

Plus, the head coach talked play calling against the Bills.

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson spoke to the media Monday afternoon, after he had a chance to watch the film, and evaluate Sunday’s win over the Bills.

He gave updates on Miles Sanders and DeSean Jackson, and also talked about all the positives from the past week that they can continue building on — starting with the intensity and energy at practices and what they did well (and not so well) against the Bills.

Here’s what the head coach had to say:

On Miles Sanders’ injury

“Miles is going to be okay. We had further testing done today, everything came back positive. So, we’re gonna take him day-by-day this week, and see where he’s at at the end of the week.”

Other injury updates

  • Avonte Maddox returned to practice last Friday, so he’ll be back in the mix in practice this week.
  • DeSean Jackson can begin being incorporated back into practice on Wednesday, as part of his rehab process.
  • Darren Sproles is kind of the same way as Jackson, as he continues to rehab and get healthy, they can incorporate him a little bit this week.
  • Nigel Bradham and Timmy Jernigan are day-to-day, and they will go a little bit slower to get them back on the field.
  • Jason Peters will still be out this week.
  • Cre’Von LeBlanc is eligible to come back from IR this week, but he’s still working through his rehab.

On the play calling

Following the game, quarterback Carson Wentz explained that the long pass down the sideline to Alshon Jeffery was successful because of an adjustment made to something they saw in the first half. Pederson went into more detail, noting that on the second 3rd down of the game, the ball was knocked down and incomplete to Jeffery, and they talked about how to adjust to make that connection.

On the Miles Sanders touchdown, Pederson was quick to admit that the play came from offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland. It was a play that they have in their run game plan — they’ve done it with tight ends, but not with this particular personnel group. They worked on it last week in practice, and even ran it earlier in the game, but it was a pass to Jeffery. Pederson said it was a well executed play and Jordan Howard had a great block.

The head coach also talked about how he likes having the two running backs, especially because defenses are starting to focus on Sanders as a receiving threat.

He said that they’ve probably used the run game more often than they might have expected heading into the season. But, with DeSean Jackson’s injury and the successful results they’ve had on the ground, they’ve leaned on that formula a bit more. Against the Bills, the Eagles weren’t trying to play catch-up on the scoreboard, which allowed them to have more run plays, as well.

Pederson was asked if they have adjusted their play calling to get Sanders in space or their offense as a whole to accommodate his explosive running style. The head coach said that they are looking into that now, but that they have to be careful because he’s a rookie and young player still learning the blocking schemes, and different things. They don’t want to put too much on his plate right now, but as a staff, are looking at other ways to utilize his talents.

On the secondary rotation

Pederson said that he was happy to have most of the secondary back together and available. He thought Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby played well, “Sidney [Jones] did some really good things in the slot, held up nice,” and the safeties did well. Rasul Douglas went in a couple of times when Mills stepped out for a breather, but having a full compliment of guys in the back end really helped them.

On the young DTs

The Eagles expected two rookie defensive tackles to play just days after signing last week, and they did. Pederson didn’t hedge though and admitted that they’re a work in progress — which was to be expected.

“I thought [Anthony] Rush did some good things, you know, pushing the pocket a little bit. The other guys, just gotta keep working. It’s hard. It’s hard when you get double teamed and different things like that in there. And, working games, and there’s some timing involved. This will be a big week for them, kind of their second week in development.”

On Mack Hollins’ role

Regarding Mack Hollins and his lack of targets and production, Pederson said that there is only one football and it usually finds the guy first or second in the progression. But, Hollins is doing everything they ask him to do, and they’re going to “keep working there”.

(The head coach seemed to try and soften the notion that once DeSean Jackson is back, Hollins will take a step back.)

“Mack’s a big part of the offense, and we ask him to do other things. And, he’s a guy that’s willing to give of himself to the team, at times. He’s been very productive doing that.”

On Andre Dillard’s 2nd start

“Really well. I think this guy, gosh, he’s — you watch him pass off games, you watch his athleticism, again, against a really good defensive end/pass rush guy. He did — and even in the run game, you’re starting to see that progression with him take over in the run game. He played well, and that’s encouraging and obviously, we’ll keep him coming.”

On the trade deadline

Pederson said that they have to do what’s right for the Philadelphia Eagles, and if a trade happens, make sure that the player coming in is someone that can help them. But, at the same time, he said that the guys on roster and the guys coming close to returning, that’s a part of the decision process.

When asked if there was any specific position he’s talking to Howie Roseman about adding depth, Pederson said that it’s a fine line with the guys they have close to returning from injury. But, if they’re going based off of positions with the most injuries to overcome, the head coach pointed to defensive tackle.

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