Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson spoke to the media on Wednesday and was asked several times about the comments made by Brett Favre suggesting the team should have kept Nick Foles over Carson Wentz. He also talked a bit about how they could improve the offensive play-calling, and why the bye week was timed well for some of the injured players.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On Brett Favre’s comments about Foles > Wentz
The Eagles’ head coach was asked several times about his friend and former colleague’s comments recently about how the team should have kept Nick Foles over Carson Wentz, and Pederson scoffed it off before eventually emphasizing that Wentz is their QB for the future.
Q: Brett Favre offered the option yesterday that you guys should’ve kept Nick Foles over Carson Wentz. His comments arguably have a little more weight since you guys are tight. Just curious what your reaction to his comments are.
DOUG PEDERSON: I respect Brett’s opinion. Yeah, we are friends, but I haven’t talked to him. And he’s entitled to that. And that’s about it. I’ll have a conversation with him off the record (smiles).
Q: Just to clarify on the Brett Favre business. You said you respect his opinion, but his opinion in this instance was you should’ve kept Nick Foles and gotten rid of Carson Wentz. I’m assuming that’s not your opinion?
DOUG PEDERSON: I respect Brett’s opinion. He’s entitled to his opinion. And that’s fine. I’ll leave it at that.
Q: Before it gets blown out of proportion and everyone runs with ‘Doug didn’t support Carson today and he stood by what Brett Favre said,’ just wanted to give you a final opportunity to clarify. Those were Brett’s thoughts, they weren’t your thoughts. When the decision had to be made in the organization, even though personnel decisions like that are usually tough, it probably wasn’t that difficult for you guys. Was anyone beating down the door to do a different thing?
DOUG PEDERSON: In regards to Nick?
Q: In terms of keeping Nick over Carson.
DOUG PEDERSON: No. Carson’s our guy. Carson’s our draft pick. Carson’s the guy that’s going to carry us and lead this football team. Listen, everybody’s entitled to their own opinion. Those aren’t my words. Those aren’t Howie’s words, Jeffrey’s words. Those are his words. I respect that opinion on whatever he wants to say. That’s fine. We’re going to remain friends. It doesn’t bother me one way or the other. All I know is that Carson Wentz is our guy. And it’s my job to get Carson Wentz to play better, to do better, to help this football team win, as it is to help everybody else play better. Again, I respect his opinion and his words, those aren’t mine. Please don’t put words in my mouth, or we’re going to have a problem. And Carson’s our guy. Bottom line. End of story.
On Carson Wentz
Pederson was asked what they can do to sort of jump start the QB’s production heading into the second half of the season, and he admitted that there are several things, including play-calling — whether that’s calling one or two more runs to help out.
One big thing he pointed to from the first half of the season was the offense’s 1st-and-10 production, which he admitted was “poor” and they had too many 2nd-and-long and 3rd-and-long situations. So, whether it’s the run game or the screen game, there are things they can do with the play-calling to not only help Wentz, but also the offense as a whole.
- Pederson confirmed that Carson Wentz got some rest last week — they rested all the starters — and wanted to focus more on the developmental guys and the players who haven’t seen a lot of snaps.
- When asked about 11- and 12-personnel schemes, Pederson noted that they tend to struggle in 12 personnel when their opponent is in their base defense. So, by putting 11 personnel out on the field, and maybe getting their sub-defense, they can spread things out and that’s been beneficial — but all of that is a week-by-week adjustment for them.
- He doesn’t think they’ve been trying to force the ball down field to rookie WR John Hightower — despite his targets vs. receptions and Carson Wentz’s low deep-pass completion percentage. Pederson explained that Hightower has often been open down the field, so he’s been calling those shots, but it’s something they did study last week during the bye.
“Honestly, yeah, okay, we haven’t hit as many as I would have liked, but the fact that we’re getting him behind the defense and having opportunities down the field are things that we can improve on, and we can get better at, and so for me, that’s the encouraging part.”
- Pederson was also asked about Golden Tate and his time with the Eagles. The head coach was quick to say that he was a great person and a great teammate, and he was happy to have had the opportunity to work with him.
Pederson said that Lane Johnson is doing good and they’ll see how he does out on the field on Wednesday to see where he’s at health-wise. Johnson is in a good frame of mind and the bye week was beneficial for him to get treatment and rest.
Regarding Isaac Seumalo and Miles Sanders and what the coaches need to see from them in order to have them play on Sunday, Pederson said that they have to be smart with how much of a workload they give them during a week like this. They want to see them practice and get some reps with the offense, but they also have to see how much stress their body can take during the week.
Pederson also noted that the bye week came at a good time for the team health-wise, and allowed some of the guys who have been injured to get healthy. They’re encouraged about where they are, even today, to get some guys back out on the practice field and see where they are in terms of returning to action.