Game action photos from the New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles matchup in Week 14 of the 2020 NFL season.
EAGLES COACH DOUG PEDERSON
Q. What did you think of QB Jalen Hurts' overall performance and why do you think he was able to get the whole team, start to finish, to play better and are you ready to commit to him for next week yet? (Rob Maaddi)
"We went into this week – a lot of stuff has been piled on this football team all season, negatively, positively, a lot of injuries, different things have really piled up. Sometimes you look for an opportunity to just sort of jumpstart things, right? Kind of almost reset a little bit. You do things -- and obviously Jalen got the start this afternoon, and I thought overall, there were some good things and really, kind of gave us a spark as a team that I was looking for, and I think we were looking for as a team. But you know, this win today is not about one guy. This win is about this team and how resilient this team is. We went through it again today, injuries piled up a little bit in the second half. Guys stayed strong. He obviously was a part of the win, but my hat's off to a lot of guys in this football game. Defense I thought played outstanding with the two takeaways. [DE Josh] Sweat, [DT Javon] Hargrave, guys are battling their tails off, and offensive line against -- this is the No. 1 defense in the National Football League. They did a nice job. They did a really nice job against that front. My hat's off to really every member of this team."
Q. How do you think the overall offense executed to this game plan that you guys had this week? (Mike Kaye)
"Well, bottom line is you try to win the game and we were successful there. I thought that there was some good, there was some bad. But I thought they executed the game plan pretty well, again, with what we asked them to do."
Q. We saw some principle tenets of your offense really on display I think tonight. There's some of the mesh concepts, the RPOs, getting your quarterback out onto the move. Can you help us explain why there was more of that in this game than maybe we have seen when QB Carson Wentz was under center? (Tim McManus)
"Well, I mean, don't misunderstand kind of what you're seeing. A lot of it was QB scrambles, too. So, they weren't necessarily designed rollouts. But it's just part of the -- I guess part of the game plan to be able to get -- and really, the defense, too. You've got to consider the defense and how they play, which can allow for your quarterback to get on the edge just a little bit and throw quickly, and just kind of cut the field in half for him and keep it as simple as I possibly could in certain situations."
Q. Your comments about Jalen Hurts seem kind of tempered considering the performance. Is that because you have to take into account Carson Wentz? (Jeff McLane)
"I have to take into consideration the entire football team. Jalen played well. Obviously, we won the game. But there's a lot of good performances out there tonight, and again, as I said, defense stepped up, offensive line, some of our young receivers and obviously Jalen. It's a start and we're excited to get the win."
Q. Nobody runs on the Saints like that. I think it's been 56 games that they haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher and you guys had two today. What was the difference in the running game? (Zach Berman)
"I don't know, I think some of it was we had a couple more designed runs with Jalen. And then just, the style of run plan that we put together. Coach Stoutland [offensive line/run game coordinator Jeff Stoutland] does a great job studying the front and what these guys do. We kept it to where we could have more probably repeat plays and just execution with the guys up front. Guys did a nice job there, and it was fun to watch them out there play and get this win today."
Q. RB Miles Sanders called Jalen Hurts a natural leader today. How did you feel about how he commanded the huddle and conducted himself, even when things got a little tight there at the end? (Daniel Gallen)
"Yeah, I would say that's pretty accurate."
Q. Is Jalen Hurts your starter next week and if so, what will the challenge be now that more tape is out on him? (Nick Fierro)
"I'm going to enjoy this one. I'm going to go home and relax and be with my family tonight and enjoy this win and get ready for the week."
Q. That fourth-down touchdown throw that Jalen Hurts made to WR Alshon Jeffery at the 15-yard line, first of all, the decision to go for it there, what went into that thinking and what did you think of that play that he made? (Ed Kracz)
"Just where we are on the field. I mean, early in the game, I believe it was fourth and, what, two maybe, I think. But no, just an opportunity there. I mean, listen, you know me, in situations like that when it's favorable, I'm going to go for it. It was a great play by both those guys. Great catch, back-shoulder throw. Alshon pulled it in. Great play."
Q. Did Jalen Hurts show you anything you weren't expecting to see from him tonight, anything that surprised you at all? And also wanted to ask while I'm on here if any of the injuries, if you have any idea if any of these guys is really seriously injured and isn't going to be able to go forward in these final three weeks? (Les Bowen)
"Injury-wise, I'll get an update here tonight, first thing in the morning. I'll be able to update you tomorrow a little bit better on that, but we definitely had some guys that got banged up in this game and hopefully we get them back this week. As far as Jalen goes, really nothing that he showed today he hasn't shown in practice or this week in practice or the season. Just his ability to obviously to escape the pocket and throw on the run and some of the QB runs and things like that that we have seen early in this season and for the majority of the year. But nothing really out of the ordinary from him that we didn't expect."
Q. Your rookie quarterback in his first start just beat maybe the best team and the best defense in the league. Carson Wentz struggled all year. Do you wish you had done this sooner? Do you wish you had given Jalen Hurts a start sooner? And if not, why not? (Marcus Hayes)
"It took everybody in uniform to win this game, not just one guy. And I'm going to repeat myself again that it takes a village to get this stuff done, and Jalen was a part of it, yes. But it took a team effort to win, honestly. Again, I talked about the defense earlier, the plays that they made just time and time again. Again, Jalen was a part of it. It's great to get this win. These guys are excited. It's been awhile since we've won a football game. I'm happy for those guys in the locker room, for the coaches, the hard work that everybody put into this. But we've still got three games left and got a great opportunity. We've got to go on the road here the next couple weeks and try to continue it again."
