Eagles

Doug Pederson clarifies why Jay Ajayi was frustrated

Doug Pederson clarifies why Jay Ajayi was frustrated

Jay Ajayi was frustrated on Sunday night after the Eagles' 31-3 win over the Bears. 

He was frustrated about fumbling. 

After Ajayi's somber mood in the Eagles' locker room was taken as frustration over playing time and carries on Eagles Postgame Live, head coach Doug Pederson was asked on Monday if he sensed any frustration coming from Ajayi. 

"Not with Jay at all. Not at all," Pederson said on Monday afternoon. "Had a chance to speak with him this morning. He's fine. He's so excited to be here, obviously. He's on a winning football team. ... He was frustrated from the standpoint that he had a chance to score and lost the ball. ... Any running back is gonna be frustrated. We put the ball on the ground a little bit too much yesterday. He's fine. He's excited to be here and ready to work this week."

Ajayi had just five carries in Sunday's game and was actually in negative yardage before breaking off a 30-yarder in the fourth quarter. At the tail end of the run, he fumbled the ball into the end zone, where Nelson Agholor recovered it. 

Ajayi's short interview with reporters on Sunday started with a couple questions about the fumble. After the play happened, Ajayi was visibly upset, laying facemask down on the grass. 

During the less-than-two-minute interview, Ajayi three times used a variation of saying he just runs what the coach calls. When asked if he was OK with the work he's been getting, Ajayi said, "I just run the plays that coaches call. I'm happy we're winning. Let's keep it going."

When asked if he was trying to do too much Sunday rather than pick up simple gains, Ajayi flatly replied: "Nope."

The abrupt interview and likely the tone was perceived as displeasure on Eagles Postgame Live by our Ray Didinger, who said Ajayi should "shut up and tote the ball."

"He's obviously miffed," Didinger said. "I don't know if it's the questioning about the fact that he's getting out in the open and getting run down from behind, he probably doesn't like hearing that.

"But if he's got an issue with the touches, hey chief, this team was winning before you got here. It's nice to have you here, we're glad to have you in the clubhouse, you're a nice addition, but they were doing pretty good before you got to town.

"So I would say just shut up and tote the ball."

Former Eagles linebacker and current Postgame Live analyst Seth Joyner agreed with the main point but not necessarily the phrasing.

"Ray said miffed. He ain't miffed, he's pissed. He's pissed," Joyner said of Ajayi. "I've seen that look before and when you come in and they ask you can you do it all, yeah I can run, I can catch, I can block. And all of the sudden you get five carries in a game and your nostrils are flaring like that, he's pissed, he ain't miffed, I promise you that."

Ajayi responded to a tweet of the video — just the "shut up and tote the ball" portion — with the word "CLOWNS" and three clown emojis.

In three games since joining the Eagles, Ajayi has 20 carries for 194 yards and a touchdown. He's the first Eagles running back to have a 30-plus yard carry in three straight games in at least the last three decades

When asked why he stuck with LeGarrette Blount on Sunday, Pederson cited the style of the Bears' defense. He thought Blount's downhill style was better suited for that game.

Eagles bring back special teams maven Bryan Braman

usa-bryan-braman.jpg
USA Today Images

Eagles bring back special teams maven Bryan Braman

The Eagles have brought back a former special teams ace for the stretch run. 

Special teamer Bryan Braman on Tuesday signed with the Eagles to rejoin Dave Fipp's special teams group.

Braman, 30, had been with the Eagles from 2014-16, when he was a major contributor for Fipp's top-end special teams unit. He can help fill the void left by the season-ending injury to Chris Maragos earlier in the season. 

During his three seasons with the Eagles, Braman led all Eagles with 1,214 special teams snaps. He played more special teams snaps than any other Eagle in each of the last two seasons. He played in all 48 games over those three seasons, but was mainly a special teams player. 

After officially placing quarterback Carson Wentz (ACL) on Injured Reserve Tuesday, the Eagles had one available roster spot. It looks like it will be filled by Braman. 

Braman was not resigned by the Eagles this past offseason. He spent some time in New Orleans but was placed on their IR and was then released. He hasn't been with a team since early September. 

Eagles' offense 'full steam ahead' with Nick Foles at QB

Eagles' offense 'full steam ahead' with Nick Foles at QB

Carson Wentz is out, Nick Foles is in. 

And the Eagles claim their offense isn't going to change. 

On it's face, that seems somewhat absurd. After all, Wentz is more than an average quarterback. He's the face of the Eagles' franchise and was an MVP candidate through 13 weeks. Foles was once a Pro Bowler, but there's a reason he wasn't a starter entering this season. 

So how will the offense look different? 

"I don't expect it will look different at all," Foles said adamantly.  

Why is that? 

"Because it's our offense," Foles answered. "This is the Eagles' offense. This is the one that is the DNA of this team. And we're going to do what we do. We have so many tremendous players on offense that can do a lot of different things. We just have to go out there and execute and have a great week of work and just keep moving." 

Offensive coordinator Frank Reich finally admitted that there will be "very minor tweaks" to the Eagles' weekly game plans with Foles in at quarterback. But he made the same point as Foles, that the system is built around the QB, but also around the other talent on offense. 

There is, however, one pretty significant difference between Wentz and Foles. 

"Now, Carson has some unique physical traits that he does exceptionally well, but it's nothing that Nick can't handle," Reich said. "We're full steam ahead."

The Eagles run plenty of run-pass option plays, but head coach Doug Pederson pointed out on Monday that the Eagles very rarely use their quarterback to run the ball in those situations. And as far as RPOs go, Foles has used them plenty before. 

Another part of the offense that has been tailored to Wentz is the autonomy the quarterback has at the line of scrimmage. Wentz has been able to make calls and checks pre-snap based on what the defense shows. It seems like Foles will have that same ability, which is something he's excited about. 

"Understand this, he's a veteran player who has played and won a lot of games, not only here, but other places that he's been," Pederson said. "Nick's a highly intelligent football player."

Pederson said he and Foles will talk weekly to make sure his quarterback is comfortable with the plays that go into the game plan. So, theoretically, things could be different. But based on what the offensive leaders of the team have said, don't expect wholesale changes. 

Now, what might change about the offense isn't necessarily by design. Because of Wentz's unique physical gifts and escapability, he's able to make incredible plays. The escape in Washington, the throw to Corey Clement in the end zone, the deep flick down the sideline in Seattle, those are plays only a handful of guys in the world can make. It would be unfair to expect Foles to make them. 

But as far as game-planning goes, the Eagles are going to do what they've done. 

"I feel comfortable in this offense," Foles said. "I love this offense. We're going to run this offense. Nothing's going to change."

Foles dealt with elbow soreness during the summer, but says his elbow now feels "amazing" and is not an issue. That's good news for the Eagles, because at least Foles has plenty of starting experience. His backup, Nate Sudfeld, has never even been active for an NFL game. 

The Eagles' hopes in 2017 rest on the shoulders of Foles. 

"I've always been a gunslinger, just let it rip," Foles said. "That's what I'm going to do. I'm going to play loose, count on the guys, lead this team. There's no other place I'd rather be. That's why I came back here. ... I'm ready to step up and help this team win."