COSTA MESA, CA – After an overnight flight and quick unpacking from Seattle to California for a week-long stay in a hotel with training facilities at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, head coach Doug Pederson dug out from the loss to the Seahawks and trained his focus on the 9-4 Los Angeles Rams. And he did so with a couple of messages in mind.
First, he wants the Eagles to have a great week of practice prior to Sunday's game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum against the Rams. It hadn't been that way the last couple of weeks and Pederson thought the lack of crispness in practice caught up to the Eagles in a sloppier-than-usual win over Chicago and in Sunday's loss at Seattle.
"I feel strong about, you win games during the week and sometimes things come up and as a coach you're always maybe a little more nervous than you should be (about) the way we practice. What you saw previously to the last couple of weeks – you didn't see the penalties, you didn't see the turnovers, you didn't see the negative things that have been going on. And that's a direct correlation to how we've practiced during the week. We've got to get that erased this week."
The Eagles, of course, are in a unique setting away from Philadelphia, so it's important that the coaches have their preparations and teaching points very sharp, and that the players get on the practice field and get to work.
The players were off on Monday after an early-morning arrival at the temporary team hotel.
"The challenge is that we try to eliminate distractions. It's hard, when you've got back-to-back like this, West Coast trips, to be able to fly back home and practice and then come back home this way at the end of the week, so try to keep the week as normal as possible for the guys, for the coaches," Pederson said. "We've got a great setup here at the hotel. Coaches have offices and workspace to get the work done. The players have everything they need right here, from treatment, rehab, doctors, medical facilities, all of that.
"When we set this trip, there was an advance team that put all of this together for us and they've done a great job. I'm just looking forward to the week."
In the course of nine consecutive victories to tie a franchise record, the Eagles were incredibly impressive. But they were also sloppy at times and they were able to get away with four fumbles and 11 penalties in a 28-point win over Chicago because, let's be honest, the Eagles are just a much better football team.
You can't play sloppy football, as the Eagles did in Seattle with a pair of turnovers and eight penalties, and beat good teams.
"Winning can kind of cover up, or mask, some things, some deficiencies, a little chink in your armor if there is any," Pederson said. "Coaches and players fall into the same boat sometimes. We need games where we get hit in the mouth and we have to fight, battle and scratch. Yesterday's game was one of those games.
"When I start seeing the same mistakes in ballgames that I see during the week, we just gotta get back to just focusing in on all of our jobs and owning that."
As the Eagles prepare this week, they'll hope that tight end Zach Ertz works his way back to the field after suffering a concussion in Sunday's loss. He's in the protocol program and is day to day. Otherwise, the Eagles are in good shape from the game.
Now they have to get better from a performance standpoint to beat Los Angeles on Sunday. The Eagles, at 10-2, are tied with Minnesota for the best record in the NFC and have a magic number of one to clinch a playoff berth.