Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson spoke to reporters following the utter collapse against the Rams in Week 2. He addressed some of his play calling, Carson Wentz’s performance — notably his interceptions —, and why they made Jalen Hurts active over Nate Sudfeld.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On the play calling
Pederson explained his decision to keep the 3 points rather than accept the penalty and go for 4th and 3 from the Rams’ 10-yard line while down 8 points.
“I felt at that time we had some momentum — took the ball down the field. It was going to be a 4th and 3, I believe, and wanted to keep it to a one score game at that particular point. It felt like we had some momentum, and made the choice to keep the points on the board.”
He later noted that those points made it a 5 point game, and the defense was eager to get back on the field. They just needed the defense to make a stop and get the offense back out there, and that’s one drive they’ll be taking a look at and to coach up how getting one stop in a situation like that could lead to another score with the next offensive possession.
Pederson said that there were a few plays drawn up for DeSean Jackson in the first half, but the ball didn’t make it to him from a progression standpoint. They made a conscious decision at halftime to get Jackson more involved, and felt like they did a good job utilizing his explosiveness.
The head coach also talked about utilizing short and quick passes this week and how when you’re going against a guy like Aaron Donald, you don’t want to hold onto the ball for too long, or having lengthy routes.
On Carson Wentz’s turnovers
Pederson talked about Wentz’s first interception — the one on first down — and the head coach explained that they were trying to get the quarterback out of the pocket for the play and it’s just a situation they have to keep working on. He noted that if a play isn’t there, don’t try and force or create something, just throw the ball away or run in that situation.
The head coach was also asked about Wentz’s overall performance.
“I thought there were some good plays there. Some good decisions. He did a nice job handling the run game with some of the checks that we had going on. Got us in and out of some throws from the standpoint of bad defense into good, positive plays. So, he handled the game that way.
The one thing, again, that we all have to take a look at, especially offense, is just the turnovers. We had the fumble early, and then of course the interceptions, and that’s kind of been — I think these first two weeks of the regular season, that’s been the tale of the tape.”
On the offensive line
Pederson said overall the group played well, and played better than in Week 1. They were facing a tough defensive front, and Aaron Donald is a tremendous football player, and the OL handled them well.
“Hats off to those guys, they worked hard during the week to prepare for that, and I thought overall did a nice job.”
On Jalen Hurts being active
“We always do what we feel is best for the football team each and every week. We felt this week, with him up, that it could give us an opportunity to possibly use him in those situations that we did. And, obviously, he went in and executed them well. It’s a starting point. It’s something we’ll evaluate each week.”
On defending the Rams’ run game
The head coach said that they need to review the film, but it appeared to be a down-hill rush attack from the Rams. They’re a stretch running team, and they did some things on the perimeter, as well.
“With all the moving parts on offense — with the jet sweeps, and the different things that they do, and the tosses, it’s something we have to do a better job of. We definitely pride ourselves here in stopping the run, and we didn’t do a very good job today.”
Later, Pederson was asked about the defense as a group since the second-half against Washington, but he wouldn’t put the blame squarely on that side of the ball and noted that the offense needs to be putting more points on the board — field goals are great, but they need to be scoring touchdowns.