Q. You guys have struggled it seems offensively in the first half of games so far this season, it seems like the majority of your offensive performance is coming in the second half. What is it about getting off to those slow starts and you preached this before but how can you get off to a quicker start? (Kristen Rodgers)
COACH PEDERSON: Well there have been times where we have gotten points on that opening drive, I think some of our tempo offenses really helped that. Something that we do we did the other night, we got the field goal. We’d love to have touchdowns but you know it’s something we keep addressing and we got to make sure when we start the game that everybody’s locked in and I’ve got a good set of openers, first and second down plays that we feel comfortable with, as we attack the opponents. But I think overall we’ve done some good there, but then again some defenses that we played have been pretty good and also [have] kept us off the field there too.
Q.TE Zach Ertz will be back on the practice field this week. How much do you expect him to do and along those lines how differently had defenses have been playing you guys, without him in the lineup? (Dave Zangaro)
COACH PEDERSON: I expect Zach just to kind of get back within the offense, get comfortable again. You know, we’re going to ramp him in there and see where he’s at today and then honestly defenses I think haven’t really done much different. You look at the red zone maybe and some on third down but first and second down stuff they’re just playing their defenses, so really with Zach in there or without, these guys defensively, they’re just playing their stuff.
Q. When you look at WR Jalen Reagor, how would you assess his production relative to what you expect going into the season? (Zach Berman)
COACH PEDERSON: Well, listen, he’s missed a lot of football so there hasn’t been a lot of production. Now, would I like to get him the ball more, yeah, I would. We’d like to get him more touches if we can. W\e know there’s one football and we got some explosive guys too so it’s hard to just say ‘hey I want to go in and get him X amount of touches’. It’s also how the defense plays and look we play so much fast, tempo offense that the ball can go anywhere. Our tempo offense is not about scheming one guy it’s about playing fast and executing our stuff. So, moving forward yeah, I would like to get him some more touches if I can.
Q. I wanted to ask you about one play in particular Sunday, that at least in my mind seems to typify some of QB Carson Wentz struggles, it was the third and three throw on the first possession to WR Jalen Reagor. He had him open, real quick, he seemed to double hitch and was slow getting the ball to him and by that time Giants CB James Bradbury had kind of recovered and it was tough to complete. I mean is that a situation where you think he doesn’t totally trust the receiver? That he’s doesn’t totally trust his confidence and making that throw? I mean what do you see? (Paul Domowitch)
COACH PEDERSON: That’s not on Carson. I put that more on us as coaches to coach that play better, and I put it on those two young receivers. And I say that to say this, if we just execute the play a little better it’s a completion. Listen, you got to look at the whole body of a play, the body of work to really understand. I don’t know how much of the play you saw. If you just saw a TV copy, if you just saw the fact that James Bradbury came over the top, it’s a pick, it’s a design pick a rub play and we failed to execute. So, it’s something that we’ve addressed with our players. That’s why you saw Carson double clutch the ball because we failed to execute the pick part of it, the rub part of it and then Jalen went a little bit too deep on his route. So those are things that we got to get corrected and those are the things that are really keeping us from executing that and staying on the field.
Q. I had a different question to ask but there was a one analyst, put that up on Twitter and was saying that QB Carson Wentz should have thrown the ball right at the pick when it looked like WR Jalen Reagor was open, but you’re saying that wasn’t the way that — he’s not supposed to throw the ball then right?(Les Bowen)
COACH PEDERSON: Not right off and not that soon. No, it’s more of a rub play. You guys watch the Steelers play, and how they do their rub passes on third down, well, that’s what it’s designed to do and again it’s something that we failed to execute. We’ve just got to detail a little bit better, work on it more and it’s not that type of a throw. It allows Reagor to come out of the break a little bit faster.
Q. Okay, well my real question was, WR Travis Fulgham, this was the first game which we really haven’t seen him make an impact. What do you make of that? Did they do a really good job of covering him? Was there something he can do better? Was it QB Carson Wentz? What did you see out of that game with Travis and the one catch? (Les Bowen)
COACH PEDERSON: I think defenses are more aware of where he is now and he’s drawing a little more coverage, you know his way. The addition of [ WR] Alshon [Jeffery], Alshon didn’t get that many snaps, but we are rolling Alshon in a little bit more. And then on Travis to, just understanding his role and what we’re trying to get done with him. He’s a big powerful physical guy and we got to keep him coming, he can be explosive. And listen, he’s also relatively — he’s new to our system in our offense but he’s still processing and learning as well and it’s something that we want to keep him in Alshon coming together.
