Eagles

DeSean Jackson never thought Eagles were going to lose that game

DeSean Jackson never thought Eagles were going to lose that game

The Eagles were down 7 points, then 10 points, then 17 points and DeSean Jackson still never thought they were going to lose in his return on Sunday at the Linc. Not for a second.  

And that makes sense. 

Because Jackson, more than any other player in the entire league, has the ability to change a game in a blink of an eye. That’s what happened in Sunday’s 32-27 win over the division-rival Redskins (see Roob's observations). 

“That moment, a snap of the finger,” said Jackson as he snapped his own fingers, diamonds shimmering in the lights of the postgame press conference room. 

“It clicks in and everybody is like ‘shoot, we in the game now. We in the game.’” 

Jackson’s second-quarter touchdown of 51 yards cut the Redskins’ lead to 10 points and even though they pushed it back to 13 before halftime, the Eagles came out of the locker room in the third quarter with plenty of confidence. 

Because Jackson instilled it in them — first with his play, then with his words. 

It was Jackson who gave an impassioned halftime speech. 

“Not one moment in that game I didn’t think we was gonna win that game,” Jackson said. “And I kept stressing to the boys when we came into the locker room, I’ve been over there before in that (Redskins) locker room and I know how they are. I just stressed to my teammates, I felt at halftime they probably felt like they had the game sealed and won. 

“I said we’re just going to go out there, it’s going to take one play. It’s a one-play mentality. As you saw, we scored and had a lot of momentum the rest of the game.” 

On Sunday, in his return, Jackson got in a fight and caught two bombs for touchdowns. 

Yeah, he’s back. 

By the end of the game, Jackson went off for eight catches, 154 yards and two scores. It’s one of his best statistical games in a 12-year NFL career. It’s the first time in his career he’s gone over 150 with two touchdown catches. 

It’s also the best game he’s ever had against a former team, which is impressive based on how much success he’s had against his former teams before. 

For a 32-year-old guy to come back and have this type of game in his debut is nothing short of remarkable. I guess he was joking last week when he said he might have to be a decoy because of his broken finger. 

“He’s gifted. He has a gift,” rookie JJ Arcega-Whiteside said. “That’s why he is who he is and where he is today. We’re all gifted in some way; that’s why we’re here. But it takes someone special to do what he does over and over and over and for nobody to be able to stop it.” 

Leading up to Sunday’s game, Jackson was a bundle of nerves and excitement. He said it was a roller coaster 48 hours leading to the game. 

As for that fight, it came in the first quarter against his former teammate Quinton Dunbar, who actually joined the Redskins in 2015 as a receiver before moving over to defensive back. 

“I knew that matchup was big for him and I talked some mess after I caught the first pass,” Jackson said. “And next play, he came back and hit me and I just kind of lost it a little bit. But it happens, it’s a part of the game.”

While head coach Doug Pederson, in his postgame press conference, wasn’t happy about the fight, with Jackson, you take the whole package. And overall, he had a tremendous day in his return and we got a glimpse of just how special this offense can be. 

After a shaky start, the Eagles put up 32 points against a solid Washington defense. That comes after they went over 30 points just three times in 2018. 

“I think we should have scored 50, but we’ll take 30,” Alshon Jeffery said. 

Even when he isn’t catching the ball, Jackson is a big part of that. His presence adds a dimension to this offense we haven’t seen. His teammates have seen him do this stuff all summer in practice, but to see it on a Sunday that counts was a thing of beauty. 

Brandon Brooks didn’t mince his words. 

“Hell yeah!” Brooks said. “Having DeSean back is f------ great.”

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Eagles coaches 'never felt more safe' at NovaCare Complex

Eagles coaches 'never felt more safe' at NovaCare Complex

On Friday, two days before Eagles head coach Doug Pederson tested positive for COVID-19, several of his assistant coaches spoke about how effective they believe the Eagles’ safety protocols are inside the NovaCare Complex and how safe they consider the facility.

The Eagles, under the direction of vice president of football operations and compliance Jon Ferrari, reconfigured the South Philadelphia facility over the last several weeks to comply with NFL safety measures once the players arrived.

On Monday, the Eagles' so-called IDER plan – that stands for Infectious Disease Emergency Response plan – was approved by the league, meaning the team's plan to deal with the virus in the facility met the safety standards required by the league and the players' association.

Yet here we are.

Without knowing how or where Pederson contracted the virus, it’s impossible to determine whether the safety measures are working. 

