Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson spoke to reporters on Wednesday morning about the team veterans named to the Pro Bow, how they’ve prevented a locker room divide with the QB change, and also gave some injury updates ahead of the Dallas game on Sunday.
Pederson admitted he doesn’t know what it is about his teams playing their best football in December — and noted that if he had it his way, they’d start the season strong and then sustain it throughout the year. He mentioned that the guys respond well to adversity, and they’ve faced a lot the past couple of seasons, but they also don’t dwell in where they are and push forward to find a way down the stretch.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On the 3 Pro Bowl nods
The head coach said that he’s excited for all three guys who were named to the Pro Bowl: Fletcher Cox, Jason Kelce, and Brandon Graham.
Pederson was the one to break the news to Graham about making his first Pro Bowl, and he explained what that call was like with a big smile on his face.
“I really didn’t get much words in with him. He was so excited and so thrilled on the phone when I spoke to him the other day about it, and he was just so elated and so happy, and I was happy for him and his family. He’s worked extremely hard in his career, and probably worthy of making it, maybe, a couple of times. Just so happy for him and sort of the cherry on top of his career.”
Pederson was later asked about Jason Kelce and what he’s meant to the team, especially this season with so many moving parts along the offensive line.
“I can’t say enough good things, positive things about him. You know, he’s been the one guy that, in the offensive line, has been there day-in and day-out for that group. The stuff he battles each year through, a little bit of soreness and injury, wants to practice every day and compete, and competes at a high level, and just does things that other centers in this league can’t do. And he does it at a high level. He takes every snap in practice, he doesn’t want to miss a rep if he doesn’t have to. He’s a great leader in that room, great leader on the football team. And, he’s obviously a better person off the field, as well. Just, a tremendous player, tremendous person, I’m excited for him.”
On the QB change
The head coach admitted that benching a quarterback could lead to a locker room divide if the coaches and players let it, but Carson Wentz has still been participating in meetings, and asking questions like he normally would. He’s still committed, and has been helping Jalen Hurts on the sideline.
“It’s something that I really appreciate about Carson, is just how he’s handled this. He doesn’t want to be a distraction to the team, he wants to help the team win. That’s the bottom line, so we don’t let these things creep into our thinking and try to keep them out of the locker room so it won’t divide your team.”
On Jalen Reagor’s development
Pederson was asked what he’s seeing from the rookie now that he’s settling into his role on both offense and as a punt returner. He pointed out Reagor’s explosiveness with the screens, with the arounds. He wishes they’d been able to connect on some of the deep throws because he has been able to get past the secondary.
“His biggest thing is he continues to learn, and he missed so much of the first half of the season, really, so now he’s put himself in a position to really be explosive for us, and we just keep pushing along, and keep plugging along, and bring him along as well with the offense.”
- Jalen Reagor is fine, he’ll practice, and should be good for Sunday.
- Cameron Johnston is in the concussion protocol. They do have a plan in case the punter is not able to play on Sunday, and Pederson noted that Jake Elliott did a really nice job in Johnston’s place last week.
- Darius Slay has been cleared out of the concussion protocol and will practice on Wednesday.
- Josh Sweat has a wrist injury and is going to “miss some time,” maybe a couple of weeks, but he’ll definitely miss Sunday’s game against Dallas.