Wednesday was the first day we heard from Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson since last week. Back at practice and preparing for the Patriots, Pederson spoke to the media about DeSean Jackson’s injury timeline, other injury updates, and Patriots prep.
Pederson said that Carson Wentz isn’t looking too far ahead, and he is eager to win and perform each game — rather than focusing on getting to the playoffs. The head coach said that there’s still a lot of football left with seven games, and they’ve got a tough test this Sunday. As a team they don’t look too far ahead or in the rearview, but rather focus on each game.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On DeSean Jackson’s injury timeline
“In DeSean’s case — listen, there has been a lot, a lot of discussion with DeSean from the moment he came out of the Falcons game to the decision to play in the Bears game, to surgery. And, there’s a lot, we talk a lot with the player, we talk a lot with our medical staff. We even talk to external sources, third party people, that have expertise in this area.
I’m not the doctor, nor did I look at MRIs or x-rays, or any of that. And, listen, DeSean busted his tail, electively, to try and get it fixed himself, to try and rehab and come back, and he busted his tail. He was cleared to play, he felt good.
For me, as the head coach, I listen to the player. I listen to what his body is telling him, and everything was a go. And then he felt something in the game, we pulled him out, as I said after the game, for precautionary reasons. We had it checked again, and then we went down the road of surgery. Which, again, a lot of communication with him, the player. Again, it’s elective by the player, we support this decision, we support DeSean.”
On Brandon Brooks’ extension
Pederson had nothing but great things to say about Brooks, and said he’s been an absolute pro since the day he walked in the building. The head coach said the lineman was a great teammate, and that he was “thrilled” to have him part of the Eagles family for awhile.
He also talked about how Brooks battled back from the Achilles injury and that his commitment to his rehab shows what kind of character the player has. Pederson said that he’s excited for Brooks and his family, and it just solidifies the offensive line moving forward.
On the offense’s production
Pederson noted that with Dallas Goedert getting more targets this season, the ball is getting spread around even more, which could be the reason Alshon Jeffery hasn’t been as much of a factor. He noted, though, that Jeffery has made plays when he gets the ball.
“He’s a guy that gives of himself to the team. That’s who Alshon is. He doesn’t gripe or complain. He does battle through injury. He’s battled through it his whole career. He’s battled through it here. He’s a tough kid.”
Pederson said overall that they’ve got to coach better and play better, but they did identify a few things they could do better in the passing game moving forward. He wasn’t willing to go into to much detail, but did mention the trends they saw from their five wins.
“But I do know this: Some of the things that stood out positively was in our five wins we took care of the football, we reduced penalties, created some turnovers, things like that that stood out. Obviously third down in red zone have been good.”
On trends opposing defenses use against the Eagles
“I think one of the ways that teams, especially with mobile guys, there’s usually a spy, someone that is kind of keying the quarterback. We’ll do that with our defense from time to time with mobile guys. That’s obviously a factor.
The type of blitzes that teams – if they want to flush the quarterback, he is a right-handed quarterback, so a lot of times they don’t want to let you escape to your hand side or to the right, so they might pressure you to the backside.
You have to factor in maybe Andre Dillard being a rookie left tackle, maybe there’s pressure there that affects the quarterback, pressure up the middle. There’s all kind of ways they can affect your quarterback, particularly Carson.
One of the things that he’s great at, what he’s done a really good job this year of, is getting the ball out, understanding our offense better, spreading the ball around. Then our ability to run the football to sort of offset some of that has really helped us.”
- Alshon Jeffery left the game early against the Bear with an ankle injury. Pederson said the week off helped him, but he is “still sore” and “kind of day-to-day right now.”
- Pederson also admitted that Jason Peters DID have his knee scoped, but he should be back out at practice on Wednesday. They’ll see how he does and where he is at the end of the week.
- Nigel Bradham will get out on the field to do some running this week, but probably won’t be involved in practice. Pederson said the linebacker is feeling better so they are optimistic he might be available for this Sunday’s game.
- Cre’Von LeBlanc “is still working” so it doesn’t sound like he’s ready to return just yet.
On Patriots prep
Pederson said that they watch a lot of film on their opponent, including the Super Bowl, but that game has no bearing on this upcoming matchup. He noted that both teams are very different than they were two years ago, so it’s not a focal point of their prep this week.
The head coach also talked about Tom Brady specifically, and how impressive he and his career has been.
“You’re kind of in awe obviously of his play, where he is in his career, how he’s got himself physically and mentally really to play every season and every play of every game.
You’re really not going to show him anything he hasn’t seen from a schematic standpoint. He’s smart. He knows exactly where to go with the football. He can direct his offense and get guys in position to be successful and he does a great job with the football and protecting it.
It’s hard to get to him, number one. He gets the ball out extremely fast. It’s just really impressive to watch where he is in his career, and the age, all of that. As a former quarterback, to sit back and kind of watch him play, has been really impressive for me.”
Pederson later talked about how Bill belichick game plans to take away their most productive player, and how the other guys on the field will have to step up if that happens. He said that they’ll do that on both offense and defense, and they know that, and will have to be prepared for whichever guy they end up focusing on.