Doug Pederson Believes All the Distractions Are Affecting Eagles

Doug Pederson believes off-the-field distractions - notably ESPN's report last week quoting an anonymous player criticizing Carson Wentz - may have affected the team's play in their embarrassing loss to the Cowboys.

"We can't have that," he said. "Open dialogue is the best way. If there's an issue, just come to me or come to the player."

ESPN's Josina Anderson quoted an unnamed player making comments critical of Wentz and the Eagles' offense, which understandably became a major topic both in and around the locker room.

Pederson brought up those distractions unprompted when asked how his team has handled this past week of preparation for Sunday's game against the Bills. 

"They've responded well," Pederson said. "We had a lot of distractions last week, off-the-field distractions, and they've put that behind them, they've moved on, they're focused in on this game, this opponent."

The Eagles, 3-4, are coming off back-to-back lopsided losses to the Vikings and Cowboys.

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When teams play this badly, there are inevitably going to be plenty of distractions, whether it's Lane Johnson saying after the Dallas game players are showing up late at practice, a quote from Malcolm Jenkins about Nick Foles that could have been interpreted as a knock on Carson Wentz or Friday's nationally televised comments from former Eagle Orlando Scandrick blasting the team.

Pederson was asked if those things can negatively affect the team. 

"I think it can play a part, you know?" he said. "When they're hearing about it every day and you guys are asking them every day, yeah, it can definitely affect the mentality. Me standing up here every day. But that's our jobs. Listen, that comes with the territory. We're based on wins and losses in this league. Sometimes it's unfortunate, but that's how we're judged. We take the good with the bad and we stand up here and face the music and our players have to do the same thing and they've done a great job with that and I think that's part of the resilience of the football team."

Pederson spoke Monday morning before Scandrick's nationally televised tirade.

This is only the 14th time in franchise history and only the fifth time in the last 40 years the Eagles have lost back-to-back games by at least 18 points.

It's only the ninth time they've allowed 37 or more points in consecutive games and just the fifth time in the last 50 years.

This is clearly a team at crossroads, but Pederson said he liked what he saw in the days since the team returned from Dallas.

"What I'm seeing from the guys on the field … they're encouraging, if something happens in practice they want to repeat a play, they want to get it right, they want to make that correction right away, they're working off on the side, Carson and the receivers are throwing extra on the side or the offensive line is working extra on the side, whatever it might be," he said. "Those are all signs of teams that it means something to them, it's important to them, they want to fix it. No one wants to lose in this league and they're working hard to fix it."

Whether they can fix it remains to be seen.

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