No looking back now
Eagles coach Pederson looking to flip the script in time for Thursday’s matchup with the unbeaten Packers
PHILADELPHIA — Maybe when they’re finally able to catch their breath after this whirlwind week of football, the Philadelphia Eagles will rewind the tape of their 27-24 loss to Detroit on Sunday and break down every little thing that went wrong. But these next few days are not the time for that, according to coach Doug Pederson, who showed up at his Monday press conference with a day-old beard, as if to prove that point.
Hey, no time to shave, either.
His team takes off for Green Bay on Wednesday, and there’s just so much to do to figure out a way to keep from slipping to 1-3 at the quarter pole.
“We’ve been actually working on Green Bay for a few days,” Pederson said. “...As coaches, we’ve got to prepare the players for Thursday night and I’ve got to flip the script.
“Now we can come back when we get some time and watch this game and make corrections from that. But at the same time, gosh, we’ve got a game in a couple days, so we’re right on to Green Bay.”
Losers of two straight, the Eagles face 3-0 Green Bay on Thursday. Such a quick turnaround might be a good thing if they weren’t so banged up.
Pederson couldn’t even guarantee that wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (calf ) will be ready, and nobody believes fellow receiver DeSean Jackson
(abdominal strain) will play. Starting cornerback Ronald Darby (hamstring) went down in the Detroit game, and his status is unknown.
Those are just the most recent injuries. The Eagles began the season down two corners (Jalen Mills and Cre’Von LeBlanc) and a linebacker (Kamu Grugier-Hill), then lost defensive tackles Malik Jackson and Timmy Jernigan to foot injuries in successive weeks, and they’re still without running back Corey Clement (shoulder) indefinitely.
Shorthanded on a short week against an unbeaten opponent on national TV.
Not the ideal situation.
Like last week, Pederson is again going easy with the practice schedule. The pads won’t come back on until they play again. In the meantime, it’s walkthrough city.
“It’s just with the short week, to have a normal practice schedule and go out and bang around is hard,” he said. “Guys are extremely sore today and tomorrow and then we leave on Wednesday. So I’ll do a lot of walkthroughs, a lot of mental reps, things like that this week to prepare for Thursday.”
Pederson has no other option, given his team’s state of health.
He also had no other option, when asked on Monday, but to agree that their backs-to-thewall experiences of the previous two seasons will help them with what they’re up against now — whether he believes it or not.
Last season, the Eagles suffered a heartbreaking OT loss in Dallas to fall to 6-7 but rallied to stun the 11-2 Rams in L.A. It started a four-game win streak that ended in New Orleans in the divisional playoffs.
“We can totally relate to our circumstances the last couple of seasons,” he said. “But the one thing I think that for me as the head coach that stands out in these last couple of games are just the self-inflicting wounds. The turnovers, the penalties, things that have cost us yards or cost us points in obviously these two games. So if we just eliminate that, take the injury aside, we have a chance to win both football games.
“We just make the plays that are, that kind of come our way, make those plays, then maybe we’re talking a different story. So I can draw a little bit on the injury front from the last couple of seasons, but honestly, that’s not what’s keeping us from winning these two games.”
That last sentence couldn’t be further from the truth. Of course injuries are what have kept the Eagles from winning the last two games. There’s nobody on Earth who believes they would have lost to the Falcons and Lions had they had Jackson and Jeffery on offense and Jernigan and Jackson on defense.
But he had to say it with the cameras on and recorders rolling or risk sounding like a sniveling excuse-maker who doesn’t believe in his backups.
So this is where culture comes in and the Eagles get to show their true makeup.
Can they really talk themselves into believing that the next man up is just as good as the one who just went down?
“Talent has never been enough to win in this league,” safety Malcolm Jenkins said in an understatement after Sunday’s loss. “Not that we don’t understand that, we just have to do it. … None of us thinks [the losses] have anything to do with talent or the guys we have on the field. It’s just about small things, each and every person doing his job.”
If only it were that simple.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson.