On Tuesday, Doug Pederson talked to the media about moving on from the Super Bowl honeymoon. On Wednesday, he spoke about the offensive line rotation and roster depth with Jason Peters back in the mix.
On Thursday, the final day of the Eagles’ mandatory minicamp, the head coach talked about the ring ceremony later in the day as well as some final observations from the spring, as the team now sets their focus on training camp.
On quarterback reps
Pederson has talked at length about the relationship between Nick Foles and Carson Wentz, and how they are trying to get both of them prepared to play Week 1 — especially given the uncertainty of Wentz’s return timetable.
On Thursday, the head coach noted that the two could end up splitting reps in training camp in order to build a rapport with some of the newer receivers — like Mike Wallace. Pederson mentioned the possibility of using a similar rotation from his first training camp as head coach, which would give both guys an opportunity with the first team.
The Eagles are in a good situation with two starting-caliber QBs, and it’s even better than their rapport creates an “iron sharpens iron” situation rather than a toxic one. As of now, Pederson is planning on Foles to get the start on Week 1, but it wouldn’t be entirely surprising for Wentz to be ready to take the reigns and get the nod.
Either way, having both take reps with the first team would be advantageous. One of the two will 100% be starting against Atlanta in September, and whoever that player is will need to be ready.
On injuries and return timetables
This Eagles’ coaching and medical staffs aren’t taking any chances with any of the injured players getting back on the field, and whether it’s Carson Wentz or Alshon Jeffrey, the plan to take things slow is the same for everyone. The goal is to make sure they are 100% before the put them back out there, with Pederson emphasizing he doesn’t want to take any risks that way.
He did mention that Jeffrey is still progressing, and “he’s doing nice with his rehab; getting stronger everyday.” Pederson also noted that the next five weeks leading up to training camp will be critical for the injured players’ rehab, to try and get them somewhat comfortable being back in the thick of things once camp gets underway.
Pederson has maintained his stance on injuries throughout his tenure so far in Philly, avoiding any answers that he thinks are better coming from a medical professional — like, about where they expect Wentz to be in his return five weeks from now —, and just focusing on the things he can control and making sure they take things slow and don’t rush the guys to get back out there before they are ready.
On how different this offseason has been
Coming off the organization’s first-ever Super Bowl win, this offseason was bound to be a little different from those past. Pederson is excited to continue the celebration a little longer with tonight’s ring ceremony, and looks forward to seeing the guys from that team who are no longer suiting up for the Eagles.
“It’s different from the standpoint, obviously you’re coming off a long season, a championship season,” Pederson remarked. But he did laud his players for handling the situation really well, and their commitment to the offseason program since then.
The head coach was encouraged that every single player participated at some point during OTAs and minicamp, and thinks the players understand how to separate the celebrations of last season from the preparation needed to do it again in 2018-19.
“Any of our veteran players could have said ‘I dont need to be there in the offseason',” Pederson acknowledged. But the fact that players like Malcolm Jenkins still showed up, is a credit to “him and his devotion to the team and organization, and his willingness and want to win”.
Pederson’s goal heading into the offseason was to really focus on evaluating some of the younger talent on the roster, including some of the incoming draft picks. “These guys have really embraced what we’re teaching, what we’re coaching,” he mentioned.
Some names he did note as having stood out this spring were Rashard Davis, Greg Ward Jr., Shelton Gibson, Rasul Douglas, and rookie TE Dallas Goedart.
On Jerome Reid’s hiring
Given some of the significant injuries to valuable players this offseason, Pederson was asked how the new trainer would get acclimated to helping their rehab. The head coach noted that moreso than what those players would be doing in the weight room, he was more concerned with them establishing a good relationship and rapport, which should evolve into trusting the rehab process as well.
“Myself and Howie, Joe Douglas, we all have to be tied into injury reports and the medical team — which was part of the conversation he had with Jerome when bringing him into the locker room,” Pederson said.
The head coach expected to communicate with Reid on a daily basis, and hopes that the new hire understands that nothing is too small to bring up. Pederson has confidence in the new dynamic, though, “ it’ll be a really good dynamic moving forward”.