Doug Pederson has had a night to think it over, he has watched the game film, and he said Monday he still wouldn’t kick field goals on those two first-half fourth downs that could have meant six points in an eventual five-point loss at the Giants on Sunday.
“I still feel strongly about those. I think the decisions to go for it just show confidence and belief in the guys,” said Pederson, the 4-4 Eagles’ rookie head coach. The loss dropped the team to a devastating 0-3 in the NFC East.
“At that time, I felt like we were moving the ball. … We had more opportunities in this game. In my opinion, it didn’t come down to those two plays. There were enough things in this game that cost us this football game. I still stick by what I did, how I chose to go for it in both those situations.”
Pederson said the Eagles, facing a zero blitz from the Giants, “missed an assignment” on the first try, on which Carson Wentz ran to the left and was swarmed for a 4-yard loss on fourth and 2.
The second time, fourth and 1 from the Giants’ 6, Pederson felt the Eagles’ blocking got turned sideways a bit. Darren Sproles might have had room outside but tried to hit it inside, where he was stopped just short.
The Eagles had been 5 for 5 this season on fourth down before converting just 1 of 4 such chances Sunday, the last failure coming on their final play, a fourth-and-10 pass to Jordan Matthews.
“I felt comfortable in everything we did, the way I called the game,” Pederson said. “Even down the stretch, we had opportunities. … We just missed on the last play of the game, a play that we actually completed earlier, to the same receiver … in the third quarter. … We gotta keep working and keeping making those plays.”
*Pederson said TE Brent Celek suffered a nondisplaced rib fracture Sunday that will make him miss practice Wednesday but shouldn’t keep him out of the Atlanta game Sunday. He said DT Bennie Logan (groin) should be able to practice Wednesday.
*He acknowledged that right now, Darren Sproles is the lead back, not Ryan Mathews. “By stats and by what you’re seeing, I would say Darren is the No. 1 back right now," Pederson said. "Ryan is still a big part. ... It’s still a little bit of the running back by committee. Obviously, we haven’t hung our hat on one guy. But we tend to lean toward Darren Sproles; it’s hard to take him off the field right now.”