Was it important to get Trevor [QB Trevor Lawrence] moving more?
DOUG PEDERSON: I don't think it was important to get him moving. I think it was part of our game plan. I thought Trevor played extremely well. Obviously bounced back from last week and put together a good performance, ran the ball. I think two rushing touchdowns today; right? Did a great job. Saw the field extremely well. I thought offensively we protected him well. It was good to get Zay [WR Zay Jones] back as well, but overall Trevor played really well today.
You're up 7-0, three minutes to go in the first quarter. Tennessee goes on a 13-play drive. They take nine minutes off the clock. Final play you get the sack. What did that mean to not allow any points during that juncture?
DOUG PEDERSON: That's really big. It's huge. It's a lift for our team. It was great to see our defense do that and get off the field. Obviously it was a lot of plays, and they just hung in there. Those things, they kind of lift and energize your football team in moments like that. I thought, again, defense today again played outstanding.
We talked a lot about Ridley [WR Calvin Ridley]. Those two passes to him were almost perfect, but how good was it to get him involved beyond maybe PIs and maybe creating for other people?
DOUG PEDERSON: Yeah, I mean, it was good to get Calvin back in there and get him going again. I'll have to look at the film. Also the addition of Zay [WR Zay Jones] possibly could help that out a little bit, and those are the things that we talked about. Yeah, it was good. Calvin played extremely well today. He kind of let the game just unfold before his eyes and really just ran the routes that Press [Offensive Coordinator Press Taylor] called. Trevor [QB Trevor Lawrence] did the rest, but it was really good to get Calvin the type of game today that he's capable of playing.
Doug, what does it say about your team to kind of respond the way they did after what was such a humiliating game last week to dominate the way you guys did today? What did you maybe learn about your team?
DOUG PEDERSON: Yeah, thanks for reminding me about last week. It just goes to show the resiliency of our football team. We've only been together a short while, but this is a resilient group. They always seem to work themselves back and fight their way back when they have a setback. They've done it. They did it again today. Hats off to the leadership of the football team and really each man doing his job, and that's the type of football that we're capable of playing.
I know you said that last week that you were looking forward to coaching this team after that loss last week. How do you feel that you and your staff responded?
DOUG PEDERSON: Well, sometimes it's easier after a loss than it is a win. Really, we all had to kind of soul-search a little bit. We all had to look in the mirror and see if there were things we could do differently or I could help the team differently and how I message the football team and really just wanted to keep things simple. I didn't want to clutter their mind. Yeah, you get blown out in a game a week ago, but when you really boil it down, it came down to the four giveaways and in the critical situations that we did last week. We didn't do that today. When you do that, you have better success. Just finding moments to just I think just relate to the team and kind of bring them full circle. You know, put it back on the leadership of the team and let them drive the team a little bit.
Can you talk about the decision to go for it on fourth and down at their 40 in the opening drive of the third, and Trevor's [QB Trevor Lawrence] touchdown run two plays later? It seemed like you two were just willing the offense to get into gear. You'd had enough of the stuttering and stopping and starting of the field goals, and you weren't going to have any more of it. Was that an accurate way to describe it. You went for it fourth and fourth at their 40.
DOUG PEDERSON: Yeah, to keep that drive alive. That was just something I felt at that time just to kind of keep because we were moving the ball. Felt good about it. Again, when I show confidence in the team and they respond like that, it just breeds confidence in them. We were able to kind of do that a little bit today on some of the fourth downs and sustain some of those drives, but that was a big one to really kind of keep the foot on the gas a little bit offensively and just help our team with confidence.
Did you get a sense in all your conversation with Trevor [QB Trevor Lawrence] that when he was hurt with the knee and he wasn't one hundred percent, that it kind of bothered him that he couldn't be out there playing at one hundred percent and doing a lot of the things that he did before? You know, like the rollouts and stuff like that.
DOUG PEDERSON: Just take the name off the injury. It's anybody. Anybody that's injured. It bothers people. It bothers you. That's the thing I appreciate about this sport and about our team. Guys are going to play a little sore. Guys are going to play a little beat up, but they do it because, one, they love their teammates. They love the game, and they're going to do everything they can to perform. It doesn't matter if it's the quarterback or an outside backer. It's just the willingness, the mental toughness the physicality of that the players have, and they do it for their teammates.
Doug, can you just talk a little bit about the performance of your offensive line? There were about three or four passes today where Trevor [QB Trevor Lawrence] kind of needed extra second and a half to get to other reads so that he could complete some passes. It just looked like the offensive line from a pass pro standpoint had a good day.
DOUG PEDERSON: They did. They really did. I think a lot of it, too, stemmed from the fact that we stuck with the run game, so it helped a little bit in the pass protection world. Again, it's a prideful group, and Walker getting back in there and kind of settling down and having more reps. It appeared like he played better today, but as a group against a really good defensive front, they played so many five-man fronts today. You're creating all those one-on-one matchups, and our guys did a nice job of hanging in there and battling. Trevor doesn't make some of those down the field throws if they don't give him that extra time. They played well.
Will the game plan moving forward be to try to give Ezra [OL Ezra Cleveland] a series here or there like you did today?
DOUG PEDERSON: It's possible. We'll see how he did and keep him coming. I think it's important that we continue to develop him in our offense because you never know when we might need him full time. It's possible that we could continue to work that a little bit.
Congrats on the victory. With the usage of [WR] Zay Jones, were you just trying to bring him back in slowly, or were you wanting to use him a little more that you just couldn't?
DOUG PEDERSON: That's the thing that I've learned in this league that when players come back from injury that you don't bring them back slowly. They're in for a reason, and you go full steam ahead. Zay was ready to go, and he was a big part of this today. He played tough. He played physical. He made some catches today, and just really I think just having his presence out there opened up some other things for us, but I was proud of Zay. Again, one of the players that's been injured, but got himself in a position. He was healthy to go and did a nice job today.
[DT] DaVon Hamilton scratched today. Is it a healthy scratch, or did he have a setback?
DOUG PEDERSON: It was a healthy scratch. Listen, I'm not going to get into all of it with him because he and I and we've had some conversations with him and all of that, but it was healthy. I just want to make sure that he is mentally and physically ready to go. As you guys know, we're not going to put somebody out there to risk anything further, and it was the decision by me to just hold him one week, see where he's at, and get him more practice time, get him more reps, get him back to where he was a year ago. He's missed a lot of times. You have to understand, he's missed a lot of time. I think it's definitely taken a toll a little bit, but he's busted his tail to be in a position to help us. I think it's going to be a week-to-week decision, but he understands where we are, and he appreciated that, and we'll see where he's at again this woke.
Can you talk about the defense's performance, and obviously them getting that fumble, how big was that to sort of get the ball rolling?
DOUG PEDERSON: Yeah, the defense, they created the take-away early in the football game. Of course, we have the special teams take-away late in the second half. Listen, I don't think we talk enough about the defense. They're the ones that have kept us in the majority of our football games this season. They did a nice job today. It's one of the things we knew going in that we would have to slow down this run game. I thought for the most part they did a nice job, controlled the line of scrimmage. They played fast. They played fast today, and that was good to see. Our secondary was on point. They were in the right position. We had a chance to grab a couple of balls. They'll make those, but [Defensive Coordinator] Mike Caldwell had a good plan for the guys. The coaches did a nice job preparing the players, and they're a big part of this today.