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Doug Pederson suggests Jordan Howard will be the Eagles’ lead running back moving forward

The Eagles’ head coach also talked a lot about penalties and injury updates.

Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson had a chance to review the film from Sunday’s win over the Jets, and spoke with the media again on Monday about some of the things they need to clean up. He said that things are never as good or bad as they think they are immediately following the game, but their are obviously areas they need to improve.

Pederson didn’t have much to say about being on the road the next three weeks, saying they don’t control the schedule, but he didn’t anticipate much changing in terms of preparation.

Here’s what the head coach had to say:

On the win over the Jets

Pederson said that after watching the film, he noticed that the offense just wasn’t in sync. He made note that the Jets had a really good scheme coming into the matchup and gave them some fits with some of their fronts.

The head coach was asked if it’s nice after a “blowout win” to still have things identified as needing to improve. Pederson admitted it is, and to be able to score twice on defense and do what they did on offense and yet still have ways to be better — especially offensively. He explained that often times wins can cover up mistakes, but if they don’t make adjustments and stop making those errors, they won’t win games moving forward.

He talked a bit about how they missed DeSean Jackson, particularly his explosiveness and the threat to extend the defense, but they can’t make excuses for inefficiencies and have to help him get healthy. When Jackson is ready to return, he’ll join the guys they do have. Pederson mentioned that Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor have both been “doing a great job”, the two tight ends “have been solid”, and the running game has picked up.

Pederson later said that he isn’t concerned about Agholor, they’ve asked him to play multiple roles and he’s handled it well. They had some opportunities against the Jets that were missed, but he’s not concerned and they have a lot of confidence in the receiver.

On some of the holding penalties, Pederson said that to the coaches they didn’t look like penalties, but they will submit some of them to the league like they do each week and see what they have to say.

On Carson’s performance

“Carson played good. He did the things we asked him to do in this football game. There were a few times where I would’ve liked to maybe see the ball come out just a touch sooner, but I thought overall he played well. Some things we can clean up with him as well.”

On the running back rotation

Pederson stammered a bit trying to find the right words, but said that they have a great mix with Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders. So far, they’ve seen that Sanders is a bit more explosive in the passing game, and Howard is a guy who is more settled in the run game.

“[Jordan Howard is] a between the tackles guy, he’s big and powerful, got good vision. And, I really think Miles is learning from Jordan running the ball, which is a positive. I think as we go, Jordan has been kind of the lead back the last couple of games, for sure, but Miles is learning and coming and really happy with both of them.”

He later confirmed that moving forward Howard will likely take a majority of the carries. Pederson noted that if Sanders gets a hot hand one day, he might get more touches, but right now Howard being the lead guy is the trend.

On the CB position

The Eagles have had to play a lot of different guys at the cornerback position due to injuries the past couple of seasons. Pederson said it’s a credit to Corey Undlin, the team’s DB Coach, and he’s been able to get guys prepared, even guys they just added to the roster.

On the rest of the defense

It was pointed out that Derek Barnett has had three personal fouls so far this season. Pederson said that he’s talked to Barnett during the week and even during the game about those hits, but it’s an emotional game and sometimes things escalate. He said, obviously, you never want a guy labeled a certain way, but he’s an aggressive athlete, plays through the whistle — and they don’t want that to change —, and they just need to do a better job of coaching and being disciplined.

They had Brandon Graham rushing on the inside, and Pederson was asked if that’s where they want to use him moving forward. He said that Graham is productive and quick in there, but if they had another tackle — since they’re missing a couple due to injuries —, he’d probably still be on the outside. The head coach said it’s a good rotation and good mix, so for now, Graham will stay there.

Injury updates

DeSean Jackson is still rehabbing, and they’re going to try and push him a little bit more this week and get him to do a little more running. Pederson said that Jackson is getting close to returning, and he’s day-by-day. He also confirmed that the receiver is not looking at sports hernia surgery, and that it’s just a strain as far as he’s aware.

Regarding Sidney Jones, Pederson does anticipate he’ll be able and ready to play next Sunday. The plan is to re-integrate him more into practice this week — having previously mentioned that he missed most of the practice reps last week.

Darren Sproles is a little more week-to-week with his strain, so in terms of punt returns, they’ll work Nelson Agholor and Corey Clement back there. Despite Clement’s mishap against the Jets and struggles last season, Pederson said he’s confident in the running back in the special teams role, and just need to get him more reps this week.

On penalties league-wide

Pederson said that it’s a fast game and officials are having to look at a lot, so from that perspective, things are getting missed, things gets called that players and coaches maybe think shouldn’t. But, they have to get things cleaned up on their end because they can only control what they can control.

He said they talk to the team every week about not only penalties they commit, but penalties throughout the league, to make sure they are playing within the rules and eliminating those as much as possible.

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