On a sunny Miami football field, surrounded by a well-traveling fan base on a Sunday afternoon, the Eagles fell 37-31 to the Dolphins, one of the league’s worst teams. The loss was the team’s third straight; however, the previous two were to the 10-1 New England Patriots and the 9-2 Seattle Seahawks. Penalties, inconsistent offense, and an exhausted, porous defense were among the problem areas.
In their postgame press conferences, head coach Doug Pederson and quarterback Carson Wentz reiterated a tired refrain, and reworded messages they’ve been sending disgruntled fans for the past several weeks.
Pederson repeatedly called the 3-9 Dolphins “a good football team” and credited them for their effort. Wentz said he was frustrated by the loss, but the league moves too fast to allow time to feel bad or “get pissed off.”
Here’s a breakdown of some of the coach’s and quarterback’s comments:
On whether the team didn’t prepare enough for the Dolphins:
Pederson: “I mean, that’s a good football team. ... The lack of consistency all around is the most disappointing thing.”
Wentz: "We don’t overlook anybody. Hats off to them. They came out today and played a good game. ... I don’t think anybody in this locker room overlooks anybody. This is the National Football League. There aren’t any slouches out there.”
On whether the team leaders failed to step up:
Pederson: “Um, you know what, that’s on me. I got to make sure I’m doing my part. I’m the main leader on this team.”
Wentz: “Collectively, I think as a team we’re coming up short. ... I’ve got to be better in those big-time situations."
On what the leaders have to do this week:
Wentz: “Any time we come off a loss, just make sure no one’s pointing fingers, everybody’s together. ... You got to keep rallying the troops. To me, we only know how to do one thing: to go back to work.”
On the mindset looking ahead, with the NFC East still within reach:
Pederson: “That’s the thing, as crazy as it is, I’d say its a long shot, but we’re not out of it [the division race]. ... The guys have to understand that. ... We’re still fighting and coming to work this week ready to go and figure this thing out.”
Wentz: “For me, my belief in everybody in that locker room doesn’t change. We obviously fell short today ... I’ve seen crazier [than a team going on a playoff run after three straight losses like this]. We’ve just got to find a way to get back on top next week, go 1-0 next week.”
On whether locker-room demoralization could compound the loss:
Pederson: “You know, I think there will probably be a little bit of that. That’s the thing in my position that I have to make sure the team understands. ... We’re still a good football team. ... We self-destructed in a couple areas today and that hurt us.”
Wentz: “Obviously, we had a couple bad showings. ... I believe in the defense. I believe in the offense. I think we’re going to get this thing going in the right direction.”