Eagles set to face Seattle's dangerous Russell Wilson

Ed Benkin
November 23, 2019 - 1:30 pm
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson addresses the media in advance of Sunday's showdown with the Seattle Seahawks.

Ed Benkin/KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Doug Pederson remembers the first time he met Russell Wilson.

Pederson was an assistant coach with the Eagles under Andy Reid in 2012. He got a chance to watch Wilson work out as he prepared for the NFL Draft. Pederson remembers being impressed with Wilson both as a football player and as a person and knew the National Football League was going to have a very special quarterback when the Wisconsin product joined the league.

"It wasn't so much the workout and watching him throw and putting him through some of the throws we were doing at the time," said Pederson. "It's when I got him in the classroom. "It's when I had a chance to go to lunch with him and just talk with him as a person. That's where you really, for me anyway, where I knew this kid was going to be a special player in this league."

Wilson has indeed become something special, and the Eagles will have to find a way to slow the veteran quarterback down on Sunday. Wilson has led Seattle to an 8-2 record and has tossed 23 touchdown passes while throwing only two interceptions. Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham knows Wilson can find a host of different ways to beat a defense.

"He can do everything," Bradham said. "He's patient. His mental aspect of the game is at another level. He knows when to slide. He watches and keeps his eyes down the field to get the ball out if someone comes out of coverage. He can kill you in the pocket as well."

While Wilson will present problems for the Eagles offense, the Seattle defense will also be a tough test on the other side of the ball. The former "Legion of Boom" has gotten a face lift in recent years, but the Seahawks' defense is still filled with plenty of difference makers. One of those players is former Eagle linebacker Mychal Kendricks and another is former Houston standout Jadeveon Clowney.

"They've incorporated some younger players who have stepped up and made plays," said Pederson. "They have Mychal Kendricks is now there and obviously Clowney is there, so they've added some pieces to the defense that have made them a really good, sound defense. It's a very similar style to what we've seen already this year."

The Eagles will be without right tackle Lane Johnson, who will be sidelined with a concussion. First round draft pick Andre Dillard will take Johnson's place even though he has only played left tackle since being drafted. Dillard has had to take a crash course on the right side and talked about the difficult adjustment he had faced throughout the week.

"You probably write with your right hand," Dillard said. "Say you all of a sudden had to write a big essay with your left hand right now. You think about how would that feel. It's kind of like that."

As far as Wilson, Pederson admitted the Eagles had a strong interest in drafting him seven years ago. Wilson would have likely had the same type of success in Philadelphia as he has had in Seattle, but Pederson said there was a consolation prize.

"We liked him," said Pederson. "I think we ended up getting Nick Foles, which worked out for us."