Doug Pederson spoke to reporters after the Eagles' 10-9 victory on the New York Jets in the final preseason game of 2018 on Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles took the gritty battle to improve to 1-3 in the preseason after a 4-yard touchdown pass to running back Matt Jones from quarterback Joe Callahan gave the Eagles their first lead with just 18 seconds remaining.
Pederson said that players' performances in a game featuring those fighting for roster spots rather than projected starters could tip the scale "a little bit" as the team prepares to name its 53-man roster this weekend. However, he specified that it's important not to take too much stock in a single game.
"Again, you've got to take the full body of their work," Pederson said. "You just can't rely on one football game. We have to go back to OTAs and you've got to - sometimes you have to go back and even just watch a couple practices back then and see how they have progressed to now."
The most significant news coming out of Pederson's press conference was the announcement that wide receiver Alshon Jeffery would be activated off the Physically Unable to Perform list Friday. Pederson did not say if it would be realistic for Jeffery, who has not practiced at all in Training Camp, to play in the regular-season opener on Thursday.
"It will be day to day from here," Pederson said.
As game prep begins for the NFL Kickoff event against the Falcons, the Eagles will now lose linebacker Nigel Bradham for the week as he serves his one-game suspension. Pederson said the team has not decided who will start in place of him yet and made it clear that Bradham will have to be ready for when he is back with the team in a week.
"It's unfortunate, number one," Pederson said. "He understands. But the message is, hey, he's got to stay focused and he's got to stay ready. He's got to continue to work out for the next seven, eight days, whatever it is, and when he comes back, he's ready to go."
Pederson said earlier this week that he would privately decide on Friday whether Carson Wentz or Nick Foles would start Week 1. After the game Thursday, Pederson seemed to change his tune, saying that there is plenty of time to before the team hits the practice field again and that they have time to decide. Still, he plans to have a conversation about it on Friday.
"Yeah, you anticipate it, but at the same time, I've got the rest of the team to prepare to get ready for Atlanta," Pederson said. "Whoever it is, we've just got to prepare the same way. We've just got to take it one day at a time. We've got to focus on one game at a time and take the 46 into that game that are ready to go."
With the preseason finished and the regular-season opener a week away, the team now must decide by this weekend who will make the 53-man roster. It's a situation that is always difficult, even for someone as experienced with it as Pederson.
"Obviously when I was a player, I've been in this situation all too frequently and I know the feeling that goes on now in the next 24 to 48 hours or so," Pederson said. "It's a little uneasy for a player sometimes. Even as coaches, I challenge the players going into this last week, especially the ones that played in this game, to make it hard on us as coaches and personnel staff. Give everything they have for one more opportunity.
"I also tell them that listen, they are competing, yeah, for our roster, but there are 31 other teams that are also looking at everybody's roster and we've got some good players," Pederson added. "We've got to make some tough decisions, and that's just the nature of this ballgame and we've got to get down to the 53 here over the weekend."
The Philadelphia Eagles finished out the 2018 preseason with a victory over the New York Jets at Lincoln Financial Field. Check out all the photos from the game.