The Eagles’ head coach spoke yesterday after the loss to Detroit and mentioned it wasn’t a defining moment of their season, but also addressed the number of drops and other issues in all three phases of the game.
On Monday, Doug Pederson continued to explain how they plan to improve from the past two losses and how they’re preparing for Green Bay on a short week.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On the effects of injuries
The head coach was asked whether he can draw from the injuries the past two years and how the team rallied back when they needed to most.
He said that he could definitely draw comparisons, but Pederson talked about the thing that has stood out the most the past two weeks, are the self-inflicting wounds, “the turnovers, the penalties, things that have cost us yards or cost us points”.
He said that if they can eliminate those things, with the injuries aside, they have a chance to win both games. Pederson went on to say that if they can make the plays that come their way throughout the game, then maybe we’d be looking at a different story.
So, he can draw from the injuries the past two seasons, but, “honestly, that’s not what’s keeping us from winning these two games”.
Pederson later mentioned that he could see why people would make the parallel between an older roster and more injuries, but he thinks it’s more just an effect of playing football. He said it’s hard to put a finger on some of the injuries, especially because they do so much in training camp and do so much with their strength and conditioning program.
“I will say this, guys have battled through injury to play, and they continue to do that, and that’s the positive thing.”
On the hits to Carson Wentz
It was pointed out that the quarterback had been sacked 6 times and hit 14 in the first three games, and Pederson said it was a little bit of everything, with responsibility for those falling on the offensive line, Wentz, and the receivers.
He went on to say that the protection for the most part has been really good, and the running backs specifically have been doing a nice job.
There’s all sorts of reasons, including Wentz trying to make a play and holding onto the ball for a little extra tick, the receivers trying to get separation at the top of a route, scrambles, and a lot of other factors that go into it.
Pederson said it’s not all on one person, and it’s something they have to look into and work on as an offense, including stay out of 3rd and long situations — which they were in 8 times against Detroit.
On the (many) drops
Pederson was asked if there were teaching points for the dropped passes, and the head coach quipped, “catch the ball”.
He went on to elaborate that it’s just focus and concentration, and they need to do a better job and continue to work it in practice — whether that’s during individual work or getting on the jugs machine like guys do before and after practice.
On the defensive line
The head coach was asked if Fletcher Cox was being double-teamed more because he’s coming off an injury, but Pederson noted that he always draws a lot of attention so that’s normal whether he’s coming off injury or not.
Pederson did say that they’re in a bit of a tough situation with two big injuries at the position which limits the amount of rotation they’re able to do.
Regarding Cox’s production, the head coach said it’s similar to Brandon Graham a year ago, where it took him a few games to find his rhythm. Pederson said, though, that Fletcher is coming, and he’s not concerned with him at all. In fact, he said that he’s excited about where Cox is health-wise and how he’s practicing.
“I think his best ball is ahead of him.”
On Miles Sanders and JJAW
Pederson was asked what they saw from the rookie running back during the spring and training camp for them to feel confident in giving Miles Sanders so many snaps so early in the season.
“The way he’s handled his business from the X’s and O’s standpoint, how he handled the offense, how he’s run in practice, how he’s caught the ball — all of the things we’ve seen him do, have really given us the confidence to play and to play him.”
He went on to say that even though he missed OTAs with injuries, the way he got himself ready and in-shape during training camp, and even how he’s handled himself early in the season. Sanders might be young, and there’s probably going to be some growing pains with him, but the more they put him out there, the better he’ll get.
The head coach was asked about ball security with the rookie, and he said that Duce Staley does a great job in practice working on those things with the running back group.
Later on, Pederson was also asked about JJ Arcega-Whiteside, another rookie getting a lot of snaps early this season. The head coach noted that it’s a great opportunity for the receiver to get experience, and he’ll continue to get better each time he takes the field. From learning the game, to learning how to prepare mentally and study defensive backs, is all part of becoming a professional.
“Both of these guys are going to be fine.”
On the officiating vs. Detroit
He said that they haven’t heard from the league yet about the kick-off return, and Pederson noted that it may be a couple of days before he does. The head coach said that he just saw the clip of a potential block in the back, but from what he saw on TV it was hard to tell, and film-wise they’re focused on Green Bay.
Pederson said that they won’t watch the Lions game at all on Monday, with the short week they’re just looking ahead.
He was also asked about the 3 offensive pass interference calls against the Eagles on Sunday, and Pederson said, “I agree with them”. The head coach went on to say that they were push-offs and they can’t be doing those things.
On preparing for Green Bay
He was asked about his earlier comments that they aren’t watching the film from the Lions game, and Pederson noted that they’ve been working on preparations for the Packers for a few days. With a short week, they really have to flip the script quickly and put the Detroit loss behind them.
The head coach said that they can go back and watch that game once they have a little more time and make corrections from that, but at the same time, they have a game in a few days so they are right on to Green Bay.
Pederson later on mentioned that due to the short week, Tuesday’s practice will be a walk-thru rather than a full-go practice. He said that guys are still sore today and tomorrow, and then they leave on Wednesday, so that’s the best plan.
He was also asked to draw on his experience and time in Green bay as a player, and how tough and intimidating that environment can be. Pederson emphasized that it’s a great place to play, very loud, and a great football environment with the fans right up to the field.
“It’s tough. It’s almost a dome environment because of the noise.”
On what stands out about the Packers right now, Pederson noted that the offense is being efficient and have been able to score early, and the defense has been opportunistic. In their game Sunday against the Broncos, they forced a couple of turnovers that turned into 14 points.
“You look at Denver, and you look us, and you think ‘Geez, hang on to the football’.”
Pederson also pointed out that the Packers’ defense can be a big problem on third downs, they can play a lot of defensive backs and they’ve also got a really good blitz package.
Pederson said that he’d have more information on Ronald Darby either later Monday or on Tuesday when the coordinators speak.
Andre Dillard, though, is fine and will be available.
Jason Peters left the Week 3 game for a little bit due to illness, but came back later on. Pederson confirmed it was just a little bit of nausea, and was good after that.