Eagles left tackle Jason Peters made headlines earlier this week when he criticized the methods of former head coach Chip Kelly. One of the criticisms was that Kelly's system pushed him to where it was hard to stay healthy. Peters also said he's looking forward to how Doug Pederson and the current staff will manage veterans, such as himself, more cautiously. Pederson talked about his plan for resting Eagles vets following practice on Friday.
"Well, I wouldn't put a time limit; I wouldn't put a day on it," he said. "It's something with veteran players that the longevity of the entire season, especially offensive and defensive linemen, that I think you've got to be smart with those guys. I think you have to give them time to rest throughout training camp. Obviously the style of camp is going to be a little bit different than what they've been used to, and so I think with all of that and his recovery where he takes care of himself once he's off the field during the day will really help him in his longevity this season."
"But yeah, I plan on giving these guys rest throughout not only training camp but throughout the season."
Pederson cited his playing experience as a reason why it's so important to respect the veterans.
"Number one, I know what they're going through," he said. "I was one of those guys for so long, and even though I was in a different position, I see the wear and tear and the grind that these guys go through every single day. This is a physical game and it takes them an entire week to recover sometimes."
"The more you can -- when they get to this stage of their career, it's not about the physical rep anymore, it's about the mental rep. You know, these guys are professionals at what they do. They understand their roles, and you just give them the time and the rest to be ready on game day."
Philadelphia currently has nine players projected to make the 53-man roster that will be 30 or older this season. That figure, of course, includes the 34-year-old Peters. The potential future Hall of Fame left tackle reportedly has a degenerative injury condition, which is reminder that his days are numbered. The Eagles will try their best to get the most out of him and other vets this year. Providing rest when necessary might help out.
Read below for an entire transcript of Doug Pederson's Friday press conference.
Q. What did you want to accomplish today, and did you get there?
DOUG PEDERSON: We did. We’re still in this sort of ramp-up phase with CBA rules and the way you can attack and prepare for the training camp, but you sort of build. You start with that conditioning test, you go to a lighter practice in the afternoon, you come back, you give them a little more intense workout this morning, and you build as you get to the actual padded practices, which will begin tomorrow.
Q. Why was it important to get RB Darren Sproles signed for an additional year, especially at his age?
DOUG PEDERSON: I’ll tell you what, any time, in my opinion, that you can have a playmaker like Darren Sproles and you can keep him locked up for a couple of years, it makes you feel good. I'm just so happy for him and his family and the fact that the work that [Eagles executive vice president of football operations] Howie [Roseman] put in to make sure this thing got done. [I’m] just so excited to have him here and look forward to working with him this training camp and obviously during the season.
Q. In RB Ryan Mathews' case, how long do you expect him out?
DOUG PEDERSON: It's day-to-day with him. Obviously the same with [G] Brandon Brooks – both of them are day-to-day. We're anticipating next week sometime getting them both back on the field.
Q. What exactly is Ryan Mathews' injury?
DOUG PEDERSON: He has an ankle. He did it working out in California actually. So, [he] has that ankle, [and] we're just treating it day by day. It's getting better, and we anticipate next week at some point.
Q. What gives you the confidence that Sproles will be the same player?
DOUG PEDERSON: Darren Sproles is a pro's pro. He knows how to take care of his body in the offseason. He's a very intelligent running back. He's been around this game a long time. It's guys like that that you don't worry about. He does everything right. He does what you coach him to do. Again, it's just the way he prepares and the way he attacks everything. [It] gives you the confidence that he's going to be here for a few more years.
Q. How can you see the running back duties maybe divided up more with what you have and considering Darren’s age and what we’re seeing so far?
