Head coach Doug Pederson met with the media on Monday after returning home from the Eagles' 24-18 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in London.
The players are off for the bye week but Pederson came in to speak after traveling over 3,000 miles last night. When asked how the flight home was, he was frank.
"Long," Pederson said to laughter. "No, it was great. It was a lot of fun. Guys were relaxed and just talking about plans this week. I think just having the time off is really crucial. It was a great trip back."
Pederson said that the players treated the London game like a typical business trip. However, the unique circumstances of the game coupled with the importance of winning before the bye made it a galvanizing victory. It gives the players time to regroup, get healthy, and ride the wave of momentum into the hardest part of the schedule.
"You saw the enthusiasm, you saw the excitement of the players, of the team afterwards," Pederson said. "We were together for 2 1/2 days, really, and it was good to be able to do that. It was a great trip, great timing of the trip obviously, and the guys handled their business really well."
The team did not arrive back in Philadelphia until after 2 a.m. last night. Because of the late travel, Pederson said the team pushed off medical tests for cornerback Jalen Mills and offensive tackle Lane Johnson who both left the game early with injuries. He had no update at the moment on either of their statuses.
With Johnson out early in the game on Sunday, and left tackle Jason Peters and center Jason Kelce missing time as well, the Eagles had a few players rotating in and out of the offensive line against the Jaguars. Stefen Wisniewski played at center briefly while Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Isaac Semualo played at multiple positions. Pederson credited the players' ability to step in and keep the protection strong.
"That's so important," Pederson said. "It's a credit to the player and then it's a credit to Coach (Jeff) Stoutland and Eugene (Chung) and the guys for getting the next guy ready to go each week. ... It's so important to have flexibility and versatility there."
Pederson also credited the running game for closing out the win. Pederson said there was a plan to get Josh Adams, who led the team in rushing, involved initially and he went back to the "hot hand" later in the game as the rookie continued to make plays. He was also impressed with running back Wendell Smallwood, who scored on a long screen pass in the third quarter. Pederson said he is someone who has performed like his back is against the wall since Training Camp.
He assured reporters that the Eagles have the backs they need to get big rushes when they are needed. But while he was firm in his praise of his team's personnel, he didn't rule out any moves before Tuesday's 4 p.m. trade deadline.
"Well, let me say this, that I'm very confident and comfortable with the guys we have," Pederson said. "We're constantly looking so if we can add value, add talent anywhere on the team, we're going to look at that. Howie (Roseman) is going to look at that. So, we'll see."
As the Eagles now head into the bye week, Pederson said it will be an opportunity for players to get healthy and regroup before the team faces the meat of its schedule. Pederson didn't have any concrete plans in place for taking players off the Injured Reserve list but said everyone is being evaluated and is working hard in rehab.
In addition, he laid out what he thinks the Eagles need to improve upon as they review the tape and prep for a divisional showdown against the Dallas Cowboys on November 11.
"We have to continue to get better on third down. ... Red zone efficiency has got to improve in the second half of the season. We have to score more points," Pederson said. "So we just have to keep improving. We have to get better. Hopefully we get some guys back healthy in this second half of the season. We know our division: we have five division (games) in the next eight weeks, so that's a challenge, but everything is right in front of us."
And during the break, the players and coaches will have a chance to take time off and clear their heads. Pederson plans to travel and watch his son – Josh – play college football. Other players are traveling home and some are staying for treatment. Whatever the case, Pederson thinks the time off can do a lot.
"I think it's important, coaches and players, quite frankly," Pederson said. "This time of the season, it's a great time to have a break and everybody can kind of get away and sort of relax and enjoy family and friends."