Q. A few injury update questions for you here. TE Zach Ertz, RB Miles Sanders, T Jack Driscoll, DT Malik Jackson, S K’Von Wallace, the guys who got injured yesterday. Do you have updates on some of them? (Dave Zangaro)
DOUG PEDERSON: Actually, I don’t, guys. I’m actually going to have more updates later today. I haven’t done the medical report yet with our doctors, so I really don’t have anything to update on the injury front.
Q. The guys who didn’t play in the game, T Lane Johnson, G/T Matt Pryor, WR DeSean Jackson, WR Alshon Jeffery, where are they? Do you expect to have any of them back this week? (Dave Zangaro)
DOUG PEDERSON: Well, obviously, Alshon and DeSean have been practicing with us and DeSean last week and so obviously optimistic. Short week. You don’t know how guys are going to respond physically. We’ll see where they are at because we don’t — with short weeks, we don’t get actual live reps in practice, so we keep everything more of the traditional walk-through.
And so that’s kind of where we’re at. Lane Johnson is in that same boat with those two guys.
Q. Just to clarify your reasoning on the two-point conversion down 11, is the logic similar to what you explained a couple years ago in going for two when you’re down by eight but just with the added need for the field goal tacked on? (Jimmy Kempski)
DOUG PEDERSON: Sure. It’s the probability of giving yourself the best chance of winning a football game. Basically, when you’re down 17-8, you know that a touchdown and a field goal win the game. So you take all those probabilities into account. I think there were seven minutes, just over seven minutes to go, what, third quarter, I think it was in that situation.
Yeah, it kind of falls in line with that, and it allows us as an offense, it allows me as a play caller and decision maker to understand exactly what we need moving forward. Whether we accomplish our goal and are successful on the two-point attempt or we’re not, then it gives us an opportunity to — we know exactly what has to happen now the rest of the game.
Q. In the event that you do have to play without Miles for any period, can you just talk about what you have behind him? I think I asked you this a few weeks ago, just about RB Boston Scott and RB Corey Clement, and the production hasn’t really been there. Is there a chance we might see RB Jason Huntley a little bit more? Is RB Adrian Killins possibly back in the mix? How do you see that position now? (Reuben Frank)
DOUG PEDERSON: Well, I think, yeah, hopefully Miles is okay and he’s available, but Boston, Corey, [Jason] Huntley, are the guys that would be in that running back-by-committee, so to speak, would be our next move. Obviously [Adrian] Killins is an opportunity, as well. It would just depend on the rest of the roster, as you know, to get him up. But yeah, we know Boston has played. We know Corey’s played. Huntley is the only one that’s really limited from the standpoint of playing. But we’ve got confidence in all three of those guys to be able to get the job done.
Q. I know the short week obviously isn’t great injury-wise, but is there a sense that the short week can help you guys flush the last few weeks of the season a little bit quicker? (Kristen Rodgers)
DOUG PEDERSON: Well, obviously it can. To get back out on the field this afternoon and focus on another opponent. I mean, obviously the New York Giants, it’s a division opponent, and games that we have to — you just understand you are the NFC East, right? Everything is still kind of up for grabs and we’re just trying to figure out how to win a game and how to get guys healthy to play and where we are that way.
But it does give you a sense of sort of, you kind of get rid of the past and you’re focused on the next opponent approach. So that’s kind of what today is about, what tomorrow is about and obviously playing on Thursday night at home gives everybody a little excitement moving forward this week.
Q. We’ve seen QB Carson Wentz on a number of occasions now kind of really light up at the end of games and pull the team back and engineer all these scores drives. What comes out of him in that moment and is there any way to harness that so he’s doing that more through the other three-plus quarters on a consistent basis? (Tim McManus)
DOUG PEDERSON: Sometimes you get into your — you don’t ever want to get into your two-minute offense quite as early as we had to yesterday, but your two-minute offense can help you. Your up-tempo offense can help you. Then as the game progressed, too, we understood how we could protect, how we could attack, and we had to be smart a little bit yesterday, too, because when we lost [T Jack] Driscoll towards the end of the game, now we’ve got another offensive lineman who really just showed up this week to play. We had a right guard in there that was basically first week of practice. We had guys that were young guys that were playing.
