Fresh off a (stupid) loss to New England, Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson spoke to the media on Monday afternoon about the injury to Lane Johson, offensive and defensive playcalling, and commented on the missed catch by Nelson Agholor deep in the end zone.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On Lane Johnson’s injury
Pederson confirmed that the right tackle is in concussion protocol after being carted off the field during the second quarter on Sunday. He said it was still early, so Johnson is in Stage 1 of the five-stage protocol.
The head coach wasn’t entirely sure which exact play Johnson was injured on, but said he came off after the touchdown drive. After that drive, Johnson went to the sideline, and that’s when they evaluated him.
He also admitted that Johnson‘s injury did affect the run game a little because of the chemistry between him and Brandon Brooks. Pederson did, however, say that he still has a lot of confidence in Big V, but it is tough losing a Pro Bowl caliber right tackle.
Depending on Lane Johnson’s status at the end of the week, they are going to consider getting rookie Andre Dillard some work at right tackle. Pederson noted that Dillard spent the week taking reps at left tackle before they knew whether Jason Peters would be ready to go, but moving forward he’ll get some work on the right side.
Pederson later confirmed that if Johnson isn’t available, Dillard will practice with the starters.
Other injury updates
He didn’t wanna go into detail about the injuries to Alshon Jeffery and Jordan Howard, but said they were “progressing nicely” and he’ll likely have more updates on Wednesday.
Pederson said that they signed Jay Ajayi late in the week in an emergency situation, which is why he didn’t play Sunday. He said they’ll incorporate Ajayi if Jordan Howard can’t go this week in practice. The head coach also clarified that Howard wasn’t cleared for contact last week, but he was doing individual work.
On the offensive play calling
Pederson was asked if they had scored at the end of the game, whether they would have gone for the 2-point conversion. The head coach quickly replied that he would have called for the extra point kick instead, and credited the outstanding play by the defense for the confidence to take the game into overtime.
He said, aside from the score in the third quarter — which was on a trick play — that the defense pretty much stopped the Patriots the rest of the game.
They got away from the run game in the second half and Pederson admitted part of that was because of Johnson’s injury, but they couldn’t blame it all on that. The other thing was that they struggled to get positive yards in the run game, and sustained positive yards. Plus, he said as the game progressed they needed to make an explosive play which is why they turned to the passing game.
The head coach noted that they were trying to get rookie running back Miles Sanders involved in the passing game but the patriots took him out of it. Similar to Zach Ertz, they were scheming against them well.
He was later asked about what quarterback Carson Wentz could learn from the game, and Pederson explained:
“When he looks at this game — and I’m sure he already has — that there were opportunity in the passing game to make some plays. I think he would agree with that. And, just really, he doesn’t have to feel like that he has to make all the plays. Even though he touches the ball, and he is the quarterback, and we ask him to do a lot, just let the offense kind of work and let the guys around you make the plays.”
Pederson did also note that he as a play caller can be more patient with the run game to help Wentz out as well. He also said that it’s never about one guy, and they could do a better job protecting him up front, and the skill guys have to get open.
On Nelson Agholor
Pederson said it would’ve been “a heck of a catch” if Agholor made that catch in the back of the endzone.
“The angle he was on and, I don’t know if the wind moved the ball at all, but he was having to bend back over his shoulder. It would’ve been a spectacular catch if he got it, and I’m sure he’s beating himself up for not making the play.”
On the defensive play calling
The head coach agreed that Jim Schwartz was able to call for more pressure on Tom Brady because of an increased consistency on the back end. He said that the health of Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills and Avonte Maddox, along with Rodney McLeod and Malcolm Jenkins, gives them more security on the perimeter allowing them to dial up the pressures.
On the personnel moves lately
Pederson was asked about Howie Roseman and the front office signing so many players who had previously played for the team. He noted that there were a lot of players available and unsigned league-wide, but they were looking for someone — especially in Jay Ajayi’s situation — familiar with their scheme and system and could jump right in.