Q. I assume you’re going to have G Isaac Suemalo back at left guard on Sunday, barring any setbacks. Obviously, T Jason Peters is back, T Lane Johnson back at right tackle. Having that whole group, virtually intact now, how much more can you dial up offensively, especially in the screen game and getting the ball the running backs in the passing game?(Reuben Frank)
COACH PEDERSON: Yeah, I mean I’m excited. We will see where Isaac’s at today and then hopefully there are no setbacks, as you mentioned, and he can have a great week of practice. You know, we know that our backs can be dynamic, in the screen game. We have struggled just sometimes just to complete the screen, or a defender is kind of read it and been sitting there, but yeah we feel like our backs can be explosive when we get them in space and then get them the football. Having said all that and getting Isaac back, I’m hoping that it opens up a few more opportunities for us down the field.
Q. Do you feel like you’ve done enough to get QB Carson Wentz outside of the pocket and take advantage of his ability to throw on the move this season?(Jeff McLane)
COACH PEDERSON: I think I can do more. I can dial up more of those. We did a couple in the game the other day and they worked, they were successful. To answer your question, short answers is yeah, I think I can dial some more up and get him out because he is dynamic out there.
Q. With the way Cleveland’s able to control the clock with the running game, how much pressure does that put on you guys to really take advantage of every snap that you have? (Mike Kaye)
COACH PEDERSON: It’ s real important. You know it’s a dynamic explosive run game that they have and it’s a kind of a two headed monster with those two running backs. It’s something that our defense will have their hands full Sunday with it. But then offensively yeah, I agree. You got to make the most of every possession, every drive you know and if they want to shorten the game, then we have to we have to capitalize on that offensively and we know that. We just can’t keep making mistakes and shooting ourselves in the foot or turning the ball over or things that have kind of plagued us all season. So, we’re aware of that and got to make the guys aware that as well.
Q. With that outlook though, does that put more pressure on you, or does that make you want to put up more shot plays or does that make you want to have a little bit longer drives and kind of own the clock yourselves?(Mike Kaye)
COACH PEDERSON: Yes.
Q. I’m sure you’ve put a lot of thought into the best approach with QB Carson Wentz, how to kind of untap the best of him. Is he being coached hard enough, right now and what’s the key to kind of unlocking him over these last final games? (Tim McManus)
COACH PEDERSON: Yeah, you know this question of is he being coached hard enough, you know I don’t necessarily understand. He’s being coached the way that we would coach any of our players, and we coach them all the same and we coach them all hard and aggressive and we’re trying to get the most out of all our guys. It just so happens that the quarterback position is magnified, and just like my position as head coach is magnified. Every decision, every throw, everything that he and I do, is going to get criticized and that’s okay. But I know how he’s being coached, and I know how he’s receiving the coaching and how he’s practicing and how he’s working with all the players and working with the offensive line. I get it, it hasn’t been perfect, but we’re still working and we’re going to get better each week.
Q. After the game that you had on Sunday, you addressed this a little bit on Monday too but do you felt like the need to change up anything procedurally wise, in practice, go harder on them, back off in certain spots? I don’t know, I mean, are you doing anything differently this week, trying to get them better prepared? (Nick Fierro)
COACH PEDERSON: That’s my secret [joking]. No, you know I think this is a time of year to where you know you can come out of pads a little bit and keep the guys as fresh as you can, try to get them off their feet, keep them healthy, all of that, you know, this time of the year. But again, as I mentioned, I believe Monday that I look at everything. I don’t want to make just knee jerk reactions moving forward. We know we have to coach better and play better and that’s the bottom line.
Q. Just WR Jalen Reagor did miss five games. I mean what do you think hindered him the most, missing that time?(Ed Kracz)
COACH PEDERSON: Just getting the reps, getting the snaps in practice, getting real time game plays as well. I mean that’s hard for any young player to miss that amount of time especially in his first year and then come back. So these are all things we’re working with him and working through with him. You know, we’re throwing a bunch at him, and he’s handled it really well, but just missing those in game snaps, those practice snaps, working the timing out with [QB] Carson [Wentz], that’s a big deal and that’s probably the biggest thing that he’s missed and probably we missed as an offense in his absence.