Here’s what Eagles coach Doug Pederson had to say about the Falcons on a conference call with the Atlanta media on Wednesday:
Q: What are your thoughts on the 2019 Atlanta Falcons?
A: Listen, I still think this is a very good football team. No indication this last weekend. That’s not who they are at all. This is a good explosive offense as we know. Defensively, they can be very disruptive. They’ve got speed on defense. Grady Jarrett is one of the best tackles in the NFL. This is a team that is a playoff-caliber team. Yes, we have played them (the past three years), but it’s been up here. It will be a great test for our guys having a season opener with the Falcons there in Atlanta. So, we’re looking forward to the opportunity.
Q: What does wide receiver DeSean Jackson bring to the Eagles offense?
A: I think the speed element is something that we’ve been missing the last couple of years. He’s definitely dynamic. A veteran player. He loves being back in Philadelphia. We have a great fan base here. I think more than that, he’s a great team leader. He fits in well with what we are doing. He complements the guys. He’s brought a element that we’ve missed the last couple of seasons. We just have to continue to find ways to get him open. (Quarterback) Carson (Wentz) did a good job of finding him on a couple of those third-down situations the other day. It was good to see.
Q: How did you all come back against the Redskins?
A: You never want to get down 17-0 at your place. I was really proud of the guys for hanging in there and not giving up, not quitting. Staying very positive at halftime. Resilient group. Making the adjustments we needed to make. Fighting and scratching, getting themselves back in the game and ultimately winning at the end. Obviously, now we are going on the road and we’ve got to have that same mindset. We can’t get behind any weekend because it’s really hard to fight back. I thought it was good to see our players do that this early in the year.”
Q: What’s been the been the key to beating the Falcons the past three times?
A: With the firepower they have on offense it always comes down to understanding who’s where. Whether Sanu is lining up at quarterback. Where Julio Jones is and things like that. We know that Matt Ryan is a great quarterback, and can really pick a defense apart if you let him. Their defense, it’s a strong defense. They do their scheme extremely well. It’s going to take, for us, as I said earlier, we’ve had them here at our place. This is a different challenge for us. We’re on the road, early in the season against a really good football team in a dome environment. It’s going to be loud. We just have to have a good week of preparation and get ourselves ready to go.”
Q: What are the strengths of your running backs Miles Sanders and Jordan Howard?
A: I think those two backs really complement each other. Miles is a little slippery. He’s a slippery back. He’s got real good vision. He’s a slasher I would say. Jordan Is a more downhill and physical runner. He gets behind his pads. They really complement each other that way. It’s tough sometimes to get them all in the game. We do our best to get everybody the opportunity to play. We need everybody on game day to help us win. These two guys were a big part. They were a big part last week, and we’ll try to continue that on Sunday.
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