So you play a little more of your two-minute offense in those situations. Then you focus on your one-on-one matchups. For us, it was [WR] Travis Fulgham on the outside and Rich-Rod [TE Richard Rodgers] came up big for us late in the game when [TE] Zach [Ertz] went out. But that’s really, I guess, why he, sort of lit up at the end of the game, or at least in the second half. But you never really want to get into that situation because that means you’re coming from behind and you’re two scores or more down.
But credit to the guys. These guys battled their tails off. They fought. Carson played tough. They all played tough and gave us an opportunity there at the end.
Q. You’ve spoken before about how the truncated off-season affected the team in some regards in relation to some of the new faces you brought in on the coaching staff. I’m wondering what kind of effect that may have had on the medical staff, changes that were made and bringing in a new head trainer and new strength, sports science guy. Has that had any correlation to the struggles with injuries you’ve had so far this season? (Jeff McLane)
DOUG PEDERSON: No.
Q. What’s the plan at right guard this week? (Zach Berman)
DOUG PEDERSON: We’ve got some options. As maybe as crazy as that sounds, we do have some options at guards. Obviously [G Sua] Opeta can play. [G Nate] Herbig can move in there. We have [G] Jamon Brown. We’re hopeful [G/T Matt] Pryor with being on the COVID list, I believe we can get him back this week, as well.
So we’ll have some options there moving into this week, and we’ve got to do what’s best for the football team, best for the offense, and we’ll make those determinations here pretty quick.
Q. If Matt Pryor is cleared, is that still his job? (Zach Berman)
DOUG PEDERSON: I’ll tell you, it’s difficult this week because it’s a short week. If we get him back, it’s hard to get the reps to be ready to be a starter. It would be different if we had a full week and we’re playing on Sunday or Monday. It’s just something that we have to look at and evaluate because some of these other guys are going to be getting the bulk of the reps today and tomorrow.
Q. On the two-point conversion at the end of the game, you said this morning maybe you should have called a timeout, but on the execution of the play itself, is Richard Rodgers supposed to block Ravens OLB Matthew Judon who makes the tackle? Is there a missed assignment there? (Bo Wulf)
DOUG PEDERSON: We had obviously the play call — as you heard this morning, obviously you guys tune into WIP and listen to my comments. A timeout in that situation could have been beneficial probably to get the play or a better play possibly in there, so that’s on me.
And we didn’t execute as an offense and as coaches and as players. But I’ll say this: That didn’t lose us the football game. Obviously, it was a big play that could have tied the football game. We had opportunities throughout the course of the game to really make a difference in this football game.
I talk to the team a lot about three, four, five plays a game could determine the outcome and some of that’s decisions on coaches, too. We all had a hand in it, and we can definitely execute that play a little better.
Q. With Miles Sanders out, could we see more use of QB Jalen Hurts? Do you have a specific idea of the plays you want him to be in for or is it more open to could he be in there for 20 or 30 snaps? Is that viable? (Les Bowen)
DOUG PEDERSON: Well, first of all, in Miles’ case, we haven’t made a determination yet if he’s out or not. I’m waiting on more reports this afternoon. They are all getting evaluated right now. So obviously we’re hopeful there.
In the case of Jalen, obviously you saw yesterday some of what we call X plays or plays that are sort of unscouted with him have been productive for us in the last three or four weeks. I think it’s something that we’ve got to continue to explore. It does give us the ability to run the football with him, so he’s like another — I don’t want to say he’s another running back, but he’s a quarterback that can run the zone-read plays from the quarterback position.
It’s something that we’re definitely going to continue to explore each week, if it’s conducive; it has been successful for us, and I could see things continuing each week that way.
Q. I know every year it’s a new team, but you still have several guys who have been around these resilient comebacks at the end of the season, pretty much every year the last three years. How important is that, having that experience and those voices in that room with the team being as young — so much younger this year, just moving forward with the outlook that you guys face? (Mike Kaye)
DOUG PEDERSON: Who are you [referring to]?
Q. DE Brandon Graham, S Rodney McLeod, S Jalen Mills, QB Carson Wentz, they have all said they are not panicking because they have been through this before. How important is that when discussing the outlook of the season with the young players? (Mike Kaye)
DOUG PEDERSON: I understand what you’re saying. It’s huge. It’s extremely huge because sometimes in this league, young players are learning, right? They are trying to figure this thing out. Every team you play is good. Everybody has good players. It’s a credit to those veteran leaders on the football team. That’s why I make these guys captains every year and put them in leadership roles because they are the guys that I lean on in times like this to rally the troops, right, to bring the young guys along.
