Q. Over the last five years you’ve worked with defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, how has your relationship evolved? How do you think he’s done this year? (Dave Zangaro)
DOUG PEDERSON: I’ll tell you, our relationship has evolved tremendously. I think we’ve been more on the same page over the years, me just getting to know him each year and understanding him as a coach and a coordinator.
Obviously, his defenses historically have been top defenses in the National Football League. Of course, when guys are healthy and all of that.
Our relationship’s been great. I think as the season progressed this year, I thought the defense actually was doing some really good things for us and keeping the offense in these football games here down the stretch, creating takeaways and sort of stymieing the run game from our opponents, things of that nature.
I think overall it’s been really good.
Q. Just wanted to get your thoughts on Washington Football Team QB Alex Smith, what he meant to you obviously in Kansas City? We all know what he’s been through to get back to this point. Just what you learned about him from your time together. (John McMullen)
DOUG PEDERSON: I’ll tell you something, I really have a lot of respect for Alex Smith, for him and his family. Again, the way he has come back from this adversity in his career with the injury and putting him in a position to play this season and potentially start this game Sunday night. My hat goes off to him.
It doesn’t surprise me that he’s been in this position because our time in Kansas City for three years, just watching him work, the work ethic that he has for himself, number one, to be the best player that he can be, but also within the team, how he can elevate and make things run smoothly with his offenses.
But he’s a guy that really knows how to run the system. He’s not going to put the ball in harm’s way. He takes care of the football. He utilizes everybody on offense, quite frankly. That’s been one of his strengths. That’s why his win percentage is so good.
But I think the key is just that he takes care of the football, number one. He’s done that his whole career. I would say there’s probably been a lot of things said and piled up upon him over his career that he can’t do this, he can’t do that. But bottom line, he’s a proven winner in this league at quarterback, and that is what you are measured by and I have a lot of respect for him.
Q. Similar to the question about Jim Schwartz, how has your relationship with Executive Vice President/General Manager Howie Roseman evolved over the last five years? (Bo Wulf)
DOUG PEDERSON: Probably a little bit better. Of course, I have more history with Howie, having been here before, getting to know him and his family, as well. Then coming back in ’16, right away being on the same page with the team, just the collaborative effort and communicative talks that we’ve had, it’s been good.
We continue to, even through this pandemic, when we’re out of the building, having to do things virtually, still maintaining that relationship and growing that relationship.
I think it’s so important that a head coach/GM combination can be on the same page in a lot of things. Not necessarily we have to agree on a lot of things, but we walk out of the room convinced that the decisions we make are the right decisions we make for the football team. That’s been I think the thing with he and I is the best thing in the last five years.
Q. You mentioned in your conversation with Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro earlier this week, you were talking about how you were going to have your exit interviews with select players. Will QB Carson Wentz be one of those? What will your message to him be as you move forward? (Rob Kuestner)
DOUG PEDERSON: I usually talk with many of the players. I’m sure that Carson and I will visit. I’d like to visit with him.
Listen, I’m not going to get into that publicly. I think that is a private conversation that he and I will have. Really all the conversations I have with coaches and players are going to remain private.
Q. Curious about the mechanics of the post-season meeting with Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Lurie. How does that work every year? Does it happen right after the game? Is it the next morning at the NovaCare Complex? What kind of things are talked about? Is there anything you need to hear to feel comfortable moving forward with the Eagles? (Tim McManus)
DOUG PEDERSON: Again, those are obviously private conversations.
I’ll say they’ve usually been a day or two after our final game that he and I get together. Normally the day after, as you guys know, we’re wrapping up the exit physicals, wrapping up things with the team. That takes pretty much the majority of the day. It’s usually the next day or the day after that that he and I will get together.
Look, as far as the reassurances go, listen, I expect to be here in 2021 until something else happens. But that’s the confidence I have in my ability, and that’s how I’m going to approach the next few days and really 2021.
Q. This was your first season without an offensive coordinator, but you had new voices on the staff. How do you feel about the way it worked out? Is that a structure of the staff, an area you may look at adding someone, elevating someone already on staff? When you have a lot of different voices is it difficult sometimes to understand all the ideas and try to decipher what you want to do and who you want to follow? (Rob Maaddi)
DOUG PEDERSON: There’s a lot of positive that comes out of those communications and those talks, those ideas. Really everybody has great ideas. That’s part of putting plans together.
But at the end of the day I want to make sure there’s one voice, and that’s my voice, that’s heard offensively and nobody else’s. That’s the part that I’ve got to get across to the staff, and I have done that. I want to make sure that there’s one voice talking to the quarterbacks, whoever is in this room. [Passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach] Press [Taylor] has been in that room, [pass game analyst] Andrew Breiner has been in that room.
They’re speaking the same language, we’re all on the same page. I think that’s very important at every position. I want Stout [offensive line/run game coordinator Jeff Stoutland] to run the offensive line, even though [assistant run game coordinator/assistant running backs coach] T.J. Paganetti and [assistant head coach/running backs coach] Duce [Staley] and [tight ends coach] Justin Peelle all help in the run game, Roy Istvan, they all help in the run game, but Stout is the voice, right? Same way in the running back room. That’s something that comes from me.
