Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson spoke to the media on Wednesday before practice and he gave some injury updates, as well as explain how game planning for guys like Travis Fulgham and John Hightower will be affected once DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery are available.
Pederson also said that they’re working each week to be a more consistent, four-quarter football team. They’re learning from each game, reviewing the tape of both good and bad plays, making corrections in practice, and hope that carries over into the next week.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
Pederson didn’t want to comment on Lane Johnson’s second opinion, but acknowledged that he’ll be getting some rest on Wednesday, and will be day-to-day. They’ll see where he is later in the week. He was also asked if there was value in keeping Johnson out for a few weeks to save his availability later in the season.
“I want to make sure, number one, that he’s 100 percent, and if he’s 100 percent then he’ll play. Players play. Obviously, those are conversations we have later in the week with all our guys.”
The Eagles activated Will Parks, and Pederson noted it was because he’s healthy and ready to go. But, Parks needs to get back on the field and practice, and they need to be able to evaluate his retention of the defense and special teams. He’s another one that they’ll have to check later in the week, but if he’s good to go and they feel he can help on defense, then he’ll play.
Pederson said again that they’ll have to see how both DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery practice and feel this week, before deciding whether they’ll play Sunday. The head coach was also asked how getting them back will affect the game-planning and for guys like Travis Fulgham and John Hightower.
It’s a difficult thing. One, we’ve got to make sure that the player in question is healthy, right? And that’s just why we practice during the week, we let them practice today and we see how they feel tomorrow on Thursday and then we see how they feel on Friday and then we can make a decision for game day.
But at the same time, it is hard to say ‘Hey, okay Travis, we’re going to push you to the side because here comes a couple of [veteran] guys.’ We’ve got to get all our guys integrated back into practice this week. And at the end of the day, we’ve got to select the four or five guys we feel give us the best opportunity on game day. And some of it could be based purely on matchup.
Obviously, Travis has made a case to continue to play and play at a high level.
On Travis Fulgham’s production
Pederson said that having a receiver lined up in various roles isn’t necessarily rare for the Eagles’ offense, and even though they might be listed as a X or Z receiver, he’s going to use them in different positions. But, Fulgham took everything they gave him in the 49ers game, and then loaded him up against the Steelers. He noted that not everything the WR did was perfect, but to have that kind of production, the rest is something they can coach and correct during practice.
On Lamar Jackson’s success
Pederson wasn’t surprised that an offense could be successful with Lamar Jackson’s skillset and how the Ravens have used and implemented him. Plus, he pointed out, that Marty Mornhinweg is on the Eagles staff now, but was in Baltimore when they drafted Jackson and worked on implementing his skill set into the offense.
Jackson has a good arm, which helps him sustain the type of production that he has on the ground, as well. Pederson also admitted that they looked at Jackson and how that could help them utilize Jalen Hurts — but, they also looked at Hurts’ college tape and are finding other ways to get him integrated into the offense.
Pederson was asked about adding Le’Veon Bell, and he emphasized that he’s extremely comfortable with the guys they have. They are in a situation where they think they’ve found their 3 down guy in Miles Sanders, so they’re thrilled about that, but they’re also excited about Boston Scott and Corey Clement behind him.
On the right guard position:
“[Matt] Pryor’s done well. Again, it’s not perfect or 100 percent on a grading sheet, but he’s done some really good things in there. He’s a big guy, he’s getting better each week. We brought Jamon Brown in to give us depth [...] we have to keep him coming, as well.”
Pederson said he’s really excited and happy to have the fans back in the stands, and he’s excited to feel the energy of the crowd — even a small crowd. He admitted it was great to come out of the locker room and see people in the stands against Pittsburgh, and it’s important to him and the players to have their families back in the crowd.
The head coach also said that he’s happy with Carson Wentz’s progress this season, and the QB’s decision-making and accuracy, he’s seeing the field, spreading the ball around, and getting everybody involved. Wentz is also using his legs, and not just on designed runs, but on 3rd downs and scrambles Those are things they’ve encouraged him to do.