Advertisement

Doug Pederson knows it's the little things that can lead to big wins

The Houston Texans beat the Indianapolis Colts, the Seattle Seahawks beat the Dallas Cowboys and the Baltimore Ravens beat the Los Angeles Chargers in the regular season.

None of that mattered when the NFL playoffs began this past weekend, with the Colts, Cowboys and Chargers all prevailing in rematches.

Advertisement

And that’s the difference between then and now, according to Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson.

“What changes is that everything matters,” Pederson said Monday, around 16 hours after leading his team to a 16-15 upset over the Chicago Bears. “Everything you do matters in the postseason. You might be able to get away with something during the regular season because you have 16 games. But here it’s a one-game season, and so everything you do matters from your rest, nutrition, the way you practice, how much meeting time, are you spending extra time? All that stuff now can actually correlate to winning or losing games and guys being in position.

“I think that’s the difference when you get to the postseason that way. And our guys really do a good job of preparing themselves and being ready for these games.”

Sunday night’s win put the Eagles in position to avenge a regular-season loss as well. They visit the New Orleans Saints, who two months ago destroyed them by 41 points, in the NFC divisional round on Sunday.

Pederson likes his team’s chances a lot better the second time around.

“I think you just have to look at where we’ve come and what we’ve done,” he said. “Just the way this team has come together at the end of the season, to be counted out with even about three games to go and we had to go on — really had to win our last three regular-season games even to be into the postseason, needed a little bit of help.

“But this team believes. This team believes in everything that we’re doing, and you saw it yesterday and we’re different. It’s a different mindset, it’s a different football team and we’re a different group than when we played New Orleans the first time, and we’re learning from it and obviously have been better since.”

That cannot be argued. The Eagles fell to 4-6 with the loss at New Orleans. They’ve won six of seven since, including their last four.

More impressive, three of those wins have come against playoff teams.

Pederson covered a number of other issues and provided some injury updates on Monday. Among them:

♦ He’s not straying from his successful late-season practice tweak of giving the players off completely on Tuesday and having only a walkthrough on Wednesday.

♦ Nick Foles will once again be the starter in the next game, with Nate Sudfeld likely backing him up and Carson Wentz likely deactivated.

♦ As for keeping Wentz, who has a stress fracture in his back, on the roster, Pederson said: “Well, listen, I mean, we keep winning, we keep putting ourselves in a position to be successful. You never know. You never know what next week might hold. … We’ve done it a lot this year. We kept [RB] Darren [Sproles] up all season, we’ve done it with other players this year. [CB] Sidney Jones is another one that we keep alive. We keep these guys coming and we’ll see where they are at in another week.”

♦ Jones (hamstring) and WR Mike Wallace (ankle) remain day to day.

Advertisement

♦ Pederson praised undersized practice-squad DL Joe Ostman for his role on the scout team in helping the OL get ready for some of the top defensive linemen in the league over the last month.

“He was [Bears LB] Khalil Mack last week,” Pederson said. “He’s been [Rams DT] Aaron Donald, and he gives us great looks, and really that’s where it starts. Our guys really, as I said, they do embrace it and they rise up and do a nice job in the game.”

On the toughness of WR Golden Tate, who was jacked up on a floater over the middle in the second quarter but held on and finished with five catches, including the game-winning TD: “That’s just who he is. That’s the type of player he is. He has that running-back mentality. Again, strong at the ball, strong at the point. And quite frankly, the first guy normally doesn't bring him down, and that was a sweet catch. Obviously, a big play in the game. … But that’s who he is, and that’s what we expected out of him and we have to do more of that.”

Advertisement
Advertisement