The Eagles are hosting the Bengals in what will hopefully be a bounce back game in Week 3, and head coach Doug Pederson spoke to reporters on Wednesday morning about the offense’s identity and the offensive line— and, yes, he’s still answering questions about Carson Wentz and his role with the offensive game plan.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On Carson Wentz and his role in game planning
As far as the communication between Pederson and Wentz, the head coach noted that they are getting back out on the practice field Wednesday and he wants Wentz, and all the QBs, to verbalize what they see. He wants to hear what they see on specific plays, were there any protection issues, etc... and keep that dialogue going.
That kind on communication with the entire quarterback room helps with game planning, and also helps the staff better coach the group. Pederson later said that having Press Taylor on the sideline this season definitely helps the QBs and keeping that communication going throughout the game on the sideline.
Pederson was asked about adjustments Wentz might make at the line of scrimmage, and the head coach said that those happen in real time but, “Everything is within the structure of the game plan.”
He went on to detail the week of game planning and how and when Wentz contributes.
- Mondays and Tuesdays, the coaches spend time putting the plan together. When they put the passing game together and protection plan, they ask the QBs for their input.
- Wednesday they’re still kind of massaging the game plan with the QBs input.
- When they get to Thursday and Friday, things are more permanent, and they get practice reps with the plays and personnel.
- Once they’re in-game, Pederson is big on NOT calling a play that isn’t in the game plan because it’s harder to do at the spur of the moment.
Pederson also talked about how Wentz’s voice and input has grown over the years, “He’s a deep thinking, he’s smart, very cerebral.” He went on to say that Wentz sees things like a coach does, and that’s why it’s important that they listen to his suggestions. It doesn’t mean that they have to listen or change things, but Wentz has definitely grown over the years.
When asked about some of Wentz’s missed throws the first two weeks, particularly the ones that seemed like easy passes, Pederson balked at the question saying that there are no lay-up throws in the NFL. He went on to explain that some of it is timing with young guys, some of it is Wentz not being accurate, and it could even be that a defensive guy flashed a hand and Wentz had to change his arm motion at the last moment.
On the offensive line
Pederson revealed that Isaac Seumalo will likely miss more than 3 weeks and that his injury is a little more significant. With him sidelined, the head coach noted that they might consider moving Nate Herbig from right to left guard, but they also have options with Matt Pryor, Jack Driscoll and Sua Opeta.
They want to find the best five players and the best fit this week coming out of practice.
With Lane Johnson back in his tackle position, and Jason Peters on the other side at tackle, they have some options with rookie Jack Driscoll. Pederson said that Driscoll is a guy that worked at guard during training camp, and with his experience at tackle in Week 1, he’s in the mix for one of the guard spots.
The head coach also noted that the offensive line is stable enough now that they can start taking more deep shots with longer (and better) protection for Wentz.
On the offense’s identity
Pederson agreed that with the offensive line improving in Week 2 and getting the run game going, they can build on the rush attack moving forward. He also noted that having a successful run game creates more opportunities for the offense as a whole.
As far as the change in receiver rotation from Week 1 to Week 2 — shifting to focus more on DeSean Jackson and Jalen Reagor —, Pederson said that it was just a matter of the game plan. They have plays designed for each guy, but it’s how the game is unfolding that determines which plays they utilize. He also noted that they have some plays that can work in both 12 and 11 personnel, which can affect the receiver role.
Additionally, Pederson talked about how they are comfortable in 12 personnel, because they feel like they have some matchup advantages with the tight ends in situations like that. But also, there are some opportunities to do more with it in the run game and with play action.
Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz spoke on Tuesday about the defense specifically needing to do a better job responding to adversity in-game. Pederson pointed out that adversity hits in many different ways — both good and bad —, but in the first two weeks, adversity has mostly been with turnovers. He doesn’t point the finger at one particular guy, but rather admits it’s the whole team that has to respond.
From a coaching standpoint, Pederson said that they have to react positively to everything going on, and the team has to learn from those plays, but then also shake it off and move forward.