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Doug Pederson says he 'respects players' decisions' to protest on Monday night

"Malcolm (Jenkins) is a class act all the way," Pederson says.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Doug Pederson addressed the media Saturday morning. Here's what he had to say:


Pederson told reporters that Zach Ertz and Leodis McKelvin are both OUT for Monday's game against the Bears.

"It's a week-to-week deal. We'll see how we get through, obviously, this game. Both of those guys are feeling better. We'll monitor it again next week. The downside, I guess, is it's a shorter week, so we're trying to get the team ready to go. But we'll monitor and we'll evaluate again next week, early."

Going to make any moves at defensive back before Monday?

"We will not. We feel comfortable where we're at right now, with the addition of Brooks at safety and the ability to shuffle some guys around back there who have played some nickel spots before, we're comfortable with where we are."

"In our base defense, (Ron) Brooks will start, and Jalen (Mills) will come in on nickel and dime situations."

On Malcolm Jenkins' announcement that he and teammates will protest during the anthem on Monday

"I respect players' decisions. It's something they ... everybody has their right to either protest or whatever they're going to do. Malcolm and I have talked about this, and it's going to happen regardless of what I decide or say, and I respect the players' decisions on it. The biggest thing is I don't want it to become a distraction to the rest of the team, and that's the biggest thing from my standpoint."

Can you prevent them? -- "You really can't. With their demonstrations, and the things that have gone league wide. And I really don't think it has been a distraction for teams. I know early on, when Colin (Kaepernick) did his thing, it might've been because of the shock and awe of what happened, but I think now that everyone has sort of embraced it and knows it's going to happen, I think everybody is braced for it, so it won't be a distraction."

Appreciate Malcolm talking to you about it, so you weren't caught off guard? -- "Yeah, and listen, Malcolm is a class act all the way. He does a lot of things in the community here, and he's a great teammate, and a great leader of this football team, and I just appreciate him coming to me first and just letting me know. That's always been my policy on things, is open door, and when guys have things like this that come up, I appreciate them coming to me."

"I think it's going to continue, personally. And again, it's something the players have the right to do, to do that. At the same time, I think once we get past the initial wave here, it becomes everybody sort of expecting it, and it's second nature after that. But I think, again, as long as they do it the right way and it doesn't become a distraction for the rest of the team."

Did he tell you what they're going to do? -- "He did not. Just the fact that they're going to do something, and he was going to do something."

Locking arms, would you agree? -- "If they wanted to do something team-wide, I would definitely be for that. I think it just shows unity, and there's no division that way. I think it sends a great message that, from our standpoint and the National Football League, and the platform, and as individuals, we love this country and what it represents, and the flag and the national anthem and everything. Listen, we're not perfect. Obviously. And for us to stand united that way would be, I would be okay with that."

Has public perspective changed since the days you played? -- Since the days I played, yeah, I think it has. And I'm not going to get into a bunch of political rhetoric here, but at the same time, it definitely has changed, yes."

With McKelvin hurt, do you re-think the Eric Rowe trade?

"No, not at all. Not at all. You can't look back on prior decisions. Had Carson played bad last week, would be sitting here saying the same things? No. You're not going to second-guess. We're comfortable with the guys we have, I think we've got a great group of guys back there, and they'll get the job done."

Heard anything about Lane Johnson?

"I have not. I have not. You would think you'd have heard something by now, but it's just day to day, and I just go about our business and get ready to play."

Is it possible he could end up playing the whole season? -- "It's a possibility, obviously, but if it does happen down the road, it just pushes everything back. Me personally, I'd rather know now than later, but until then, he's the guy."

Is Allen Barbre still getting reps at left tackle? -- "We haven't for the last couple of weeks, just because we haven't heard. What we did in training camp, and the things he did for those couple of weeks, getting himself ready to play ... especially if something were to come down now, to move him over there with a week of preparation, he'd be okay."

Who would be at left guard if Lane gets suspended? -- "Right now, it looks like it would be Wiz going into that spot."

On Isaac Seumalo, who is still dealing with a pectoral injury

"He's still a little bothered by it. He's been full practice. He's actually looking really good, he's getting stronger with that injury, and right now with Wiz taking all the second-team reps, and being the guy that's up right now, it would be Wiz going into that spot."

On Monday Night Football

"I just love the atmosphere. I look back at my days as a player, and being on teams that have played on Monday Night Football, it's just that national spotlight, everybody's watching. You just got through all the Sunday games, and you're the one game on the docket that day. It sort of ends the weekend on a high note, and from a player standpoint, it's a great atmosphere. The crowd's energetic, the players are energetic, it's a little different, almost a playoff-type environment, and I've always loved that dynamic of Monday Night Football."

"It does mess up your next week, especially when you get back at 4:30 AM on Tuesday morning, it kind of cramps your preparation for Pittsburgh, but hey listen, it's part of the game, and I think it's great for the National Football League, great for players, and as coaches we just roll with it and go."

"Thursdays are harder because it's a shorter week. You love after Thursday, of course, the weekend, but yeah, I do love the Monday night atmosphere."

On playing at Soldier Field

"I did, in 1999."

What was it like, conditions-wise? -- "You never know. This time of year, the weather's usually pretty good. I remember from my days in Green Bay, when we played late in the season, you can get wind, rain, snow, the temperature drops. You can get fog, things like that. This time of the year, it's usually good. It can be cool, it might be on the cooler side, but temperatures are going to be nice and mild for us. The biggest thing, too, when you talk about Solider Field and their surface, their grass, things like that, it's just the way it is in the midwest. Lambeau Field was the same way. You just deal with it. I've prepped our guys this week about checking their cleats, making sure things are right going up there, and especially pre-game it'll be important to make sure they check out the field. But it's a great place, really a good place to play. There's some great history with Chicago, and the stadium."

On his approach to road games, especially MNF

"You just treat it like a business trip, and you do the same... one thing about the road, you kind of get on the airplane, and you're with the team, and you get to the hotel, and guys have a little bit of time to be with their family and friends, but it's all business. Those are the things where you just stay the course. It's just you and the guys, and that's all that's there. It's that family environment, from a team aspect. You just stay the course. You stay true to what you believe in. You've got your meetings the night before, and it's a long day, obviously, on Monday because of the Monday night game, but we'll continue with meetings and walk-throughs and things like that, just to get the guys thinking football."

On working with Carson Wentz on the silent count

"We worked that all week, in practice and preparation for the game. It's always something that, early in the week, you can have your issues. But as each day goes by, you get better and better with it, and especially the tackles and tight ends that really need to focus in on the football and then their man across from them. But yea, it's worked out really great this week. We've worked it not only from the shotgun but under center as well, just in case, and sometimes it's good, too, to work it at home, when your crowd is loud. It's a good thing to have in your pocket at anytime, that silent count, because we can still work all of our cadences. It doesn't always have to be a silent one. We can still work the tempos of the cadences well, even in silent."

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