The Eagles had an impressive win over the Bears at home on Sunday, and head coach Doug Pederson spoke to the media afterward about the state of the team. As they head into the bye week, there’s a lot to evaluate, but there are also more players expected to return after the break.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On DeSean Jackson’s injury
Pederson said that it was their plan to play him — rather than limit him — in his return from injury. The head coach said the wideout was then kept out as a precautionary measure following the first series, and will have additional testing done on Monday.
On messaging and state of the team
“Well, the first thing I told them, was this was a really good team win today. All three phases. You saw it on offense, we saw it on defense and of course, special teams there at the end. So, a great team win, a way to finish out the first nine games of our season, anyway, and heading into this bye.
But, more importantly, I just challenged the team now, with some time off, for everybody to really soul search and dig deep, and come back in a frame of minds that’s ready to continue what we’ve sort of started here in the last couple weeks. Just to challenge them that way, to think about how we want this second half of the season to look.
But, I was really proud of the guys for battling today. That’s a good football team. The Bears are a good team, are well coached, got great players, and our guys hung in there and fought.”
He also lauded the players for battling some adversity this season — both in terms of injuries and outside noise — and finding a way to stick together.
“You saw it again today, and I know the type of guys we have. And, it’s guys that — I can trust my offensive line, I can trust my quarterback, I can put it in their hands. I can trust the guys on the perimeter, our defense — our defensive line is getting healthy —, and added some talent there.
Things are starting to come for us, you know? And, we just gotta continue to trust our process, and continue to build and grow, just take it one at a time.”
Pederson then spoke about how having battled through adversity in the season they won the Super Bowl taught the guys and the locker room how things can turn around. And then with the guys they bring in and draft, the culture the team has created then extends to the new players.
He went on to say that it’s not easy to win in this league, and players and coaches can’t just show up and expect things to work. So, to have the buy-in from players, new and old, is critical.
On the offense vs. the Bears
Pederson admitted that the offense sputtered a little in the second half, and they had some opportunities they didn’t capitalize on. Ahead of the final 8-minute drive, the head coach said that the offense knew they had to produce, and that’s where trusting your offensive line and quarterback, etc... comes into play.
“Just a great effort for the offense.”
He joked that they didn’t have to get real creative on third down to have success, he just had to figure out the right play to call. Pederson said OC Mike Groh did a great job, and they had great communication throughout the game. Groh made suggestions late in the game and they were plays they called and they worked.
“Guys made plays for us, and we needed that at the end.”
Pederson also talked about the Dallas Goedert screen. He explained that they wanted to take advantage of the rush and use a tight end screen in that situation. The head coach said it was a good play, well blocked and well executed.
He didn’t agree that this was a breakout game for Zach Ertz per se, and that he’s always a big part of their offense. Ertz was, however, targeted a little bit more in this game, “and reasonably so”. Pederson said it was a credit to Carson Wentz getting Ertz the ball, and the tight end ran really good routes.
“He was tough, he was physical, and made some contested catches, and that’s who Zach is. It was good to see.”
Work during the bye week
Pederson said they are going to spend the week self-scouting and evaluating how they can better on third downs, red zone efficiency and how they start games. He also said he’ll even look at how he handles practices, and try to eliminate any kind of tendencies they may have developed thus far in the season.