Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson spoke to the media before practice on Friday about his confidence in JJ Arcega-Whiteside, what he sees in Bengals’ QB Joe Burrow, and how he’s still finding the right face covering for game day.
Pederson also confirmed that Fletcher Cox is still day-to-day. He’s going to try and get some work in on Friday and see where he’s at physically, but he’ll be a game day decision.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On specific offensive players
Pederson was asked about his confidence in JJ Arcega-Whiteside, particularly now that Jalen Reagor will miss multiple games.
“I’ve always been confident in JJ. What I like about JJ is he’s a player that we can use in multiple positions. He knows outside, he knows inside. Smart guy and someone we’re going to have to lean on a little bit here in the next couple of games.”
The head coach also said that it was great to get Alshon Jeffery back out on the practice field, and he’s optimistic moving forward that the WR might be ready in the next couple of weeks. Pederson noted that it depends on how Jeffery recovers from his first practice back, and they definitely don’t want to push it. He also confirmed that Jeffery will not be ready to go against Cincinnati — he hasn’t taken enough practice reps.
Pederson was asked about Miles Sanders’ comments after the Rams game about his conditioning, but the head coach wasn’t surprised given how much of training camp the running back missed, along with not having preseason games. He said it takes a lot to get conditioned to play for 60 minutes, but that he’s confident Sanders will continue to improve in the coming weeks.
They decided to move Nate Herbig over to left guard and put Matt Pryor at right guard. Pederson explained that Pryor has played right guard for them, specifically, and Herbig has been a guy that they can move around a little more. Pryor, ultimately, feels more comfortable at right guard.
As far as having Jalen Hurts active last week, Pederson felt like it was an opportunity to get Hurts some game time, but that it was nothing against Nate Sudfeld. The No. 2 QB will continue to be a week-to-week decision based on opponent and game plan.
On his impression of Bengals’ QB Joe Burrow
“Obviously, his ability to extend plays. Also, his ability to hang in there, be tough in the pocket — he’s taken some hits these first couple of weeks, and really bounced up. I just think, right now, nothing has really phased him. He’s mentally tough, physically tough, he’s a good athlete, he throws a really good football — very accurate football, a catchable football. Those are all great things that he, being a young quarterback, can posses, obviously, with a team that has weapons and fire power that they have on offense.”
On face coverings on game day
Pederson has been trying different face shields and masks, but said that it isn’t due to the recent wave of fines throughout the league.
He went on to explain in detail how one face shield was more contoured to his face but wasn’t strong enough in the wind, so he got another that was a little more stable in the wind — but the issue with shields in general is that they get warm, especially in the humidity. So, he went back to a mask yesterday afternoon, but still has other items to try out and hasn’t made a final decision yet.
“I will have something on my face, for sure.”
On Press Taylor’s role on game day
Pederson explained that Taylor controls and coaches the quarterback, but that he’s also the one that speaks to the rest of the staff, gathers information, and gets it to Doug. Rich Scangarello is in the booth and is in Pederson’s ear during 2 minute drives, and sometimes the head coach will go directly to Jeff Stoutland with a run question or play they want to run, but everything else funnels through Taylor.
On placing blame for last week’s loss
Pederson said that he appreciates that Jim Schwartz took ownership over the poor defensive game plan against the Rams. He noted that they talk a lot about ownership and accountability in the building, and that’s particularly true among the coaches.
The head coach said that it’s just something that coaches know when the fault lies with them. In private, they might have the more difficult conversations with players about execution and individual issues, but that’s not something they do publicly.
The guys have responded well from the loss, Pederson said, and that Wednesday’s practice was energetic. He admitted that this team is “below average” right now with the turnovers and issues they’ve had, but the guys understand where they are and what they need to do to be good.