The Eagles suffered an ugly loss (again) on Sunday against the Seahawks, and head coach Doug Pederson spoke to the media on Monday about Carson Wentz and his injury, the future of the right tackle position, and their play-calling against Seattle.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On Carson Wentz’s injury and performance
Pederson confirmed that Carson Wentz has a bruise in his right hand, “kind of in the middle finger there”. The quarterback is day-to-day, but should be ready for this week’s game. The head coach also didn’t expect Wentz to miss any practice time.
“It’s going to affect [his ability to throw] a little bit. It’s sore, being able to grip the football, but he battled through it and finished the game.”
Pederson also talked about Wentz’s performance against the Seahawks, and noted that there were areas he could improve in the short passing game, but that the targets need to be in the right spots as well.
“There are times when it’s just a matter of setting your feet as a quarterback and just delivering a short throw, or getting your eyes on target a lot sooner than you do. He’s such a great thrower of the ball down the field, and these are the things that we continue to work on with him and we have to make sure Miles is in the right spot, too.
It goes both ways. It’s not always about the quarterback. We can coach that up, obviously, and we will, but we also have to get the other guys in the right spots as well.”
Pederson continued to defend Wentz and echoed previous sentiments that it’s not about one guy. He said that they have to continue to coach Wentz correctly and make sure he’s doing the right things.
“We have to make sure that he’s doing the right things, the progression, where the ball is going, and then it’s up to him too to see the defense, see the field and get the ball out of his hand as a player and do all of those things right.”
The head coach also pushed back against notions that Wentz wasn’t seeing the field the way he should be in his fourth year. He pointed out that the quarterback doesn’t shy away from contact despite being on the receiving end of some pretty big hits.
On the tackle positions
Pederson said that they are still going to cross-train Andre Dillard at right tackle, but they also have Big V and Matt Pryor can play tackle in addition to guard. He didn’t discount that the team could decide to make a roster move at the position — including activate Jordan Mailata from the IR.
Dillard made some negative comments following the game about the difficulties in moving from left to right tackle. Pederson, however, said that the rookie had improved throughout the week leading up to the game, and seemed ready to go.
“As the week progressed, he got so much better as the week progressed and by the time we got to Friday, the Friday practice was great. He felt comfortable, the Saturday walk-through he was ready to go. That’s why you just -- again, you just can’t take your left guy and go stick him on the right without taking practice reps, without preparing those guys to do that. Gosh, he prepared well all week and was ready to go.”
Play-calling against the Seahawks
It was brought up that Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright said that they were able to identify some of the Eagles’ plays pre-snap. Pederson said that they did identify one screen pass that was going to go to Dallas Goedert, but some of the other opportunities they just didn’t connect on the throw.
Pederson also said that at this point in the season, there’s a lot of film available.
“You could probably say the same defensively, too, with everything that we watch.”
The head coach said they try and self-scout every week and make sure they aren’t getting predictable with formations or personnel groups, as best they can.
Pederson then talked a bit about Carson Wentz’s missed throws and if there were any trends. He explained that because the QB got hit early in the game, he was a little erratic at times, but as the game went on, Wentz did better.
“But as the game progressed and again watching the film this morning, if you remove the turnovers, it’s really not as bad as it appears. The turnovers make it worse than it was because we didn’t capitalize [and] we didn’t stay on the field. We had some drives and then turnovers stopped us. Those are the things we have to clean up.”
On JJ Arcega-Whiteside
“I thought he did some good things. He’s still learning, obviously. He has to do a little better at the line of scrimmage with guys on his nose and being able to release and things like that. You saw the tough catch late in the game on the sidelines, that was great to see.
Some of the other things he did, one good third-down completion there and then another -- the fourth-down play, it was just he and Carson not being on the same page there, but those are things they will continue to work on. But he’s done some nice things these last couple of weeks and it’s encouraging, and we’ll keep him coming.”
On Dallas Goedert
“He’s definitely been one of the bright spots, one of the positives on offense. He’s gotten so much better blocking at the point of attack. He’s strong. His route running has gotten better. He’s been strong to the football when the ball comes his way. Utilizing him in the screen game a little bit has been successful this year.
I think he’s going to continue to grow and continue to get better the more we use him and use him in space, obviously. He’s been a plus for us.”
On the offense making improvements
“I see the guys every single day paying attention to detail, which means they’re spending time in the meeting room, spending time after practice watching extra tape by themselves or with their position group. They’re with our quarterback, on the side in practice working on route combinations. To me that’s a sign of getting better and improving.”
Pederson went on to say that it doesn’t always translate onto the field with some of the good defenses they’ve faced, but he sees the guys doing the work every day.
“Plus, now with hopefully getting some of our veteran players back on offense, I feel like we can peak at the right time. Listen, we’re still in this thing, the season isn’t over. Gosh, we have five games, a great opportunity in Miami this week. That gives you hope as you move forward.”
- Jordan Howard is still dealing with a stinger and hasn’t regained full strength in his shoulder, so he’s still day-to-day. The running back will do individual drills this week and they’ll see where he is at the end of the week.
- Pederson said both Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor continue to trend in the right direction, but weren’t ready to play on Sunday.
- Lane Johnson is still in the concussion protocol, but Pederson said that he’s hopeful the right tackle will be back at practice on Wednesday.