Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson spoke to reporters on Monday afternoon and elaborated on some of his post-game comments from Sunday, talked about Carson Wentz and the need for improvement from him and the players around him, and answered a direct question about Alshon Jeffery’s roster spot.
“There has been a lot of things that have surrounded this football team this year with the pandemic and COVID and injuries and different things. We still have a lot to play for. We still have an opportunity in our division to win the division eventually, and hopefully — it’s going to take everybody.
Listen, I guess it’s a hard task, right? It’s an uphill battle. But we just have to do our part. I’ve got to coach better, we have to practice better, and ultimately, we have to play better in order to really get this thing back on track.”
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On getting Carson Wentz out of the pocket
Pederson was asked why Wentz doesn’t roll out of the pocket more often, and the head coach admitted that the number one thing is him calling for it more.
“We had success in the run game in the first half and my plan when we got to the second half was to kind of get him out of the pocket — it was to get him out of the pocket —, especially on 1st-and-10 situations, to do that. We had in this game plan, we had the movement throws also kill to a run check built into the game plan, based on what the defense gave us. Some of that came up where we got to the run as opposed to the quarterback movement, but honestly, it’s probably more me just calling it.”
On Wentz’s first interception
“Part of that protection, obviously the tight ends have to be aware of, especially on the nub side like that, to be aware of DBs coming off the edge. It’s unfortunate that that happened, and we just missed.”
Pederson did, however, say that — he hadn’t spoke to Wentz about it yet — the QB had Jalen Reagor on the play fake and could have possibly completed that pass before he got hit.
On benching and accountability
“We still have a lot to play for, we still have a lot to fix. In this city, the quarterback and the head coach — it’s all about the QB and the head coach, and everybody else can kind of go by the wayside, I guess. And so, it’s almost like it’s a two-man band, but there’s enough work to be done, as I’ve mentioned, by all positions. Receivers can play better, the o-line can play better.
We had how many different offensive linemen? We played all nine offensive linemen yesterday in this game. [Sua]Opeta who was a left guard is now playing right guard. Had to bump [Matt] Pryor out to right tackle, and [Jack] Driscoll was in there. [Jordan] Mailata is playing the left side.
It was just another one of those days. Running backs, we need to hang on to the football. Quarterback needs to play better. Defensively, we have got to get off the field on third down. Got to be able to tackle better. Same way on special teams. Got to be able to tackle in space.
There is enough to go around that none of it is excusable. We all hold each other accountable, coaches and players. That’s why I keep saying that we have a lot to play for. There is a lot of pride here.”
On Jason Peters and the OL
Pederson confirmed that Jason Peters is their left tackle moving forward, and with regards to how the veteran was playing before being injured and leaving the field on Sunday,
“There were a lot of things that — several things that sort of stood out after watching the film, you know, from a number of positions, and not just one specific spot or aspect of the game offensively. It’s something that, you’ve heard me say this before, there’s enough to go around: O-line, running backs, tight ends, quarterbacks, receivers. A lot of work still needs to be done, but we can get it done.”
The head coach was also asked about Nate Herbig being inactive, and Pederson noted that Sua Opeta deserved the opportunity right now, and with Isaac Seumalo back, their offensive line roster spots were filled.
“Herbie is doing fine. He’s doing well. Each week, he’s competing for one of those backup spots right now, or potentially a starter spot if there is an injury each week.”
On Alex Singleton and other positives
Pederson was asked about what positives he’s seen from this team and he agreed that Alex Singleton has been a bright spot for the team this year. The linebacker has played a ton of snaps on defense, he’s a core special teams player, and has been a great leader, great energy giver, and someone who has really embraced his role.
“I think about guys like Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham who have been real leaders of this football team. They play and practice hard each and every week.
Even you look at Miles Sanders and Boston Scott and what they’ve done in the run game, kind of picking that up. I’m encouraged obviously, some of the bright spots have been the receivers, quite frankly. Travis [Fulgham] has obviously been a big part of that, and Jalen Reagor is getting better the more he plays.
And then Darius Slay on the outside as a corner has really done some nice things there, being able to shut down a top receiver on the opponent or whatever Jim [Schwartz] asks him to do.”
- Pederson was asked directly why Alshon Jeffery was active and still on the team. The head coach — a little thrown off by the question — said that the WR is still part of the offense and he’s part of the success they’ve had. He acknowledged that Jeffery is coming off injury and they need to get him in the game more. Pederson also noted that JJ Arcega-Whiteside was not available for Sunday’s game and Quez Watkins was down.
- Later Pederson said that he isn’t worried about Jeffery’s presence, but is concerned about Travis Fulgham’s production and wanting to get him better and help hem better.
“He needs to get better.”
- He admitted that he could get Jalen Hurts in the game a little more, even with Carson Wentz still as the No. 1 quarterback.
- Pederson wouldn’t get into hypothetical situations with regards to their chance at winning the NFC East and whether they’d bench Carson Wentz, and noted that they’re still in the hunt for the division.