Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson spoke to reporters on Saturday before practice and gave some injury updates, announced the 10th different group of offensive line starters, and also talked about Carson Wentz’s week of practice.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
Zach Ertz has had a good week of practice, but Pederson doesn’t expect the tight end to be ready to play this week. He did say it was good to have Ertz back out on the practice field, but they’re being a little cautious with him, and hope he’ll be back in Week 13.
Pederson later admitted it’s possible that some of Wentz’s struggles are due to not having both Alshon Jeffery or Zach Ertz on the field through most of this season. He pointed to a limited offseason, and a new group of players, but didn’t want to make excuses for some of the issues they’ve had.
The head coach said that Boston Scott has had a good week, feels good, and hasn’t suffered any setbacks, so he should be good to play on Monday. Still, Jordan Howard has jumped right back in, and his familiarity with the terminology has helped, and he’s someone who could have a role moving forward.
On the offensive line
Pederson confirmed that Jordan Mailata will be the starter at left tackle and Jason Peters is moving back to right guard — where he started the season. The head coach explained that the difference from earlier this week, when he confirmed Peters would still be at LT, was the news that Lane Johnson would be out the remainder of the season.
He went on to talk about how he’s excited for Peters to move over to right guard, and that he’s a tremendous player and part of the organization.
“Mailata has really — he’s played well, he’s been consistent, he played good the other day and so he gets another opportunity, really not an opportunity, another start at left tackle.”
Pederson also noted the rest of the line will include Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, and then Matt Pryor at right tackle for Johnson.
This will be the offense’s 10th different starting line on Monday night, but Pederson pointed out that all of these guys have played throughout the season up to this point. He also noted that Pryor had to move from guard to tackle last week when Johnson was injured, and he’s taken the tackle reps in practice this week, so he’ll be ready for his new role.
Later on, the head coach was asked whether they should have held Johnson back earlier in the season, but he said that they wouldn’t have done things any differently. Pederson explained that Johnson has battled through a few things this season, and he’s a tough kid, and it’s just a situation where the wear and tear on his body has led them to this point.
He was also asked if he thinks Johnson will be able to be the same player next year, and Pederson said he was hopeful — and noted he’s hopeful Brandon Brooks will be the same caliber player when he’s back next year, too. He explained that these guys are professionals, and work really hard with the training and medical staff, so he’s confident that they’ll be back.
On Carson Wentz this week in practice
“I’ve seen great leadership, great poise. Obviously, he works extremely hard, working with the young guys after practice — things that he’s done all season. He knows, just like I know, that things aren’t going the way we had hoped for, and he and I are in this together, and we’re going to get this thing turned around and fixed. We have a lot of confidence in him that he’ll get it done, got a lot of confidence in myself that I can get it done. And, he’s had a really good week of practice.”
On Jalen Hurts
Pederson said that Hurts has taken his normal number of snaps this week, and wouldn’t give any information about how he fits into their game plan this week — and whether they would let him take a series or two.
Later on, the head coach was asked about Hurts’ development over halfway through his rookie season.
“I like where he’s at. I think for a young rookie quarterback, he’s right where he needs to be and he keeps improving each week, you know, just with the terminology and the mental side of learning the game.”
He also noted that getting some playing time has helped Hurts develop and also helped their offensive production some.