The Eagles don't have much time to even think about Sunday's disappointing loss at home to the Minnesota Vikings. And maybe that’s for the best.
With a Thursday Night Football matchup against the division-rival New York Giants in the Eagles’ sights, they went right back to work on Monday to plan for a big one.
A short week can be very difficult, especially for the visiting team. But there may not be a better time in the season for that kind of challenge.
“It's hard. I mean, it's hard,” said head coach Doug Pederson after the game. “You're on a short week and you have a quick turnaround and we're back in the building (Monday) and we're working and getting ready for Thursday night.
“But one thing that I've learned through my experience in the NFL is getting back on the field right away is kind of a good remedy for the team, for the coaches and then that's our focus starting tomorrow.”
The Eagles are playing a Giants team that is facing struggles of its own with drama on and off the field. On Sunday, amid controversial comments by wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., New York seemed to have secured a signature victory in Carolina when running back Saquon Barkley scored a go-ahead touchdown with 1:08 to play.
The Panthers then drove down the field with just one timeout but mistakes at midfield forced them to line up for a long, long field goal trailing by one point with six seconds left. Graham Gano stepped up and nailed a 63-yard kick, 2 yards longer than Jake Elliott’s last season, and stole a victory.
The Giants fell to 1-4. Washington (2-1) is currently the only team with a winning record in the NFC East, although it plays Monday night in New Orleans.
“The only good part about playing on a short week is that if you lose previously, you’re not dwelling on it for too long,” tight end Zach Ertz said. “You just have to put the pads on in four days and go to work. The whole division is in front of us. That’s kind of – I’m not going to say the silver lining because I’m not happy with where we’re at – but the whole division is in front of us.”
"We're sitting here at 2-3, we're 0-0 in our division with an opportunity this week to make some hay there and we're looking forward to this week and moving forward," Pederson said on Monday.
The Eagles will hit the practice field from a walk-through today with a lot to analyze. Mistakes on both sides of the ball were crucial in a close loss as penalties and turnovers took away points from the Eagles and gave some to the Vikings.
Offensive tackle Jason Peters said after the game that it’s going to be “more mental this week” in preparing for Thursday night. Safety Malcolm Jenkins told the team after the game that it will take self-reflection by each player to make improvements.
“We have a short week. At the end of the day, if we want to get better, there’s no magic play or drink we can make to be a better team,” Jenkins said. “Every individual just has to find out what they need to get better at, and do it in a hurry, because at the end of the day, I think we can all look at a play or two here or there (or) a mistake or two here or there. If you take those away, then there’s really not much else we can do.
“It depends on the individual,” he added. “If you want to let it carry over, it will. If you attack the tape, take care of your body, get some rest, and move on, and deliberately correct the mistakes that you made, then it’ll make you better. So, we’ll see how we handle it.”
With a win in New York, the Eagles can get back on track before a difficult stretch of the schedule. Beating the Giants can be vital in winning the division. And if Washington loses tonight, a win on Thursday could result in the Eagles being in first place in the NFC East by next Sunday. It will take a complete effort with mistake-free football after two straight defeats.
“Losing sucks, especially for a team of the talent we have and the group of guys we have in this locker room,” defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said. “We know what type of ability we have, we just have to put it all together. And we have a quick turnaround and we’ve got to get it ready for Thursday. We can’t dwell on this too much, we can’t keep it in our back pocket, we’ve got to flush it down and get ready for Thursday.”