Eagles-Packers, Day After: ‘Can’t Throw In the Towel’

How are the Eagles looking at their final five games?

Fletcher Cox. (USA Today Sports)

Fletcher Cox. (USA Today Sports)

In most weeks, the mood in the Eagles’ post-game locker room last season was some combination of embarrassment and disappointment. But even after their back-to-back losses when they allowed 90 combined points a year ago, the atmosphere never felt quite like it did at Lincoln Financial Field following the Eagles’ 27-13 defeat to the Packers.

The Birds are far from being mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, but it wasn’t difficult to see how deeply their hopes were dashed on Monday Night Football. While Philadelphia is 1.5 games behind Washington for the second wild card spot, they rank 11th in the NFC behind five other teams vying for the final postseason berth.

The focus of the team seems to have shifted toward making sure guys don’t give up in the final five weeks of the season, which is a mentality you don’t typically see from a team who feels like they have a lot left to play for.

“We got to keep all the young guys in the right direction, staying positive, coming to work [and] not going off the reservation,” said Jason Peters, who felt the team “needed” to beat Green Bay to have a shot at the playoffs before the defeat.

“We just have to keep plugging along,” Carson Wentz added. “We can’t throw in the towel.”

“We’ll see what guys are made of,” Malcolm Jenkins noted. “You just want to make sure that the team stays together and that we just continue to prepare and continue the process.”

Doug Pederson set the tone when he addressed the team in the locker room after the game. His message? We’ll see over the next five weeks who really wants to be here.

Pederson appears to be reseting expectations to what they were before the season — before the Eagles got off to a hot start, and before they showed that while they’re a flawed team, they’re capable of claiming a playoff spot.

He’s taking the longview approach, talking about how he wants to build the roster through the draft and free agency. And instead of motivating players by focusing on a potential playoff push, he’s challenging their pride and explaining how he’s evaluating them even more so now on their effort now.

There have been plenty of problems for the Eagles as they’ve lost six out of their last eight games, but effort isn’t one of them. Still, as Pederson is preaching, that will be tested. Philadelphia travels to Cincinnati to play the Bengals on a short week on Sunday, before playing each NFC East team one more time and making another trip to Baltimore for the AFC North-leading Ravens. The combined win record of the Eagles’ final five opponents? 32-20-2.

Up to this point, the Birds have played at about the level of the preseason expectations outsiders projected. But now, their final five games will be much more telling about the future of this team, and whether — as Pederson believes — they’re heading in the right direction.




Doug Pederson on benching Nelson Agholor:

“Well, it came down to basically just letting him see the game with a little bit calmer eyes, you know, just a different perspective on the game. Obviously he handled it extremely well. It was obviously a 90-minute decision. Even during the week I was still going back and forth with it. Just to let him take a step back, breathe a little bit, and see exactly how he can help this football team going forward.”

Dorial Green-Beckham on Agholor not being active:

“We could have used him. We don’t have too many receivers.”

—Pederson on if Agholor will be inactive again against Cincinnati:

“We got to see and check on Jordan [Matthews], make sure that Jordan is okay, evaluate the film, see how the other guys did. I’m not going to rule it out at this time.”

—Pederson on using his final challenge of the game in the third quarter over a two-yard gain:

“Well, the thought process there was to where they were on the field. Yeah, it might have been only a two-yard gain, but you take into consideration second-and-eight, second-and-10. Backs them up two yards. You still want to play the field position game, whether they end up punting it or going for it on fourth down. If you can stop them, get them off the field, just an opportunity to keep them in a second-and-long situation knowing, yeah, that obviously it was an incomplete pass, knowing you were going to be out of challenges. Just needed something to keep them really at a little bit longer yardage at that time and try to help our defense.”

Fletcher Cox on his costly roughing the passer penalty on third down, which extended a Packers touchdown drive:

“When you play as hard as I play and aggressive as I play, stuff like that happens. I did talk to the referee, he said it was just one of those things where it was close so he had to call that, that’s how they’re protecting the quarterbacks.”

Carson Wentz on his interception:

“It just sailed on me.”



Player# of snaps% of snaps
Allen Barbre59100%
Jason Kelce59100%
Jason Peters59100%
Isaac Seumalo59100%
Carson Wentz59100%
Stefen Wisniewski59100%
Zach Ertz5593%
Dorial Green-Beckham4881%
Bryce Treggs4475%
Darren Sproles3153%
Jordan Matthews2441%
Paul Turner2339%
Wendell Smallwood2237%
Brent Celek2034%
Trey Burton1932%
Kenjon Barner610%
Matt Tobin23%
Beau Allen12%

*Zach Ertz (93 percent) played his highest percentage of snaps this season, but he caught the ball just three times. Bryce Treggs (75 percent) played a career-high 44 snaps while Paul Turner (39 percent) played a career-high 23 snaps, but they combined for just one catch.

*With Ryan Mathews out, Darren Sproles (53 percent) played the most snaps among running backs, while Wendell Smallwood (37 percent) was second and Kenjon Barner (10 percent) barely touched the field. However, the running backs only carried the ball a combined 13 times.

*Because Isaac Seumalo filled in at right guard for a hospitalized Brandon BrooksBeau Allen got a snap at fullback in the red zone. Carson Wentz ended up scrambling on that play for his first NFL rushing touchdown.


Player# of snaps% of snaps
Nigel Bradham71100%
Jordan Hicks71100%
Malcolm Jenkins71100%
Rodney McLeod71100%
Nolan Carroll6794%
Jaylen Watkins5882%
Fletcher Cox5780%
Brandon Graham5476%
Connor Barwin4969%
Jalen Mills4969%
Bennie Logan4462%
Vinny Curry3144%
Beau Allen2535%
Leodis McKelvin2434%
Destiny Vaeao1420%
Mychal Kendricks1318%
Marcus Smith1115%
Stephen Tulloch11%

*Jaylen Watkins (82 percent) was on the field for 58 snaps, so that’s how much the Eagles played nickel. Because of that, Mychal Kendricks (18 percent) was on the field for just 13 snaps.

*Jalen Mills (69 percent) ended up getting more than twice as many snaps as Leodis McKelvin (34 percent), who gave up Green Bay’s first touchdown of the game.

*Vinny Curry (44 percent) once again played a minority of the defense’s snaps, while Brandon Graham (76 percent) played a bit more than Connor Barwin (69 percent).