Eagles head coach Doug Pederson isn’t particularly known for giving long-winded answers at press conferences. But he isn’t from the smart-ass, Bill Belichick/Chip Kelly short answers mold either.
But Tuesday, four days before his Eagles are scheduled to lace up and host the Falcons in his first playoff game in his current position, Pederson was short with reporters.
When asked what went through his mind upon learning Philly would be playing Atlanta, Pederson replied, “Got to get ready for the Falcons.”
When asked what the plan was for rookie cornerback Sidney Jones, who made his NFL debut in Week 17 after missing most of the season recovering from ankle surgery, Pederson said, “Keep working every day.”
And when he was asked about seeing another quick exit for his mentor Andy Reid with the Chiefs, Pederson said, “I was focused on the Falcons, man. I don’t get into that, honestly.”
Pederson seemed confident and lazer focused on the task at hand, which is avoiding a one-and-done like the fate that befell Reid last weekend.
“My message to the team: We [have] a great opportunity,” Pederson said. “Back’s against the wall. Let’s come out swinging and see what happens.”
Back’s against the wall? Well the Eagles are the No. 1 seed and a home underdog for the first time in the NFL’s Wild Card Era. Most everyone is doubting the 13-3 Eagles, a team that sports one of the best run games and best defenses in football but will rely on a back up quarterback to lead them in the wake of Carson Wentz’ knee injury last month.
“I think sometimes the outside, whether it be the media, the fans, can make it bigger than it really is,” the coach said. “When you boil it down, it’s football at the end of the day. It’s football at the end of the day. Just go do your job. Do what you’ve been coached to do all week long and give it your best effort on Saturday. If it’s good enough, great. If it’s not, then we focus on next season.”
Pederson is keeping a lot of details close to the chest as he should. As a leading candidate for coach of the year, he is looking more and more like a veteran behind the scenes and has the Eagles players buying in as well.