Some of these young guys have had a lot of success, in college, go back to high school, and now they are faced with a little adversity, or maybe it is an injury or something of that nature. This is where veteran players who have been through it, and as recently as the last couple of seasons with us, know how to deal with it, know how to handle it and know how to pull these guys along. I think it’s valuable to have the experience that our guys have had. Listen, nobody wants to go through a season with the amount of injuries that have piled up on us right now.
But you saw it yesterday. There’s no quit in these guys. There’s always a constant battle till the end and that’s encouraging moving forward.
Q. The offense has scored 57 points against two really good defenses. You’re going to win a lot of your games if you’re scoring 29 and 28 points. So considering how depleted you are and there were a lot of points left on the board, mistakes, drops and stuff like that. How impressed are you that you’re still able to put up those amounts and how much better can this offense be when you guys get healthier and execute? (Rob Maaddi)
DOUG PEDERSON: Well, that’s the thing that I have to focus on as an offense, right? The last couple of weeks, even going back to San Francisco, a team that was in the Super Bowl — and I know they had some injuries on defense, but it’s still a really good defense, and you come away with a win there. And then Pittsburgh, what you did at Pittsburgh, and then of course Baltimore being I believe the No. 1 defense in the National Football League, statistically speaking. To have, really in all three of those games, you win one and had chances to win the other two. So for us, that’s the part that we have to stay focused on, right? We have to stay focused on the positive and keep coaching our players. We’ve got some young players that are getting valuable experience. I think of [WR] John Hightower who has just shown massive improvements each week, and even though maybe one play yesterday could have made a difference, you know what, he came back later in the game and Carson found him again for another 50-yard completion. Those are the things that we’ve got to build on, and [WR] Travis Fulgham and [WR] Greg Ward and some of these young players that are playing.
I even think about the defensive players, [S] K’Von Wallace getting valuable experience at the safety spot and playing special teams and our young linebackers played yesterday. All that have is encouraging moving forward and we know that we have got some of our veteran players that are getting healthy and hopefully we get them back soon and it will kind of solidify everything for us.
We’ve just got to keep it together, keep it tight, keep focusing on one week at a time. But I am encouraged by what we’ve done, even though we haven’t necessarily won the game.
Q. You have the short week here now, obviously. You’ve had a lot of success traditionally in these situations, even when you have had a lot of injuries. Without giving too much away, what’s been the reason for your success? Is it because you’ve narrowed your focus a little bit, simplified the game plans? How do you plan to approach this week and why do you think you’ve been so successful with that in the past? (Nick Fierro)
DOUG PEDERSON: Honestly, I make light of it, but my wife tells me all the time that you can put a game plan together in a day and go win a game on Thursday night; why can’t you do that for a Sunday game, right? So she kind of kids me a little bit that way.
But I do think that there’s some validity, so to speak, to keeping it simple. To going back to some of your training camp-type plays. Utilizing all your personnel. And a lot of it, too, falls on the players. It’s more of a narrow focus, a laser focus for a couple of days. Focusing in on the game plan. It’s all about mental preparation over the physical. And really, we just keep — I talk about the preparation and hard work all the time. Well, weeks like this, it’s going to take preparation and hard work to get it done again with where we are as a football team.
But I give a lot of credit to the players, too. They respond well to the messaging that I present, and they handle the week really good.
Q. You kind of mentioned nobody wants to go through these injuries, and you just mentioned messaging. Do you ever use the success of somebody like Travis or Jordan if you do need younger players? I know you’re not clarified on the injuries, but if you need Huntley this week, if you need Sua this week, do you ever use that as a messaging tool? (John McMullen)
DOUG PEDERSON: I do from time to time, but I don’t like to focus on one particular guy. I keep it team-oriented. But I have used some of those guys you’ve mentioned, I’ve used those and obviously others for part of the messaging and just to kind of get your point across sometimes.
But I try to keep it focused more on the team aspect of it, and I talk about individuals play, but teams win. It’s about the team and those guys do have a big impact obviously in the success of the team.