The Eagles are getting back into the swing of things, with their second day practicing in pads — although, Pederson scaled things back to only shoulder pads on Wednesday. It was a red zone-heavy practice, and while the on-field performance wasn’t super impressive, Pederson made note that it’s routine following the physical day they had yesterday.
Head coach Doug Pederson and QBs Carson Wentz and Nick Foles all spoke to the media following Wednesday’s practice, and here’s some of the highlights.
As always, the head coach’s time with the media opened with questions about Carson Wentz and the workload he’s taken on during training camp. After seeing him participate last week, he’s been limited since, but apparently that’s all according to plan.
Pederson noted that he was “very encouraged with where [Wentz]’s at” and that he felt comfortable enough with what he saw last week to scale back his participation in 11-on-11 drills. At this point, there’s no need to put Wentz in a compromising situation or somehow take him back a step or two in his recovery.
There’s still no timetable for when Wentz will be back to 100%, but as Pederson has said throughout the offseason, the plan right now is a collaboration between himself, the QB and the team’s medical staff.
(I very much enjoy watching Pederson try to stay calm while answering the same question 10 ways. He went on to repeat “that’s the plan” a few times before switching topics.)
On some of the offense
Pederson was asked if he thinks that this year’s group of receivers is the deepest he’s ever coached. He took a pause, but replied, “I think so”. He noted that they still need to get Alshon Jeffrey and Bryce Treggs back out on the field, but on paper it’s a really strong group.
“In my 3 years is the deepest at that position we’ve been,” Pederson claimed.
He was also asked about RB Jay Ajayi and how he’s embracing having the offseason with the team. Pederson was noticeably impressed with how the rusher has committed to this offseason program, and even said Ajayi could be a 3-down back if they let him.
The RB has been working on his route-running from the backfield, and on working with his hands and catching the ball, but Pederson said they are giving him everything in the playbook this time and he’s really embraced the additional responsibility.
On what he’s liked so far this training camp
“I like the attitude of the football team,” Pederson said. “They’ve attacked every single day.” Furthermore, the players aren’t lingering around, but rather embracing training camp and are hungry to build off what they did last season.
He also said they are still showing up with a chip on their shoulder, which is sure to help fend off any sort of complacency.
On injury updates
Shelton Gibson is in the concussion protocol with a head injury. He’s day-by-day.
Matt Jones has a lower body injury from yesterday during the live period. Pederson expects him back tomorrow — or at least soon.
(Click here to watch Pederson’s press conference or watch below.)
Doug Pederson speaking after Eagles practicePosted by Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans on Wednesday, August 1, 2018
Jumping right where Pederson left off, Wentz was asked whether it was always part of the plan for him to scale back his work with 11-on-11’s and whether he agrees with it. Wentz noted that, “obviously as a competitor you want to be out there” but that he ultimately trusts the coaches, training and medical staff to do what’s best.
He did say he “felt great” physically — not necessarily with his or the team’s actual performance thus far during camp. Wentz also didn’t think that being held out of the 11-on-11 drills would put him behind in anyway.
It seemed like reporters were looking to pinpoint him no longer participating in certain drills to the work he did on Saturday, which included defenders being at his feet, but it doesn’t seem like that had much to do with it. Seeing players that close to the QB’s knees could have given the coaches cause for a second look, but Wentz figures they just want to keep him in as much of a controlled environment as possible.
(Click here to watch Wentz’s press conference or watch below.)
Eagles QB Carson WentzPosted by Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans on Wednesday, August 1, 2018
The Super Bowl MVP didn’t talk too much about splitting his reps with Wentz, and whether it’s with the first team, second, or third, “the more reps you get, the better”. Foles continued that regardless of the outcome of the training camp reps, good or bad, it’s all a learning experience.
He was asked about whether or not he’s consulted about Wentz’s workload and practice plan, but Foles was quick to shift those questions back to Pederson and the red-headed QB, rather than answer on their behalf.
As he has so many times before, Foles also continued to state that he’s there to do whatever it is he’s asked to, and he’s happy with that. Sure, the competitive spirit to be the starting QB doesn’t go away, but ultimately he enjoys playing with this group of guys and the relationships he’s built helped develop his attitude toward being a back-up.
On the tight ends
Someone getting a lot of attention this offseason is incoming rookie tight end Dallas Goedert. Foles contends he’s, “really coming along as a rookie,” and has a really good tight end to learn from in Zach Ertz.
Having big bodied guys down field, who can both block and run routes, has opened up the offense to a lot of different schemes and opportunities. Specifically, Foles talked about the benefit of having those guys once they get into the red zone — a place where the stats were much improved in 2018 than in like the decade prior.
Foles was asked if Ertz is taking on a bigger leadership role now that Brent Celek isn’t in the locker room, but the QB said he had always been a leader. Celek was the older guy in the tight end room for years, but Ertz still acted as a leader in his own right.
On the offensive line
Foles did not mince words in touting the entire Eagles’ offensive line as the reason Philly’s offense has been successful. Like many before him, Foles contends the OL group doesn’t get the kind of attention and praise that they should, but the current roster is filled with future Hall of Famers.
Specifically, he mentioned how close the OL room is, and despite a wide variety of personalities, they all mesh really well. Foles gives a lot of credit for that relationship among the men to Coach Stoutland, who the QB calls “amazing” and “a special coach to play for”.
While he didn’t have any funny stories about Stoutland’s (increasingly) famous memory, Foles did pinpoint the OL coach’s evolution since his time under Chip Kelly. The QB talked about how Stoutland has grown a ton since then, especially with regard to how he coaches a guy and you can tell the different with how the lineman respond to him.
On his Hall of Fame display
When asked why he chose to send his cleats and jersey to Canton for display, the QB was quick to point out, “I’m gonna get ‘em back” for his children.
(Click here to watch Foles’ press conference or watch below.)
SUPER BOWL MVP NICK FOLESPosted by Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans on Wednesday, August 1, 2018