Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson spoke to the media Friday morning ahead of practice and gave some roster and injury updates, as well as talked about the importance of Brandon Graham, and how they’re preparing for Miami.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
Zach Ertz will get out on the grass during Friday’s practice, and they’ll see where he’s at. They want to keep it cautious with him and make sure he’s rested. Pederson said he wasn’t sure of the specific timeline with Ertz’s injury, but the tight end felt something coming out of last week’s game, so they’re trying to be cautious.
The head coach also said that if Ertz isn’t able to play this week, they do have one roster spot still available, so they might look at bringing in someone. But, that’s something they’ll evaluate later on Friday after practice and this weekend.
Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor are both trending in the right direction. Pederson said they’ll get them out on the practice field again and see how they’re doing and if they’ll be ready for the game. He said that the two not being full-go in practice yet is not due to any sort of set-back, just that they are easing them back in.
Lane Johnson was cleared for contact earlier in the week. Pederson later noted that Johnson is in a good place mentally to return and that he and Brandon Brooks are excited to back on the line together, and Johnson’s return adds a bit more continuity to the offense.
Jordan Howard has still not been cleared for contact.
Pederson said that if they use the roster spot on Cre’Von LeBlanc, he’ll be ready to go. LeBlanc had a good week back on the field and listening to calls in practice, and he’s progressing.
On re-signing players
Jake Elliott is just the latest guy to sign a new deal to stay with the Eagles for the next several years, and Pederson was asked about the mentality to keep guys in-house.
“First of all, excited for these guys, with Brandon Brooks and now Jake. Opportunity to extend them, and keep your players here. I think it’s something you wanna — the best you can, we know this business is tough, and sometimes guys try to move on and find other spots. But, to be able to take our own guys and to extend them, and have that consistency for the next four or five years — and the type of player that he is, type of person he is, just helps your team. Helps your team. I’m excited for him, his family, and excited for the Eagles.”
On Brandon Graham
“This guy, he comes in here every single day with a smile on his face, he’s energetic, he tackles practice, he tackles the meetings — it’s an infectious personality, and it’s what you need. You need that this time of year as we make this push. Just a great leader of this team, and somebody I go to from time-to-time to kind of keep that infectious smile going, and that energy going with the team.”
Pederson went on to say that they often come together on Sunday’s before games, and the head coach encourages Graham to be positive with the guys, and the defender assures Pederson that they’ll bring the juice and energy.
On preparing for Miami
The head coach said that the messaging to the team hasn’t changed with the Cowboys’ loss on Thursday. Even though the Eagles are in a position to control their own destiny, Pederson emphasized that they are still approaching every game as a chance to go 1-0.
He also mentioned that Carson Wentz has been laser-focused this year, and is the type of guy who doesn’t let the outside criticism affect him. Pederson said that quarterback has been great at practice and in meetings, and this is all just an opportunity for him to get better.
Pederson later talked about how the Dolphins are a good football team, and they’ve have to battle through some injuries, but this is a team that plays hard, and are aggressive. They’ll have to be 100% ready to go, or they’ll be disappointed on the plane ride home.
He also joked that he’s been told there were going to be a few Eagles fans at this game, and mentioned the fans travel well and South Florida is a great place to travel to this time of year.