Pederson on Eagles Struggles: “It Starts with Me”
In reality the Eagles are just two games behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the second and final NFC wild card spot. But after losses in seven of their last nine, including three straight – the narrative is quite different at NovaCare Complex then it was in back September.
"I meet with Jeffrey and Howie every week, and we discuss a lot of things and go over a lot of things, and every week it's very positive," Pederson explained when asked what standard Howie Roseman and Jeffrey Lurie are using to evaluate this season.
"I just don't think, personally, you can base a guy's career on one season. I think you've got to give it time to develop. We have a rookie quarterback. We’ve got to have time to develop this quarterback. It just doesn't happen overnight. So by no means have they expressed anything to me, and it's been positive and very supportive."
Pederson doesn’t think the struggles are a result of effort.
“I didn't see any quit in the guys," said Pederson. "We battled back. We scored two touchdowns. We had opportunities on a couple of more drives to score. Our defense was creating turnovers in the second half. We had a [big] kickoff return. I mean, everybody was doing everything we could to get ourselves back into that football game. I didn't see any quit in the guys.”
The Eagles struggled again, especially on offense. Once again, for the fourth straight game, the Eagles were held to under 20 points and in the eight games they have played without Lane Johnson, they average just 19.1 points per game after scoring 29.7 with him in the line-up.
"When we had everybody in the early part of the season, [RT] Lane [Johnson] was there at the right side and [G/T] Allen [Barbre] was at the left guard position and things were rolling pretty good, so we've had our share of adversity this season."
The defense seemed to completely fall apart. The once ferocious front-four is now struggling to bring down opposing quarterbacks and it's causing the Eagles average secondary to become more and more exposed.
"Yeah, and Jim and I obviously, with discussions and talking about that and everything," Pederson stated. "The reason I brought Jim Schwartz here, is because he has the ability -- and he's done it with different teams -- to put pressure with four [rushers]. I mean, that's been his philosophy. That's been our philosophy ever since [he was hired]."
"We still had 19 pressures in the game yesterday. So it's not for the lack of effort and scheme. We just have to coach it better and we have to play better in all aspects of the game."
Pederson was asked about the effort of this team, and admitted that not everyone played hard the entire game, but seemed to point the finger at himself and the coaching staff for the way the team played.
“It starts with me," Pederson said. "I've got to make sure that I'm doing it right and I'm holding myself accountable, and as you mentioned earlier with Jeffrey and Howie, if they're holding me accountable and all that, that's where it starts, and then I relay that message to the assistants and on to the team.”
Pederson mentioned the mentality of his players, and reflected about another game where opposing receivers were running wide-open in the Eagles secondary and plays on the offensive side of the ball were left on the field.
“It comes down to a mentality by each individual player," Pederson acknowledged. "You know, this is a business where we have to be ready to go every single weekend because every team in the league -- I mean, there's some teams that are better than others, obviously -- but for the most part, anything can happen each weekend.”
On the injury front, Pederson said both Jordan Matthews and Ryan Mathews should be back at practice on Wednesday. Wide Receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, has an oblique contusion, he'll miss practice on Wednesday but right now he should be okay for the game against the Redskins. Pederson also said Halapoulivaati Vaitai is coming along and will do a little more this week, from a rehab standpoint, but he will not practice.
“He's doing good," Pederson said about Vaitai. "But we'll see where he is again later in the week.”