What the Eagles are saying ahead of Thursday Night Football
The Giants are jumping on the highway and heading south for a Thursday night matchup against their division rival Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles enter this matchup 1-4-1 after losing the previous two weeks to the AFC North. Last week, Philly's late comeback fell just short as the Baltimore Ravens emerged with the 30-28 victory at Lincoln Financial Field.
This will be Philadelphia's second NFC East game of the season after they lost to Washington in Week 1, 27-17.
Through six weeks, the Eagles' offense ranks 22nd in points and 27th in yards. On the other side of the ball, Philly's defense ranks 23rd in points allowed and 17th in yards allowed.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, Special Teams Coordinator Dave Fipp and Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz each took questions over the last few days about this week's matchup against the Giants. Here is what each one had to say.
Q. When you see where you are in the division and that it's right there for the taking, you got these NFC East games coming up, where is the heightened sense of urgency right now at this point in the season? (John Clark)
Head Coach Doug Pederson: Every week is heightened. The sense of urgency each week to win a football game, right? We understand where we are, the sort of the hole we dug ourselves into and it's all about just one-game-at-a-time mentality. You don't want to look past the Giants. This is a good football team coming in here Thursday night and we have to be prepared. It's a short week, we came off an emotional game this past Sunday with Baltimore and we got to turn around and play. So, the sense of urgency each week is always there and again it's a one- game mentality, one opponent at a time.
Q. Doug you're obviously in this division race but your record doesn't suggest that you have played well the first five games. How will you balance playing for the division title vs development of the future, by getting some of these younger players to play over veterans that won't factor into the team beyond this year? (Jeff McLane)
Pederson: Obviously there was a lot in that question. First of all, I appreciate the confidence that you have in us. Secondly, we know our division is down and maybe it's up for grabs. All I know is we're going to focus on one week at a time and I think that's all I can ask of our players. This is a short week. The New York Giants coming to town, it's a good football team. I know their record doesn't show it either, but these guys are good on defense, they're good on offense and got really good special teams. So, we have to prepared to win this game come Thursday and play hard.
Q. The Giants defense, how similar is it to the Miami Dolphins defense you faced last year with the same coordinator? What are their strengths, what do they do well? (Bo Wulf)
Pederson: Yea, it's similar to what Miami has done. It's similar to how New England has played in the past against us. You see a little bit of what [Lions Head Coach] Matt Patricia has brought to Detroit. It's all kind of out of that same family of defensives there. This defensive line is a challenge for our offensive line, they're big and physical inside. They can put pressure on a quarterback and they can shut the run game down. It's probably a little more zone coverage in the back end than man coverage, but it's a lot of disguises back there with their linebackers and safeties. It's got its own set of complexities within this defense, especially on a short week. But having some familiarity with them and Coach Graham [Giants Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham] last year in Miami does help, to be able to take a look at some of that. Really good defense that we're going against this week.
Q. Head Coach Doug Pederson has had a lot of success since he's been here, you guys have never lost on Thursday Night Football. What are those short weeks like for you from a preparation standpoint? Also, the NY Giants haven't had a lot of team success. I know you're not a fan of those outside analytics, but people say they're playing pretty well on special teams. What have you seen from them? (John McMullen)
Special Teams Coordinator Dave Fipp: As far as the Thursday night games, I really enjoy Thursday night games. Obviously, my body is not as beat up as some of these players, so it's probably a little bit different for them. For me I really enjoy it, both teams are under the same circumstances. You are both coming off a Sunday game. You got to hurry and get ready, but you got to hustle up, get ready and get ready to play the next game. That's always enjoyable for us, for me. I like that.
In terms of the Giants, they do a great job on special teams. Their Head Coach Joe Judge, a guy who I have a lot of respect for. We've had some good battles against each other while he was in New England and he does a really nice job. He understands the nuances of the game on special teams really well. They have two great coaches up there in [Giants Special Teams Coordinator] Thomas McGaughey and [Assistant Special Teams Coach] Tom Quinn. Those guys are exceptional at what they do. Then at the end of the day, a lot of it comes down to the players that they got to work with. They've got some talented players. They've had some good returners. [Giants S Jabrill] Peppers has done a really nice job on punt return for them. In the early part of the year [Giants WR] Golden Tate's come in and carried that on for them on their punt return. I would say that across the board these guys got a good roster, good coaches. They do a nice job of putting these guys in a good position. We got our work cut out for us on Thursday night, but our guys are excited to go.
