The Eagles managed a win over the Giants on Monday in overtime, and head coach Doug Pederson spoke to the media on Tuesday with some injury updates, play-calling insight, and a look into what he called Carson Wentz’s best game of his career.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
Lane Johnson is week-to-week, and the head coach confirmed it’s an ankle injury. He later said that they’ve got Big V getting work there, Andre Dillard can cross-train, and Matt Pryor is available as well, until Johnson can get back on the field.
“I thought Big V did a nice job in the game yesterday. He and Brandon [Brooks] side-by-side. Right now, we would consider just keeping that kind of status-quo there.”
Pederson said that Alshon Jeffery’s injury “is a little more significant”. He was waiting on one more test result to come in before figuring out the plan for him. He wouldn’t comment on whether Jeffery’s foot injury was season-ending, and would only reiterate it’s significant and was waiting on additional information.
“At wide receiver, we definitely have a couple guys on practice squad if we need to make a move. Obviously, as you know, we could look outside the building if we need to. We’re going to work through that today and try to get something in place here pretty quick, and we’re back on the field tomorrow.”
Nelson Agholor is still up in the air for Week 15’s game against Washington, but they’ll continue to work through his injury and see where he’s at.
Jalen Mills is day-to-day but should be okay. Pederson said he may be wearing a brace on his elbow, but that’s about it.
The good news, both rookie running back Miles Sanders and rookie receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside are okay.
On young guys stepping up
With so many injuries on offense, young players like Greg Ward, JJAW, and Joshua Perkins had to step up, and did so at the end of the game.
“I think the confidence level just increases with all those guys that played. For J.J. to have the success he did, obviously Greg and Perk and then just Carson, to trust and have that continuity with them. All three of those guys had major impacts in the football game. That’s exciting to see.
These guys, they’re eager and they’re wanting to continue to learn and grow. The more they’re working with Carson, that first unit, they’ll just fit right in, and hopefully help us win another game.”
Pederson also said that there is some carry over from Darren Sproles to Boston Scott, and that it’s a fair comparison in terms of size, speed and athleticism.
“It was good to see Boston get in the game and do the things he did, honestly. It just gave us as an offense a change of pace, there’s a quickness there, and that’s just Boston. It takes nothing away from the other guys. Something we’ll continue to implement into our game plan and find ways to utilize him in the offense.”
The head coach later said that Scott would have a role even when the other running backs get healthy. Pederson said that the RB has shown enough, even going back to training camp, and they think he could really make an impact for the team.
He also agreed that these young guys bring a certain energy since they are trying to make the most of opportunities they’re getting. Pederson said having that youthfulness is something the other guys feed off of.
“You see the excitement from the rest of the team when a play is made in a game because they see it in practice. So, yeah, I do think the rest of the team can feed off of that.”
Pederson talked about how the tempo in the second-half contributed to Carson Wentz’s second-half success against the Giants. He said that they attempted to speed things up in the first half, but they got into third-down situations that were hard to overcome.
“When we really got into our rhythm, we were creating more first downs. It was first down to first down to first down or first to second, then get another first down, stay on the field, so we got in a rhythm that way.”
The head coach noted that they do talk about starting no huddle sometimes, and they even talked about doing that on Monday — not necessarily on the first series, but second or third.
He was asked why they didn’t go for two points on the first touchdown, and Pederson noted it was a personnel decision. They had a few plays designed for Alshon Jeffery, but he was out, and then they had some designed runs for Miles Sanders, but they didn’t feel comfortable at the time to call for that.
“I elected to go for the extra point there, obviously. Had we gone for two, as you know, which I was planning on doing that, it would have been the game-winning drive as opposed to the game-tying drive at the end.”
Pederson explained that they have to be careful not to chase points and see how the game is going when they make those decisions. It’s not something they necessarily do in the first half of a game, but when there’s 8 to 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, they would go for it for sure.
He was also asked about their plan on the 4th-and-3, when they sent the offense on the field for the punt unit, and what they were hoping that’d accomplish.
“One of the two things - three things really: either attempt to draw them off, take the delay of game, back up five and punt the football, or see if they would burn the timeout, which they did. We got one of three.”
On Carson Wentz
Pederson was asked where Wentz’s first overtime win ranks among some of the quarterback’s big games.
“I think this would have to be his number one game, quite honestly. You could ask him later this week. But I just think from the standpoint of putting the team on his back, leading this team down the field, down two scores, to tie the game, and then of course to win it in overtime. Some of the plays that he did make, whether it was extending it with his legs or keeping a play alive and finding receivers down the field, and then his toughness to stand in the pocket and take some shots.
I would say this would be his number one game in the four years. It’s really kind of exciting for him. I think it gives him confidence moving forward.”
He explained that Wentz has had a lot of big games, including the win over the Rams in 2017, but to battle back from behind with injury-after-injury, is the best the QB has played in Pederson’s eyes.
The head coach also explained that where they are in the season, with all must-win games ahead of them, is more important that Wentz being available at this point in the year for the first time. But, Pederson agreed that it was important for his leadership role that the team sees him have the kind of late-game success he had on Monday.
“I think he gains more confidence with his teammates, in him and his ability. Listen, I played with one of the greatest fourth-quarter quarterbacks in Brett Favre, and really Dan Marino for that matter, but Brett Favre for eight years. You can see it, when it gets crunch time, you put it on the quarterback, and guys rally.
That’s what we saw yesterday. I think that’s now what you’re going to see, and hopefully you see as we continue to grow as a team, hopefully years to come, that’s the case, that the guys now can ascend around Carson, and we can put it on his shoulders and say, ‘Hey, let’s go win the game.’”