Philadelphia Eagles News

Doug Pederson: Eagles 'Excited' For Opportunity vs. Saints

Head coach Doug Pederson met with the media Wednesday ahead of the Eagles' road game against the 8-1 New Orleans Saints.

A day after the Eagles designated tight end Richard Rodgers to return from the Injured Reserve list, Pederson announced that tight end Josh Perkins has a knee injury and will miss "substantial time." He is "optimistic" about Rodgers playing this week but that the tight end who hasn't played since the preseason is day to day.

Pederson also said that cornerback Sidney Jones, who is also day to day, will practice today and is "optimistic" he will be back in time for Sunday. If he goes against the Saints, Pederson said he could play at the outside or the slot.

"I think we'll see him in both spots," Pederson said. "Avonte (Maddox) has done well in the nickel and I think you'll see him in there. We'll just ease Sidney back in today and see what he can do.

Cornerback Jalen Mills is also day to day but is expected to need more time with his foot injury. Defensive tackle Tim Jernigan will "do a little more" and is still day to day. Pederson shook his head side to side as he considered Jernigan playing this week.

The Eagles will need as much depth as possible in this game on both sides of the ball against New Orleans.

The Saints are the top scoring offense in football and quarterback Drew Brees has the best quarterback rating (123.1) and completion percentage (76.7 percent). He has 21 touchdowns to just one interception. Pederson said Brees' ability to get the ball out of his hand quickly has allowed him to play so well. He will be a challenge to stop.

"That's how he's playing the game, he's staying ahead of the chains," Pederson said. "They're doing a real good job of it. He's been around the block. He's a smart quarterback, he's seen just about every defense out there, so you're not going to be able to fool him too much."

Pederson believes the Saints' defense very good and overlooked. He said they are familiar with a lot of playmakers on their unit in guys like cornerback Eli Apple, who was traded from the Giants, and former Eagles safety Kurt Coleman. He also knows that their run defense is underrated.

"They're pretty good against the run but it's kind of skewed a little bit because they're scoring at an astronomical rate," Pederson said. "So teams are having to throw the ball so it's a little different there. ... They're a good defense."

With their backs against the wall, the Eagles are facing extreme adversity. Pederson said he talked to his players and just asked them how they felt after the disappointing loss to Dallas. He said that a sense of urgency, not panic, is present and that the players understand what's in front of them. Getting back on track starts with staying positive and getting back on the field before a big game.

"I feel really good about these guys," Pederson said. "They're eager to get back on the practice field and they're excited for this week and this opportunity."

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