That wasn’t a guarantee Monday morning, Doug Pederson said, but an expression of confidence in his team to bounce back from Sunday’s embarrassing 38-20 loss at Minnesota.
In his noon news conference, Pederson tried to give context to his words from his weekly morning radio appearance on 94WIP, during which the Eagles coach said: “We’re going down to Dallas and our guys are gonna be ready to play. We’re gonna win that football game and when we do, we’re in first place in the NFC East.”
This was interpreted widely as Pederson guaranteeing a victory this coming Sunday night, in a showdown between two rivals that entered the season viewed as top NFC contenders and are both now 3-3.
“I also said that on the outside, people really think the sky is falling and everything is just crumbling,” Pederson said later. “We’re tied for first place in the NFC East. We have a great opportunity against a great football team on Sunday night to attempt to win a football game. … You put the tape on this morning and you watch it, and we’re just missing on a couple little detail things. … There’s enough good, positive that came out of this game, from that standpoint, to continue to get better.”
Pederson said the Cowboys, who started 3-0 but lost their third in a row Sunday at the Jets, are “reeling like we are. They’re going to come out and play hard. They always have; they beat us twice last year. We’ve got a lot of things stacked against us going down there.
“But as the head football coach, I’m going to stand here and show confidence in our football team, because that’s what I have.”
Asked specifically if he felt he had guaranteed a victory, Pederson said: “Never said that. I never said ‘guarantee a win.’ I’d never do that.”
Pressed for further explanation of why he said “we’re gonna win that football game,” Pederson said: “I’m not going to stand up here, or go on record as saying, ‘We’re going to go down there and try to win a game.’ … It just doesn’t show confidence. I want to show confidence in our players.”
Pederson said Jalen Mills, eligible to return this week from the physically-unable-to-perform list, will practice Wednesday and the team will go from there, with a cornerback who hasn’t played since suffering a foot injury last Oct. 28. He said corner Ronald Darby also will see some practice work, as Darby attempts to return from a quadriceps injury.
Pederson said wide receiver DeSean Jackson will not practice Wednesday but will continue to run and work toward returning from his abdominal injury.