PEDERSON WANTS PLAYERS AND COACHES TO FOCUS ON SUNDAY AND NAILING HOME FIELD
This week the Eagles locker room wasn’t buzzing like a team that last week was the favorite to win the Super Bowl.
This week players went about their business of getting ready to take on the New York Giants (2-11) know if they win, the minimum is that they will clinch a first round bye and if the Minnesota Vikings lose to the Cincinnati Bengals, they clinch home field throughout the playoffs.
Head coach Doug Pederson said he wants the players to stay on message. Focus on their job as there is lot at stake including home field for the playoffs.
“We’ve just got to stay the course and stay consistent,” Pederson said. “We know what’s ahead of us. We know what’s in front of us. We still control a lot. Obviously it was great to clinch the East last weekend but now there’s bigger things out there. Trying to get a first-round bye would be extremely helpful this time of the year, and so there’s a lot to play for.”
The coach continued.
“I just want to make sure that everybody…coaches, players, personnel staff know that; that by no means are we relaxing on anything and getting ready for the post-season,” Pederson said. “There are still three games left and a lot to play for.”
To a man, players in the locker room are all in with Nick Foles but also expect Wentz to still keep his presence in the locker room and on the sideline.
Defensive end Chris Long – who were teammates with the then St. Louis Rams – said he does not look at Foles as a backup.
“He’s ready, he’s capable,” Long said at his locker as the Eagles got ready to play the Giants in week 15. “He was part of a season where he was 27-2 touchdowns to interceptions. That’s the kind of backup you want to have…if you can even call him a backup.”
Linebacker Nigel Bradham talked about Wentz and Foles.
“We’re going to be motivated to get it done,” Bradham said. “Obviously his (Wentz) leadership will never leave. He will continue to lead to where we’re trying to go.
Bradham said this Eagles team is built to take hits and the Birds have taken some serious hits and can still have success.
“We still have players,” Bradham said. “There’s nobody in this locker room that’s not a top notch player. That’s what we have, that’s proven. That’s the confidence we have in each other. We work together, we’re in this thing together. Obviously losing Carson will hurt us but there’s a lot more to this team.”
Bradham said he watched Foles during his 2013 Pro Bowl season and the first half of the 2014 season where he led the Eagles to a 6-2 record before being injured. He was aware that Foles’ uniform was enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame after he threw seven touchdown passes against the Oakland Raiders in 2013.
“He balls out,” Bradham said with a smile. “He’s always been a baller. There’s no reason for Nick not to be a franchise quarterback. Obviously he was a franchise quarterback here at one point, other teams as well. He was their guy. He has all the tools you want in a quarterback…he’s a gunslinger, he’s accurate, he doesn’t make mistakes and that’s all proven. That’s why we’re still real confident. He’s not your normal backup quarterback.”
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