Philadelphia Eagles' head coach Doug Pederson eventually conceded today that certain players did not play hard throughout yesterday's blowout loss in Cincinnati.
"Not everybody [played hard], not everybody," Pederson said. "And that's the accountability that I talk about. I hold coaches accountable for that. I hold myself accountable for that, because it all starts with me. I pride myself each week to make sure the guys are ready to go, but at the same time, it comes down to, it's a mentality by each individual player. This is a business where we have to be ready to go every single weekend. There's some teams that are better than others, but for the most part, anything can happen each weekend."
The neophyte head coach was then asked if he believes his team needs to be "loved up", or rather a bit of tough love.
"I think it's both," Pederson said. "I think there's a level of that tough love, there's gotta be that accountability that I was talking about. I implore and I challenge the leaders of the football team to stand up and not only hold themselves [accountable], but the rest of the team. It's not a panic move or anything like that, but let's just make sure we're doing things right. Everybody just do things right, do their jobs, do their assignments, and good things are gonna happen. It starts with me, I gotta make sure that I'm holding myself accountable."
As Philadelphia's losses pile up, evidence against Pederson's previously consistent position that his players are all in continues to surface. In the first half, Zach Ertz bailed on a block attempt of Vontaze Burfict as the tenacious tackler, and two additional Bengal defenders, closed in on prized rookie Carson Wentz.
"Looking at the tape, Carson was heading out of bounds and it looked like he pulled off that that point," Pederson said. "But I'm definitely gonna ask him why [he pulled off]."
Pederson was also asked what he wants his tight end to do in that situation.
"If he can pick up a block obviously [we want him to]," Pederson said. "We ask our guys to turn and block. We don't want anybody to block from behind, but at the same time, try to find a block down field if they can."
On the defensive side, Eagles' safety Rodney McLeod shied away from Jeremy Hill as the 6'2", 236 lb. Bengals halfback barreled his way into the endzone for Cincinnati's first touchdown of the day.
Just six minutes prior to Pederson telling reporters that not everybody played hard, he made a clear statement to the contrary.
"I didn't see any quit in the guys," Pederson said. "We battled back, we scored two touchdowns, had opportunities on a couple more drives to score. Everybody was doing everything we could to get ourselves back in that football game. I didn't see any quit in the guys. The dejection, the ill-feeling after the game in the locker room when you look at those guys in the eye shows me that they care about each other. They're disappointed that we didn't play well, and we'll get another opportunity."
You can watch the full press conference from Pederson below.