Pederson Preaches Focus as Eagles Enter Bye Week
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — The Eagles enter their bye week as the best team in football with a gaudy 8-1 record.
It's now Doug Pederson's job to make sure his players reconvene next week with the same focus and drive that got them to their current lofty perch.
“We’ve just got to make sure we maintain our focus," the Coach of the Year candidate assessed. "Understand what got us to where we are today at 8-1 and continue that process of moving forward."
Next on the docket, of course, is a nationally televised matchup with the Dallas Cowboys on Nov. 19 in the Lone Star State. Any game against the 'Boys is big but depending on what happens this weekend when the Cowboys visit Atlanta, things could reach a fever pitch with serious NFC East implications.
For now, though, Pederson wants his players recharging the batteries for the stretch run.
“The best thing is to just kind of get away and just rest,” the coach claimed.
“You still want them to seek some sort of physical activity, whether they lift or conditioning during the off week," he continued. "Obviously guys that are around can come into the facility and work out and get treatment and to make sure that they’re ready for next week and the next seven games. So get away from it, clear their minds, understand that we’ve started something special and we really want to make sure we finish it in the right way.”
DARBY IS CLOSE
Injured Cornerback Ronald Darby seems to be the verge of returning to action after the bye, according to Pederson.
"Last week he really got more reps in practice," the coach said. "Even though limited, he was almost a full [participant] last week, too."
Darby, who suffered a dislocated ankle in Week 1 against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field, has been practicing on a limited basis over the past three weeks but with Jalen Mills, Patrick Robinson and Rasul Douglas all playing pretty well there was really no need to push Darby back into action.
"He's a guy who will be around working on his treatment and his rehab," Pederson explained. "We'll look at him when they get back next week and evaluate him some more. He's in a really good spot to possibly come back and help us in the next week, or so."
Pederson also updated the status of defensive tackle Tim Jernigan, who has been dealing with a balky ankle that has limited his playing time in recent weeks, including Sunday's blowout win over Denver.
"Tim's fine," Pederson said. "He could have come back in that game yesterday. He'll be fine. We have this time off now."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen