The Eagles are fresh off a win and heading into a bye week, and head coach Doug Pederson spoke to the media before the break. He talked about DeSean Jackson’s injury status, the wide receiver position without him, and other young players on both sides of the ball.
Pederson mentioned that they will have to take a look at whether they should make a move at wide receiver during the bye week. He said they’re at the point where they have to take a look and make a decision — but nothing right now.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On DeSean Jackson
Pederson emphasized what he mentioned after the game, and also on the radio Monday morning.
“He did feel some discomfort when he was in there. So we, really for precautionary measures, we decided to keep him out, evaluate him. We are gathering still some more information on him, and we’re gonna get all the information, and see where we’re at with him.”
He explained that they were doing more testing, and getting 2nd and 3rd opinions, and “make sure we are doing right by him”.
The head coach also mentioned that he did not regret playing Jackson on Sunday. He said that the wide receiver had a really good week in practice, although he was limited, but what he could do, he felt good about.
Despite saying on the radio that he expects Jackson back for the Patriots game, Pederson hedged a bit more and said that he didn’t want to speculate until they got the additional information they’re currently working to gather.
Pederson was asked later on, whether Jackson should’ve had surgery back in Week 2. The head coach said that wasn’t for him to answer, and he was then drilled about who was the person to answer that.
“I would say DeSean. If he wanted to — like Corey [Clement], for instance, Corey elected to have some stuff done. Players elect to have stuff done. I think, ultimately, DeSean didn’t want to have surgery when it happened, rehabbed it, and got himself in a position to play. So, I can’t put words in players’ mouths or doctors’ mouths, that’s not my position.”
He said that looking back, it may have made sense to keep Jackson out until after the bye week, so he had more time to heal. But, Pederson said they have to play the players available, and Jackson busted his tail to be able to play.
On the offense without Jackson
Pederson was asked about Mack Hollins and JJ Arcega-Whiteside, and why they weren’t getting much action in Jackson’s absence — neither has recorded a catch since September.
“When you’re the 6th, maybe the 7th, guy in the progression, or in the scheme of things, sometimes it’s hard to get the ball going in that direction. We go in thinking the Alshons, and DeSeans, and Nellys, and the tight ends, and backs, and stuff like that. We ask a lot of those other guys, too, in the run game. They do some great things there, so the balls going to find the open guy, and find the completion that way, and we just gotta continue to work.”
When asked if game-planning was more difficult having a guy in the lineup who isn’t much of a factor, Pederson said it wasn’t. He talked about having to put the best players available on the field at the time, and that this is the situation they are in right now.
The head coach later talked about what he wants to see from a young player like JJAW. He noted that the first thing is mental, how much a player knows about the offense, and also what things translate from the meeting rooms, to the practice field, and on game day. Pederson also mentioned that with a guy like JJAW, he can learn behind Alshon Jeffery.
“He’s doing everything right, he’s practicing hard. And sometimes it’s hard to just get onto the field, because of that. One of the things we like about JJ is his versatility, and the fact that he can play, really, all three spots and we can move him around. And, so, being able to do that, obviously, allows us to find a position, or at least find some snaps, for guys like that. And I think moving forward that’s something — and that’s kind of what this week is for, for us on staff as an offense is to see how we can maximize our potential that way.”
When asked to evaluate the performances of Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor so far this season, Pederson noted that they’ve been good but not great. The head coach suggested that Jeffery had some opportunities on Sunday to makes some plays and needs to make those catches, and thinks the receiver would agree — and Agholor would be the same.
On Andre Dillard’s performance
Pederson lauded the rookie’s performance the past couple of weeks, especially on Sunday against a great pass rush, but the head coach thinks the starting left tackle job will go back to Jason Peters when he is ready to return from injury. But, he wouldn’t commit to Peters being ready to return after the bye week.
On Sidney Jones and his role
Pederson said that Jones — who was inactive on Sunday — is in a great spot, they just had to make a decision, but he’s healthy.
“He’s in a really good spot. He continues to work, he practices well. He plays hard when he’s in there.”
The head coach said Jones played well against the Bills, and that sometimes those decisions are made based on game planning.
It was then pointed out that a 2nd round draft pick should’ve be inactive in his third season, and Pederson agreed. He mentioned that special teams comes into play with those decisions as well — and that in Jones’ case, special teams is probably the deciding factor.
On consistency among players and the team
Pederson spoke a bit about Miles Sanders being more consistent in recent weeks, and the head coach credited Duce Staley, as well as the rookie rusher for studying hard and learning behind Jordan Howard.
Overall, as a team, Pederson said this is the week for the staff to evaluate how they can be more consistent. He noted that they’re going to asses and really break down the first nine weeks of the season and see how they can win.
Pederson said that they need to find consistency, especially in the passing game. He explained that they need to find where the breakdown is in that area, and then make a plan to fix it. He said the next few days will be important for them to make some decisions.