Q. You lost CB Avonte Maddox, CB Darius Slay went down, then S Rodney McLeod went down basically at the same time. S Jalen Mills had to move from safety to corner, what has his leadership and versatility meant to your team this year? (John McMullen)
"It's meant a lot. He came into the season, we moved him back to safety. He was willing to go back there and fill a big role for us there and has done a great job. But his versatility to be able to play corner today and he's done that a couple times throughout the season, I think it's a credit to him and his versatility, the way he approaches the week, the way he attacks the week. But great leadership on and off the football field, and he was another one that helped us win this game today."
Q. You didn't give up a sack, this is just the second time all season that's happened. What went into that? (E.J. Smith)
"Great protection, and the ability that Jalen [Hurts] has to escape the pocket. I think that was the two biggest things. We did a great job with their blitz packages. It was an extensive blitz package, backs are involved, tight ends are involved, but I thought the offensive line for the most part blocked pretty well when we threw the ball down the field, or at least the drop-back world. Then of course his [Jalen Hurts] ability to escape the pocket really helped out there."
EAGLES QUARTERBACK JALEN HURTS
On his first NFL start and his success in the running game:
"I think, first and foremost, it's a great team win. Everybody played together, believed in one another and we put an emphasis on that this week – playing together, playing as one, bringing the energy and creating our own energy. Moving with urgency and scoring out there and believing in one another. I'm happy this group got it done today. I'm happy."
On his first-quarter touchdown pass to WR Alshon Jeffery:
"It was a look where – I believe we had cover zero, a man-to-man look – and had a free guy out on the edge and I knew I had to get the ball out fast. I kind of wanted to keep the aggressiveness there and took that shot to Alshon and hit him on his back shoulder. He made a great play."
On how his ability to run the ball altered the Eagles' offensive game plan:
"I just think going out there and extending [the play] sometimes always helps. I think, up front, we did a great job to allow some of those things to happen. One thing when I look back on this game, a lot of money [was] left on the table for us. A lot of money on the table we left out there. We're very excited. We're happy we got a 'W' against a really good team. But we're going to go back to work. We have a 24-hour rule on this thing, we clearly understand that. A lot to work on, a lot to build on. I'm excited to get back to practice, honestly, and get ready for the next game."
On his expectations going forward this season:
"I think going into next week, I want to continue to impact the guys around me and work hard every day. I always try to encourage somebody to bring somebody with them and I want to continue to get better at doing my job. I have a lot I can learn from this game, as well as us as a team. Just continuing to work, keeping that hunger and building on this thing this week."
On his mindset entering his first career NFL start:
"It was a new experience for me, for sure, my first NFL start out there. I'm excited that I was able to do it with this group of guys, with this team. We're ready to get back to work and fix the things we need to fix."
On how the offense changed with him at quarterback and his interactions with QB Carson Wentz:
"Yeah, [Wentz] had a few tips for me. A few little things pointing out here and there – certain looks, seeing the space of the defense – so he was really helpful this week. As far as the team, the guys just told me to be you. [To] go out there and be J-Hurts, everything else will take care of itself. We all had each other's back, that's the beauty in all of this. We had each other's back going out there against a really good football team and we had so much money we left on the table. Moving forward, we just want to continue to build, learn from mistakes and, hopefully, progress."
On the confidence Eagles Head Coach Doug Pedersen has in the offense to attempt four fourth down conversions:
"That's trust in his 11 on the field. That's belief in all 11 guys on the field. That's how we're going to play it, we're going to play it that way. Every time we touch the field, at least my mindset is, to execute. Execute what's called and, I'll say it again, [there's] a lot to learn from and a lot to build on. Execution is everything and always will be."
On what he expected going into his first NFL start and how it compared to big college games he played in:
"When I say new experience, I mean, first NFL start, first time starting in the NFL, it's a different game. I think we're all happy here, we're all excited and, more importantly, we're excited to get back to work. That's what I'm ready to do. I'm ready to get some work in."
On his emotions following his first career NFL start and the Eagles' victory:
"It felt good, it felt good. [It's] always a great feeling to get a 'W'. All week we talked about going out there and executing and dominating our box. Coming out at halftime without looking at the scoreboard. I've said it a lot, just having a standard for play. We got this win, but is it up to our standard of play? No. So that's why I say we have so much to build on and so much more to work for. [We] have to continue to build, continue to learn. Every game is an opportunity to learn and we need to use it to our advantage moving forward."
On Eagles RB Miles Sanders' 82-yard touchdown run and the Eagles' success running the read-option offense:
"The big guys up front. The big guys up front blocked their tail off all game. I think [Eagles WR] Alshon [Jeffery] had an impactful block on the outside. It's' all 11 playing as one. All 11 doing their job and dominating that box and doing what they're coached to do. We have confidence that if all 11 can do their job on every play it's going to be a positive play. That ended up being an explosive run and definitely a game-changer."
On the emphasis of playing as a team this week:
"We talked about energy. We talked about urgency. We talked about [having] a lot of enthusiasm and being there for your brother. Being there for your brother. We control what we can control. We go out there and try to control the controllables and go out there and play ball and have fun and trust in one another. That's what we did today. A lot of grit, a lot of perseverance, and we were there for one another. We have to continue to stay rolling."
New Orleans Saints fans cheer on the team from a safe distance as the Saints take on the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 14 of the 2020 NFL season.