DOUG PEDERSON: I mean, right now the running back [position], we've got a lot of talent right there. We've got some young talent. Kenjon Barner is a kid that has shown some good strides this offseason picking up the offense; and you've got Ryan [Mathews] out there; you've got Darren [Sproles]. And then you've got the young kids: Wendell [Smallwood] we picked up and Byron Marshall and Cedric O’Neal and the rest of the guys that have some talent. I love playing with two tight ends; I like playing with double halfbacks. It’s a chance to get all these guys some reps down the stretch now during this tough time.
Q. Can you just talk about the pressure you face as a first-time head coach but also the expectations, the pressure you're under?
DOUG PEDERSON: Well, I think you just approach it day by day. One thing for me, I get here in the morning and I spend 30 minutes just thinking about my day, sort of a quiet time situation, and then being a man of faith, I think that's important in situations like this. You just sort of turn the day over, and you just let things unfold. That way it keeps me grounded, and it gets me through each day, and then I just – I can't worry about tomorrow.
Q. Former Eagles and Rams QB Nick Foles got released by Los Angeles earlier this week. In Kansas City, you had a quarterback in Alex Smith, who while he was with the Chiefs, probably played at a level that he didn't approach earlier in his career. How much do circumstances play into a quarterback's success, or are you a believer that there are just guys that you can put in any kind of situation and they'll be productive and play well? How does that balance work?
DOUG PEDERSON: There's a fine line. There's a fine line. The quarterback position in the National Football League has changed over the course of say the last 10 to 15 years. What I mean by that, is these guys are getting a little more athletic, [have] bigger bodies, [and there are] guys that are smart coming out of college. They're highly intelligent guys. Sometimes, I think you can take a Pro Bowl quarterback and put him on an average team and he becomes average. It also depends on the talent around you that really makes or breaks that quarterback.
Something we did in Kansas City with Alex, is surrounding him with talent and with talented guys, and utilizing his strength of his athleticism and his brain. [He’s a] very accurate passer; he doesn't turn the ball over. That became a recipe for success for us in Kansas City, and it's just unfortunate in Nick's situation. I think he's a talented guy, but with the right guys around him, he can be a very successful quarterback.
Q. You talk about the dynamic play of Sproles, but the age does become a factor at a certain point. Do you have to concern yourself as the season progresses with how many touches he'll get in a game to try to keep him fresher in the long run?
DOUG PEDERSON: Yeah, he's another one that kind of goes in that boat, but at the same time, I think he's a freakish athlete. Going into it right now, I'm not going to limit him. I want to see how much I can give him and see how much he can handle. Then we’ll kind of go from there.
Q Are there any specific things that you'd like to see QB Sam Bradford improve on throughout training camp?
DOUG PEDERSON: You know, he's done a great job already through his leadership ability and the way he's communicating with his players. He's still learning the system. He's picking up the nuances of the offenses and progressions, but his dialogue with me, with Frank [Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich], with John [Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo] and with his teammates, is something that I've been really pleased to see. And then his ability to throw the football accurately on time, in rhythm, has really stuck out, and he's done a great job this spring and in the beginning of camp. So if we continue to do that with him, he's just going to continue to grow each and every day.
Q. It seems like there has been a heavier rotation at wide receiver. What do you see out of the guys there?
DOUG PEDERSON: Good question. The rotation thing, you're seeing it not only at receiver, you're seeing it at corner, you're seeing it at offensive line. We're so early in camp right now, that we just want to get guys reps. So there's no rhyme or reason for any of it. We just want to give everybody the opportunity right now to get on film so we can begin our evaluation process.
Q. Have any of those receivers stood out?
DOUG PEDERSON: You know, Rueben [Eagles WR Rueben Randle] came back after the [gallbladder] surgery he had in the spring, healthy and ready to go. He's had a good start to camp. I think Nelson [WR Nelson Agholor] has done a nice job, and [WR] Josh Huff, too. And Jordan [WR Jordan Matthews] has come back in a good mindset. We've got good depth. And then [WR} Chris Givens. You throw Chris in there, a veteran guy that knows how to practice and play, and we just want to give them all as many reps as we can.