Q. Just curious with the Giants and Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett there, how much that helps you. You've gotten to know him and what he does offensively the last few years. How much does that play into your game planning on a short week? (John McMullen)
Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz: Well, it's not just Jason Garrett. And he had a couple different offensive coordinators for him in Dallas. [Current LSU passing game coordinator] Scott Linehan, who was my offensive coordinator in Detroit and [Cowboys offensive coordinator] Kellen Moore, who was a third-string quarterback for us in Detroit.
So it was a little bit different under those guys, but there are some continuities. [Giants offensive line coach Marc] Colombo is their offensive line coach. He came from Dallas. So we can see some carryover to those things. We take every team independently of their past. But after we get done all of our breakdowns, then we can sort of DNA match it and say we have some carryover here and there's a certain percentage of carryover, obviously different personnel and things like that, but there is a certain percentage of carryover.
Q. Giants QB Daniel Jones, how have you seen his game change at all with the new coaching staff? It looks like he's doing more running, maybe because Giants RB Saquon Barkley is not there, but how have you seen his game evolve with this new staff? (Ed Kracz)
Schwartz: Well, he is their leading rusher. There is that. They ran a little bit last year. They ran some zone read type stuff with him. He can surprise you with his mobility. We can't be surprised about that on Thursday night because he does have good mobility and he's run for some first downs. He's probably not the first guy you think of when you think about mobile quarterbacks, but he's run the zone read and a couple different layers of it really well, and he has not been afraid to put his head down and get extra yards.
I think that that mobility, his ability to extend plays, has shown up probably maybe a little bit more than last year. Obviously, not having Saquon back there puts a little bit more on the quarterback. The run game really hasn't change with [Giants RB Devonta] Freeman or [Giants RB Wayne] Gallman or any of those other guys in there, but obviously they try to distribute that burden a little bit and the quarterback has picked some of that up.
Game Preview: Giants have tunnel vision on Eagles
The results in Week 6 of the NFL season left the Giants with as good a chance as any of their rivals to win the NFC East title. The Giants were the only one of its four members to win last week. Current leader Dallas is 2-4, while the other three teams all have one victory. That includes the 1-5 Giants, who are in a stretch in which they play five division games in six weeks. They can move closer to the top when they visit the 1-4-1 Philadelphia Eagles tomorrow night in Lincoln Financial Field.
But Judge, as coaches are wont to do, is fixated only on the next opponent. Nor is he discussing the division race with his players.
"I don't really get into those kinds of things," Judge said. "Our goal every week is to be 1-0, and right now, our goal for this week is to be 1-0. But we have a division opponent, a rival, so that's all of our focus right now."
"All these divisional games are big, and I think guys understand that," quarterback Daniel Jones said. "Guys have an awareness as to where the division is and the standings. But we're focused on this week. We're focused on this game and it being a big divisional game. It's important for that reason. Guys are locked into that and excited to get out there."
Short-week games always present a physical challenge and both the Giants and Eagles are missing key players to injury. The Giants have lost one of their young linebackers in each of the last three weeks, first Oshane Ximines, then Lorenzo Carter and this week Tae Crowder, who scored the go-ahead touchdown against Washington on a 43-yard fumble return but joined the others on injured reserve this week. The Giants apparently have a chance to get back wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who missed the last four games with turf toe but returned to practice yesterday.
Philadelphia finished its 30-28 loss to Baltimore Sunday with only two projected offensive starters, quarterback Carson Wentz and center Jason Kelce, on the field. And coach Doug Pederson said they were playing hurt. Philadelphia has lost its top wide receivers (though at least one might return tomorrow), tight ends and running back and is playing backups at four offensive line positions.
Giants vs. Eagles Week 7 Injury Report
Out - WR C.J. Board (Concussion), DB Adrian Colbert (Shoulder), LB Tae Crowder (Hamstring)
Questionable - CB Darnay Holmes (Neck)
No Injury Designation - WR Darius Slayton (Foot), RB Dion Lewis (Hand)
*Tae Crowder was placed on injured reserve
Out - OT Jack Driscoll (Ankle), TE Zach Ertz (Ankle), DT Malik Jackson (Quad), RB Miles Sanders (Knee), S K'Von Wallace (Shoulder), WR Alshon Jeffery (Foot)
No Injury Designation- OT Lane Johnson (Ankle), S Marcus Epps (Ribs), WR DeSean Hamstring (Hamstring), CB Avonte Maddox (Ankle), LB Duke Riley (Ribs)
View rare photos of the historic rivalry between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles.
Strategy with Carl Banks: Scouting the Eagles
Watch the video below to view two-time Super Bowl champion Carl Banks take a look at the Xs and Os for Thursday's matchup in Philadelphia, presented by PSE&G.