As the season ends this weekend for us, it will be evaluated moving forward.
Q. Since TE Zach Ertz has returned from injury, we’ve seen TE Dallas Goedert get more snaps and have more plays designed for him. Is that a shift in thinking on your tight end depth chart? (Jeff McLane)
DOUG PEDERSON: No, I don’t think so. I think what you’re seeing, though, is Dallas was playing extremely well when Zach missed due to injury. From an offensive standpoint just didn’t want to disrupt that. We had to get Zach back acclimated into the offense. I don’t think that’s necessarily a shift in anything at that position.
Q. Looking at Sunday’s game, is this going to be a chance for a lot of young guys to play more? I know you have some veterans who are banged up and there’s a lot of talk about not letting Washington win the division championship on your field. How do you see this game in terms of what you can do heading into 2021? Are you looking at it as some sort of trial for younger guys? (Les Bowen)
DOUG PEDERSON: This game is important. The first thing is, yeah, we’d like to win the game. Whoever’s on the football field, we play to win the game. That’s just what we do.
When there’s injury, it’s always the next man up. If that’s one of the young players, then it’s a great opportunity for him to take the field and show what he can do. Everybody’s being evaluated obviously. We are in a position where we’re a little banged up this time of year. So, yeah, there’s going to be probably some more of the younger guys playing in this football game.
But don’t get me wrong, you still want to go be competitive, and you still want to try to win the football game. That’s without saying. But if these young guys get a chance to play, then yeah, it’s an evaluation for them as well moving forward.
Q. The S Jalen Mills situation, is it a matter of him being in contact with someone who tested positive or has he tested positive himself? (Les Bowen)
DOUG PEDERSON: By rule again, I’m not allowed to actually comment on the COVID part of it. Obviously, he’s on the list, so that’s all I can really say about that.
Q. It was last week you were asked if four games is enough of a sample size for QB Jalen Hurts. Obviously, this being the last piece of that sample, what’s left for him to prove to show you whether he can be a viable starting quarterback in this league? (Zach Berman)
DOUG PEDERSON: Well, I think there’s definitely some good that’s come out of these last few starts. One of the things you got to look at, too, is how does he respond? We beat New Orleans, then we go on the road to Arizona and Dallas and we come up short in both of those games. There are some good things there.
At the same time, I want to see how he responds, right, to that adversity, how well from the quarterback can they elevate the guys around them to play well with him. That’s all part of the process. It’s just another opportunity this week for him to go play.
Listen, there will be enough time to evaluate the future as we move into the off-season.
Q. How do you feel Jalen Hurts has reacted this week in a situation where you guys are playing for strictly pride this Sunday? (Kristen Rodgers)
DOUG PEDERSON: He’s responded well. I mean, this guy’s a competitor. He’s obviously disappointed in the last couple of weeks. He wants to get back out there and correct mistakes. He wants to try to erase losing and all of that.
He’s really responded well. He continues to lead the team in the role that he’s in.
Q. Is there really a lot of talk about getting a chance to spoil things for Washington or is this much more about you guys finishing strong and worrying about playing the kind of football game you want to play on Sunday? (Ed Benkin)
DOUG PEDERSON: I don’t necessarily use spoiler as motivation. I use the fact that we got another opportunity to go out and showcase our talents and try to put together a four-quarter game and try to win a game, right? That’s the motivation. And it’s a division opponent, right? That’s been our focus. We’ve game planned, practiced this week that way.
I fully expect our team, my team, to come out and play hard and play aggressive. Yeah, we understand for them if they win, obviously they’re in. We know those ramifications, too. We’ve been on that side of it. We understand that.
By no means do I use spoiler as motivation for any football game.
Q. How has sitting for the last these four games, how has that helped Carson? What does he need to do during the off-season to have a chance to win his job back? (Martin Frank)
DOUG PEDERSON: I think these last four games have really allowed Carson to just kind of take a step back and just evaluate and see, work on some things that we’ve helped him with, things that we can continue to help him with as we move forward. That’s probably been the biggest thing that’s come out of these last couple of weeks.
You got to understand, listen, I’ve got a ton of confidence in Carson Wentz and always have. Our off-season is going to be geared towards getting things fixed as quarterbacks and obviously as a team. That falls on my shoulders. That’s going to be our motivation moving into this off-season.
Q. When you talk about getting things fixed, what’s at the top of that priority list to fix? Is it the quarterback situation, or Carson, or what is it exactly? (Ed Kracz)
DOUG PEDERSON: You know what, I think you got to look at the whole roster, the whole team. Listen, we know free agency’s right around the corner, and that changes your roster. The draft is right around the corner, and that changes your roster.
It’s hard to sit here and say, ‘What do we have to focus on?’ You probably could pick anything and say, ‘We’ve got to fix that spot.’
We’ve had a ton of injury this year. We got to get healthy. I think that’s the biggest thing, and the number one thing. I’m hoping to have an off-season program this year where we can get our guys back out on the football field and really work. I think that’s where you lay the foundation moving into next season.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly one spot. We do know that we’re going to continue to work with our quarterbacks. We’re going to get them all right, all headed in the right direction. We do that, then everybody follows suit. That’s going to be our motivation moving forward.