In his weekly day-after-game address on SportsRadio 94WIP, head coach Doug Pederson helped take the attention away from Sunday's tough loss in Minnesota with an optimistic look ahead to this Sunday's prime-time showdown with the Dallas Cowboys.
"We're going down to Dallas and our guys are going to be ready to play and we're going to win that football game," Pederson said, "and when we do we're in first place in the NFC East, we control our own destiny, and we're right where we need to be."
No, Pederson did not guarantee a win over the Cowboys. He knows what it means to "Embrace the Target," which was the team's mantra last season following the Super Bowl win, but he doesn't need to make the bull's-eye any bigger. The Cowboys are the defending division champions and have won three straight games against the Eagles, although one of those matchups was when Philadelphia rested its starters for the playoff run in 2017.
But Pederson is aware that the fan perception right now is that the sky is falling. However, the Eagles are still in position to attain all of their goals this season. The Eagles are 3-3, perhaps not where the team expected to be through six weeks, but they are still tied for first place in the division after the Cowboys dropped their third straight game against the previously winless New York Jets.
"We're tied for first place in the NFC East. We have a great opportunity against a great football team," Pederson said. "There's enough good and positive that came out of this game from that standpoint to get better.
"As the head football coach, I'm going to stand here and show confidence in my football team because that's what I have.
"I believe in our guys. I totally do. We're close. When I say, we're close. We're close in a lot of areas."
Pederson deserves to be given the benefit of the doubt here.
After losing a multitude of players to season-ending injuries in 2017, Pederson told fans not to lose faith because it was such a resilient team. He said that it would personally fall on his shoulders to rally the players. Following last year's embarrassing loss in New Orleans, the low point of the season, Pederson preached that he believed in the players and the coaching staff. The Eagles responded by winning five of their final six games to make the playoffs, with the only loss coming in overtime.
That was then, but what about this season? The Detroit Lions dealt the Eagles a rare home loss in Week 3. Four days later, the Eagles traveled to Green Bay and beat the undefeated Packers.
It should come as no surprise then that Pederson is going to confidently back his players, as they've proved him right time after time again. Pederson also put the spotlight on himself. No need for the fans to wallow in Sunday's loss. No need to criticize the players. Focus on the head coach going into the biggest game of the season. That's just fine with Pederson. He believes in himself. He believes in his methods. He believes in the other coaches and players that the best football is ahead for this team. And Pederson gets another chance, in prime time nonetheless, against the biggest of rivals in the Dallas Cowboys to prove why he has such faith, such confidence in this squad.
Roster moves: Eagles waive CB Ryan Lewis, sign RB De'Angelo Henderson to the practice squad
The Eagles made a pair of roster move on Monday afternoon.
First, the team signed running back De'Angelo Henderson to the practice squad. Henderson was most recently with the Minnesota Vikings. A former draft pick of the Broncos, Henderson takes the spot vacated when running back Boston Scott was promoted to the active roster on Friday.
Later in the afternoon, the team waived cornerback Ryan Lewis, who played on special teams in the past two games for the Eagles.
• The Eagles will open cornerback Jalen Mills' 21-day practice window. Mills has been on the Physically Unable to Perform list since the start of Training Camp with a foot injury. The Eagles can activate him to the active roster at any point during the practice window. If Mills fares well in practice, he could play on Sunday night in Dallas. Pederson acknowledges that even if Mills plays it wouldn't be prudent to expect him play 100 percent of the snaps.
• Fellow cornerback Ronald Darby will return to practice this week as well. Darby has been sidelined for the past three games with a hamstring injury.
• Wide receiver DeSean Jackson is "day to day," per Pederson, but won't likely practice on Wednesday.
• Linebacker Nigel Bradham (ankle) and tackle Jason Peters (knee) were unable to finish Sunday's game in Minnesota. Pederson said both players are "day to day," and that their test results are undergoing further examination.