Eagles head coach Doug Pederson spoke to the media on Friday before practice, and gave some injury updates, as well as talked about the offense’s run game philosophy and how it’s evolved during his tenure.
Pederson was also asked about the new rule in Pennsylvania that players on the field (in-game) would need to wear a face covering. He noted that he just heard about that this morning so they haven’t talked through logistics, and pointed out that how they did things against San Francisco with everyone on the sideline in a mask. But, when asked about players having to wear a mask in-game, the head coach smirked, “No comment.”
Here’s what else Pederson had to say:
Isaac Seumalo had a really good week of practice, and Pederson said he fully anticipates him being available to play on Sunday. They still want to get through Friday’s practice, but the head coach noted Nate Herbig, Sua Opeta and Matt Pryor are all in the plans for now, Jack Driscoll could be available, so they have options along the offensive line.
- Pederson was also asked about how challenging it’s been to have 8 different lineups in 9 games, and the head coach admitted it’s been difficult. He talked about how having consistency and continuity up front sets the tone for the rest of the offense in protection, the run game, etc... He said they aren’t going to make excuses for it, but now over the next month, they hope to start getting that consistency and sustaining through the rest of the season.
Zach Ertz “probably needs a little more time” according to Pederson, but they’ll see where he’s at on Friday. The tight end had a really good week of practice, though, and is getting close.
Pederson noted that he couldn’t speak directly about the players put on the reserve/COVID list yesterday, but he said they “are still okay” at the receiver position with the guys they have active on Sunday.
On the running back position
Pederson agreed that they’ve transitioned from having a running back by committee approach, to leaning mostly on Miles Sanders this season — and Boston Scott only getting carries when Sanders isn’t on the field.
“We knew when we drafted Miles that he was potentially, and still is, a guy that could go three downs for us, and be a bigger part of our offensive plans. That’s something that we’ve also talked about in the 4 or 5 years that I’ve been here, of having that guy that we can rely on that way.
Love Boston, love his energy, love what he’s provided for our offense, he’s a spark. Would love to find more ways of getting both of those guys on the field at the same time, I think it’s a dynamic duo with that.
And then, we know what Corey [Clement]’s about, and Corey’s been obviously a great special teams player for us, and can come in in some situational roles, whether it be red zone, short yardage, 4-minute, wherever it is and get us some valuable minutes. And, obviously, he had a really nice touchdown run last week.
I still think the philosophy is running back by committee, however, with Miles and what he’s been able to do, we’ve given more touches to him.”
He also talked about Sanders not being as effective in the passing game this season, but he attributed it to several factors, including defense’s scheming for the RB differently and keeping a closer eye on him out of the backfield. Pederson said that they still have confidence in Sanders in that kind of role, and they’d also like to get him involved in the screen game a little more, as well.
Later, Pederson was asked about bringing Jordan Howard back on the practice squad. He explained that first he’s got to get through COVID testing, and then they’ll get him on the practice squad and see where he’s at physically and mentally — especially with things not working out for him in Miami. He’s a player who helped get some wins as an Eagle, and they’re excited to get him back and get some depth and a veteran player in the RB room.
On news Miles Garrett will be out for Cleveland
“He’s a tremendous football player, and he’s definitely in discussions for Defensive Player of the Year, he’s having a heck of a season, leader of that football team.
So, listen, I can’t speak specifically on their behalf, but I know that if it was one of our players in the position, it’s a blow. But, you know what, just like us, the next guy steps up, the next guy has to play, next guy is gonna be prepared, gonna play hard, and listen, there’s 10 other guys on that defense that can also play and it’s a good defense.
So, we’ve got to be ready, we’ve got to be focused in and dialed in on what we’re doing.”
- After rookie Jalen Reagor seemed irritated by some of the comparison to other rookies, Pederson was asked how he helps Reagor shut out the noise. The head coach said that he talks to all the guys about not playing the comparison game, but that obviously easier said than done, especially with young players. But they are still really excited about Reagor, and think he’s dynamic, electric and is someone they’re eager to see grow in the offense. He also pointed out that the rookie missed some time, so these games are him finally getting his feet wet.
- Browns’ GM Andrew Berry was only with the Eagles for 9-10 months, but Pederson said that he’s a great guy and really smart, understands how to build a roster. He expects Berry to have a different approach now that he’s in Cleveland, but said that the GM’s got a great eye for talent.
- Pederson noted that Alshon Jeffery gets a little more confidence each day he steps onto the practice field as he comes back from injury. He was in a limited role last week, but they hope to expand on that this week and get him more involved.