The Eagles head coach is just days away from having Carson Wentz back as the starting quarterback for the team, but while he’s getting Wentz prepared, there are still a lot of question marks about which receivers and running backs will be available on Sunday.
Doug Pederson took some time to talk to reporters ahead of Friday’s practice, and talked Frank Reich and where players are in their injury rehab.
Here’s what he had to say:
On the Eagles offense
Pederson said the quarterback is looking good and sharp, both mentally and physically. He noted that he’s throwing the ball strong and has carried his work ethic from the offseason into this week.
He admitted that Wentz was excited to get back to reps with the first team, and start leading the huddle again. Pederson pointed out that he’s working back into communicating with his receivers and other offensive weapons in practice and in preparation for Sunday.
With the injuries to the running back room, Pederson was asked about utilizing Corey Clement in both offense and special teams packages. The head coach admitted you have to be careful overloading him, especially because he is an important factor in both positions. He said there is a balance there.
Pederson also talked a bit about what he’s seen so far from Jordan Matthews. He said obviously the first is how quickly he picked up the new terminology they are using, but that his familiarity with the players, the quarterback and the team overall has really helped ease him in quickly. He also lauded Matthews’ intelligence, leadership skills and route-running, while saying that he’s earned a chance “to possibly play”. (Key word there: possibly.)
On Colts prep
The head coach noted that you can definitely see Frank Reich’s influence over in Indianapolis, he said the guys are flying around, they are super aggressive and that the front four guys are super fast.
He said that even though they are relatively young on the defensive side of the ball, they play hard and shut down a pretty good Washington team last week.
Pederson said that not a lot has changed in regards to his communication with his offensive coordinator, and talked about how Mike Groh has stepped into the role left by Frank Reich last season. He said having someone in his ear helps expedite the process.
On NFL teams using ‘Philly Special’
Pederson isn’t trying to have all the fun, and said the “Philly Special” is a fun football play and he was excited to see it used by the Browns on Thursday and other teams throughout the beginning weeks of the season.
He said it’s great to see plays like that being used. Pederson continued to talk about how long that play has been used in all phases of football, including in high school football.
On injuries and updates
- Jay Ajayi is day-to-day, but they were going to see how he did in practice on Friday before making any decisions about whether he’ll play on Sunday.
- Darren Sproles is another one that will be a decision later on after practice.
- Jason Peters has been limited but has been practicing well. Pederson said he’ll get a full workup on Friday and they’ll wait to see if he can go on Sunday. The head coach said Big V will be ready to come in as needed, and his ability to do that over the past couple years is one of the things Pederson respects about him the most.
- Alshon Jeffery still isn’t cleared, but is able to participate on a limited basis. He’s another guy who they check-in on daily.