Eagles head coach Doug Pederson spoke to reporters on Friday afternoon, following the team’s second win of the season and couldn’t give too many injury updates just yet but did have some bad news for two guys. He also talked about their come back effort against the Giants and the play calling.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
- DeSean Jackson has the lower body injury and will miss “significant time.” Pederson later said that he didn’t want to comment on whether it was a dirty hit that knocked Jackson out of the game, but did say that it was one of the plays they’d be submitting to the league.
- Lane Johnson is a little more day-to-day, but was injured in Thursday’s game.
- All the other guys are rehabbing and working through the weekend and will see where they’re at in the beginning and middle of next week — guys like Miles Sanders, Dallas Goedert and Alshon Jeffery.
- Pederson also noted that T.J. Edwards and Rudy Ford are close to returning, and Jason Peters is sort of in that same boat.
- Hassan Ridgeway is out for the rest of the season with a significant bicep injury.
On the offensive line with injured players and those returning
Pederson is glad to have options at the offensive line when Jason Peters returns. He noted that Prince Tega Wanogho and Brett Toth have been doing a nice job and are getting better every week. But, when Peters is ready to return, that’ll be an internal conversation they’ll have to have about whether to add him into the rotation at guard — with Nate Herbig and Sua Opeta —, or to bring him back at left tackle.
As far as Opeta’s game on Thursday night, Pederson admitted he played “okay” and got bull rushed a couple of times.
“I think the first-time starters, especially at the offensive line, it takes a little bit to settle in and understand pass-rush lanes, pass-rush games, stunts, things of that nature, by the defense. He did some nice things, again not perfect, but something to build on and continue his growth there.”
On the play calling
Pederson was asked whether Jake Elliott’s performance affects his play calling, but he noted that he’s got so much confidence in the kicker and he’s made so many big kicks for them. So, no, he’s comfortable with that group from snap to hold, and kick, and misses don’t affect how Pederson calls plays. Elliott knows he needs to make those kicks, but it doesn’t challenge his confidence and he’ll continue to trust him to kick.
The head coach was also asked if it’s challenging with such an evolving group on offense to find what their strengths are, and he agreed that it can be difficult at times.
“It can be a challenge at times. The thing is, with this many new players, new starters or guys in the lineup, you don’t get much time on task. You don’t get many reps during the week with these guys. So some continuity and timing in the passing game, particularly, can lack just a little bit.”
But, he noted, that’s why they practice and sometimes keep game plans a little simpler (or smaller) so the guys don’t have to think as much and can just focus on a handful of plays. They try and put the guys in the best position to use their strengths, which can mean having guys learn one specific spot instead of multiple positions.
On takeaways from the win
“Sitting on top of the NFC East is obviously a good thing. The fact that we were two scores down, came back and won this football game, that’s a huge positive. With the amount of injuries that have piled up on offense, it just shows the resiliency of the entire football team. We won the turnover battle yesterday. We talk about that quite a bit, with the three defensive takeaways. It was really good to see.
There were some really good individual efforts yesterday. I think Richard Rodgers stepping in for Zach [Ertz] and the tight ends, he had a really good football game. Even the running backs, with Boston [Scott], Corey [Clement], and Jason Huntley stepping in, really doing a nice job in the run game protections. Carson [Wentz] played tough again, played physical. We asked him to run the ball a couple times, he did that.
There were a lot of really good takeaways from this football game. The fact that we came back and won this game is probably the biggest.”
Pederson later also mentioned that being in the red zone seven times on Thursday was another positive, but they only got points three of those seven times, and they need to come away with more points with those opportunities.
“We have to be better down there. We know that turnovers, penalties, sacks, things of that nature, take us away from points. Things we got to get better at.”
On the four red zone opportunities that they didn’t score, Pederson attributed those to breakdowns in execution throughout the offense. He called those mistakes teachable moments, especially for some of the new guys, and correctable.
On Richard Rodgers’ performance
“Richard Rodgers, gosh, I’ll tell you what, he played tough, physical. He played fast. He made some really good catches. Not only some short, intermediate catches, but the deep throw in the fourth quarter to help us win that football game. I’m really glad Richard is on the team. He’s a good complementary piece when both Zach [Ertz] and Dallas [Goedert] are out there. He filled in really well. Expect more of that hopefully moving forward with him in that position.”
On Carson Wentz
Pederson was asked about Wentz’s decision making when he threw the interception in the second quarter, and the head coach admitted that everybody knows he can’t do that, and it’s unacceptable. He said that the QB would agree, and needs to throw the ball away in that situation.
He wasn’t quite sure what to attribute Wentz’s performance in the first three quarters compared to the fourth quarter — similar to how it’s been the past couple of weeks — but said that it’s good to see the quarterback put the team on his back and carry them to a come back. They don’t want to fall behind by two scores, but Wentz is confident in that situation, and is the type of guy who wants to ball in his hands in those moments.