After having a chance to review the film from Sunday’s loss, Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson spoke to the media on Monday afternoon. Most of the questions he faced were about Carson Wentz and his performance, as well as why the defense struggled so much against the Rams run game.
Pederson also confirmed that Isaac Seumalo is going to miss some time and the short-term IR designation will be used.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On Carson Wentz’s performance
Pederson was asked about seeing a regression from the quarterback into his fifth NFL season. He noted that as coaches and players they all strive to improve, but he doesn’t know exactly why Wentz’s production has gone down.
“I just don’t want Carson to feel like he has to make all the plays, every single time.”
As far as their relationship as coach/play caller and quarterback, Pederson explained that they tailor the offense to the quarterback’s strengths — like they did when Nick Foles took over in 2017. They do the same thing with Wentz, even in-game, and are communicating about things he sees, and likes, and whether Pederson is or isn’t calling certain things.
“Just want to make sure that Carson does feel comfortable with the game plan, because, quite honestly, the quarterbacks have input.”
Later, Pederson was asked about some of Wentz’s missed throws that weren’t due to protection or needing to press, and the head coach noted that they were just misses. He pointed to the lack of OTAs and preseason reps, resulting in poor timing and missed throws that he typically would make.
It was pointed out that several other veteran quarterbacks with established coaching staffs haven’t had the same issues despite the shortened offseason. Pederson only doubled down and said that it’s just not enough time to get ready in the 2.5 weeks that they had of training camp. He pointed to the set of rules and protocols in place that limited time inside the building and on the field, and with so many new skill players, it wasn’t enough time.
When asked about the interception on the pass to JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Pederson did admit that it was “unacceptable.” He explained that it wasn’t part of the play — it was a backside progression, and it was unfortunate. They have to coach the details of that particular route better.
Despite never having a two-game stretch with this kind of poor performance in his football career, Pederson said he isn’t worried at all about Wentz’s confidence moving forward. He knows the QB and his work ethic during the week, and isn’t worried about these two weeks affecting him negatively long term — they just have to stay aggressive.
On the Eagles’ defense vs. Rams
Pederson was asked about the Eagles defense biting a lot with play action, and he explained that with the Rams, there are a lot of moving parts — a tight end reset, or possibly a jet motion, etc....
They marry that with the run game, and that’s their whole style and they do it well. From time to time, they get caught up in the play action game, and have to fill certain gaps — and that’s where they were behind on blocks and you saw some long runs.
On getting in a hole early the past few seasons
“This is a sport that I love. This is a sport, I love to play it, and now I love to coach it. And, obviously, we get into this business to win, and I’ve been hired here to win championships and to win games. There’s going to be setbacks. There’s going to be things that don’t go our way. But, instead of just folding up our tents and going and doing something else, we’re going to fight the fight, man. We’re going to sit in here, we’re going to grind this out, we’re going to figure this thing out. I’ve got smart coaches, I’ve got smart players.”
He went on to say that the guys in the locker room are mad about how the season has started and in this position, and they’re going to work to turn it around.
- Pederson said that he’s constantly thinking about how he communicates with Carson Wentz and the rest of the team, and it’s something he thinks should and will continue to evolve. He doesn’t want to come across as attacking players, he wants to have open and constructive dialogue while still being critical and holding players accountable.
- The head coach agreed that the mistakes they’ve made these first two weeks have been devastating, but there are also some positives to take away, as well. Against the Rams, the offensive line looked better, and were able to keep Aaron Donald away from Wentz for the most part — which is not small feat.
- He was clear that he doesn’t face any pressure from the front office to get Jalen Hurts (a second round pick) playing time.