Doug Pederson isn’t slated to talk at the Senior Bowl this week, even though he’s down in Mobile, Al., with the rest of the Eagles’ scouts and talent evaluators. But he *did* sit down with Sirius XM’s Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan to talk a little about the Senior Bowl, and a little bit about his first year as the Eagles’ head coach.
Here are Fearless Doug’s full comments from the (pretty favorable) interview:
What do you want to get out of your days down here?
The first thing is you’ve got to, obviously, still want to be playing some football, like New England and Atlanta are doing. But at the same time it gives us a nice little look at this year’s talent pool, and it gives us a chance to come down and evaluate with our scouts, with our coordinators, and really put our eyes on these kids for the first time. It’s a great process. I enjoy coming down here and seeing not only coaches and personnel from around the league, but getting to know these players, too.
Carson was great last year. How much did you look at the Senior Bowl tape when evaluating him?
It was big. It was big, because we were definitely in the market for a quarterback last year, and one thing that sort of stood out to us as coaches, coming down here, and the personnel department, was his energy. His enthusiasm. His ability to lead and get the guys around him to play. That was something that sort of enticed us to him, and then just getting to know him through the whole process of the spring, through the Combine, and then through workouts, and having a chance to speak to him, it just solidified our decision in the Draft.
How do you feel about going into 2017, and how many 2016 guys will be coming with you?
Well, I think it’s important to keep your core guys on your roster. That was part of the success we had in Green Bay years ago under Mike Holmgren, was keeping those guys. I know times have changed, but keeping your core guys intact, and obviously your coaching staff as well. In year two, like I’ve told several coaches down here already who’ve asked me about year one, is we’re going to look at our players this spring. We’re not going to look at Kansas City, or San Diego where Frank Reich was at. We’re looking at the Philadelphia Eagles and evaluating our personnel that way, and evaluating our schemes to make sure they’re right. So going into year two is obviously a big year for us, and myself, and that’s why we’re down here scouting these players.
How did things look from your end after evaluating your year one?
The biggest thing is just dealing with personalities on your roster, and that includes your coaching staff, and trying to get everybody on the same page, and getting them to buy in to what you’re teaching, and your philosophies. That was something where I give a lot of credit to the players and the assistant coaches for how we played down the stretch. I know the record doesn’t imply that, but the guys stayed true to the process, they stayed competitive at practice, and competed on game days. And just looking at myself, from day one to today, just understanding how to manage a football game, from play calling offensively to then switching over on defense, to a special teams play, to, ‘Oh, is this a challenge play?’ Just managing all that, as the year went on, those were things I evaluated and obviously can get better at going into year two.
Do you ever worry about guys training the wrong ways in the offseason?
That’s a concern, obviously. You want your guys to always develop their craft and get better at what they do, and there’s a lot of places where players can go to do that. And you’re right, I want to make sure what they’re being taught are the things we’re teaching, and the things we believe in as a staff. But at the same time, if a guy like Carson Wentz can rally up seven, eight, nine of our skill guys and get together this spring somewhere and throw and do things on their now, I’m all for that, too. You’re seeing more of that around the league, these top quarterbacks grabbing their guys later on in the spring, March and April, before OTAs begin, and just knocking some things out. Blowing the dust off, I guess, and getting into football mode again.