Eagles Notes: Pederson Will Ask Ertz About Avoiding Contact

Plus: Injury updates on Ryan Mathews, Jordan Matthews and others.

Zach Ertz and Vontaze Burfict. (USA Today Sports)

Zach Ertz and Vontaze Burfict. (USA Today Sports)

Before Doug Pederson admitted that some guys didn’t play hard in the Eagles’ 32-14 loss to the Bengals, he noted how he wanted to talk to Zach Ertz about a play in the first quarter.

Facing third-and-8 from Philadelphia’s 38-yard-line, Carson Wentz scrambled to the right to pick up the first down. But along the way, Ertz had a chance to block Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict. Instead, Ertz got out of the way and avoided contact.

“I’m definitely going to ask him why,” Pederson said. “If he can pick up a block, obviously we ask our guys to turn and block. We don’t ever want anybody to block from behind or anything like that, but at the same time, try to find a block downfield if they can.”

After Pederson’s comment, Ertz released a statement to ESPN’s Tim McManus: “I could see that Carson was easily going to make it out of bounds, and thought the play was over by the time I reached Burfict. Carson & I have discussed it and there are no issues. Our full attention is now on beating Washington.”

Injury Updates

Pederson also gave several injury updates, noting that while Dorial Green-Beckham (abdomen) won’t practice on Wednesday, he’s expected to play against Washington. Ryan Mathews (knee) and Jordan Matthews (knee) will both practice on Wednesday and appear likely to play on Sunday, but Halapoulivaati Vaitai (knee) seems unlikely to play for the third consecutive week.

Improving the Pass Rush

Pederson said after the Eagles’ loss to the Bengals that he would talk to Jim Schwartz about how they can improve the defense’s performance and pass rush, but he walked that back a bit on Monday afternoon when he seemed hesitant to suggest to Schwartz that the Birds should blitz more.

“The reason I brought Jim Schwartz here is because he has the ability — and he’s done it with different teams – to put pressure with four [rushers]. I mean, that’s been his philosophy. That’s been our philosophy ever since [he was hired],” Pederson said. “I don’t want to say it’s a panic move, but if you start trying to re-scheme things and do things a little bit out of the norm of what you have your game plans and your philosophy based around, you’re going to give up something to get something.

“So if you’re going to put pressure on the quarterback with five or six guys, then you’re asking your back end to hold up. [Right now,] you’re seeing that even with rushing four, you’re seeing plays down the field being made. So obviously there’s a fine line there, I believe. … So it’s not for the lack of effort and scheme. We just have to coach it better and we have to play better in all aspects of the game.”