If nobody else in the building contracts it, they’re working. If it turns out there are additional positive tests within the building in the coming days, it’s possible that even the strictest adherence to the safety measures isn’t enough.

We’ll know more in the coming days, but offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, running backs coach and assistant head coach (and interim head coach) Duce Staley and special teams coach Dave Fipp all spoke on Friday about how effective the measures the Eagles took to create a safe working environment appeared to be.

Stoutland: “Coming through the front door, going through the gate, getting tested each morning, I gotta tell you guys, I’ve never felt more safe in my life. I told my wife that, I told my kids that. Mr. (Jeff) Lurie, he cares about his team, his coaches, and just proves it once again with the group of people that he’s put together to organize this whole operation. It’s all different, it’s all new, (team president) Don Smolenski, Jon Ferrari, it’s unbelievable. Every little detail that’s going on right now, the door handles, everything that I notice, I’m like, ‘Oh my goodness, they think of everything to keep us safe.’ That part of it is great I think for all of us because it kind of lets you (know), ‘OK, let me just focus on my job and detail what I have to do and the other stuff, we’re good. We’re going to be in good hands.’”

Staley: “We have to be careful, that’s something that all coaches are being redundant with. We’re talking with our players, we’re talking amongst ourselves. We’re all reminding each other how serious this is, reminding ourselves as coaches and reminding the players. This is a different time for us and as a team we must make the adjustments so we can be successful down the road. We must make the adjustments. I think the Eagles, this organization, Howie, Jeffery, along with Jon Ferrari, they’ve got a great plan here for us while we’re in the building, so we feel 100 percent safe in the building. Now, we understand everything going on, how it can be contracted, but we feel safe.”

Fipp: “I think common sense is the biggest thing. Gotta be smart, obviously. There’s definitely an issue going on out there. I think we feel good about it as long as we wear masks and take care of our responsibility outside the building. I feel great about being inside the building.”

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Eagles head coach Doug Pederson tests positive for COVID-19

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson tests positive for COVID-19

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson has tested positive for COVID-19, a league source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia. 

Pederson, 52, is asymptomatic and is feeling well at this time, the source said. 

ESPN’s Tim McManus first reported that Pederson informed his players on Sunday night after a second positive test. 

The Eagles later released the following statement: 

Most of the Eagles' meetings are still virtual and Pederson will be able to lead them. But assistant head coach and running backs coach Duce Staley will handle any head coaching responsibilities in the building while Pederson is away, according to a source. Pederson will have to follow the NFL's protocols before returning to the NovaCare Complex. 

Pederson is the second known NFL head coach to test positive for COVID-19 after Saints’ head coach Sean Payton had it in March. 

Just last week, Pederson said he felt “extremely safe” inside the NovaCare Complex. 

“Obviously, coming into it there might have been some skepticism about the testing and the screenings that go on, but it’s very thorough,” Pederson said to reporters on a Zoom call last week. “When you’re here and you get tested in the morning, you’ve got a screening process that you have to go through to get into the building, wearing masks in the building, everywhere we go, I feel extremely safe.”

According to ESPN, it is believed Pederson contracted the coronavirus outside of the NovaCare Complex. ESPN also reported that QBs coach/pass game coordinator Press Taylor, who was in close contact with Pederson, was also sent home. He has tested negative but will follow protocol before returning. 

Last week, the Eagles placed three players — Lane Johnson, Jordan Mailata and Nathan Gerry — on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. The Reserve/COVID-19 list is for players who either test positive or who have been exposed to someone who has. Johnson later announced that he tested positive. 

In addition to the three players put on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, the Eagles also had one player opt out already. Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin opted out of the season because of family reasons. 

After testing positive, Pederson will obviously miss some time at the facility. Pederson last Monday stressed the need for contingency plans, not just for players, but for coaches too. 

“We have to have a plan for everything as you know,” he said. “One of the things that we've been faced with, and I think we've done a really good job here is we've overcome some of the injuries we've had the last couple of seasons. We've coached that next guy, or that next player has been able to go in and perform at a high level, but now I think that has to carry over to the coaching staff as you mentioned.

“I think there has to be a plan in place for any coach or any staff member that may miss a couple days or a couple weeks because of the virus.

“So those are all things that are running through my mind. Again, we are in a different environment and we all have to do our part to protect ourselves, protect our players and our families and hopefully we minimize any setbacks.”

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