We have finally reached Day 1 of the Eagles’ OTAs and head coach Doug Pederson spoke to the media about Carson Wentz’s status, why he’s not concerned about Malcolm Jenkins, and how a lot of young talent has the opportunity to compete this spring.
Here’s what Pederson had to say:
Carson Wentz’s will be a full participant
Right out of the gate, Pederson confirmed the report that quarterback Carson Wentz has no limitations on him and he’ll be on the field for all drills during OTAs. He also mentioned that he will not personally hold him back at all as a precaution.
He said that OTAs are important, but at the same time it’s not training camp yet, and this is time for Carson to get on the same page with all the new players and rookies. Pederson said it’s important for Wentz to be out on the field, because they are starting to work through some thing schematically and it’s important he’s out there working with the guys.
Pederson was asked about Wentz’s comments in April about the bone in his back not being fully healed, but the head coach noted there were no limitations on him and that he’s ready to go. Of course, they’ll continue to monitor him, but they do that for all players coming off an injury.
Malcolm Jenkins and his absence
Pederson stressed that OTAs are a voluntary program and he wouldn’t get into any kind of personal conversations they’ve had.
“Malcolm is one of those guys, leader of the football team. And, I’m not concerned with him, and we’re going to keep our focus on the guys who are here and get better today.”
He went on to say that Jenkins’ status in terms of where he’s at physically is something that is among the private conversations with the training staff and player, but that ultimately, these guys are professionals. Pederson said that these guys know their bodies and know that when they are at the facility, they are ready to play.
“He’s a guy I don’t have any concerns or worries about.”
On the rest of the secondary depth
Pederson was also asked about his concern about the depth with Rodney McLeod coming back from injury and Jenkins absent, but the head coach emphasized that this is OTAs and not Week 1, so he’s not concerned about that right now.
He said their focus is getting Rodney healthy and ready and back on the field, and that it’s a great opportunity for the other guys on the roster.
Regarding Ronald Darby, Pederson said Darby knows how important this spring is in regards to his development, and that’s what he’ll do.
Sidney Jones is full go.
On managing offensive playmakers
Pederson said that managing so many different playmakers is something they will work through, especially in the next few weeks. He said this is the time of year that they can experiment with the personnel they have, and they have plenty of time to improve and work on the scheme.
He said he’s really looking forward to working with the new additions.
On DeSean Jackson specifically, Pederson noted that the wide receiver has been at the facility and training ever since he was traded. The head coach said that him being in Philly and working with Carson is one of the things he’s really excited about, and he can’t wait to get him on the field and start working with him.
Pederson is also looking forward to seeing where Jackson is in terms of picking up the offense and how far he’s come in Phase 1 and 2 of the offseason so far.
He also talked a bit about the hierarchy of the QB position, especially with the addition of Cody Kessler, and noted that there’s competition among all position groups. Pederson noted that Cody’s advantage is he has in-game experience in the league, but his biggest challenge now will be learning the playbook.
Pederson said that Malik Jackson has been a great addition already and has been great working with that defensive group. He’s one of the new additions he’s excited to see in OTAs and in training camp, and that he’s a bright spot and is excited to be in Philly.
The head coach was also asked about the reports that Joe Douglas might be someone tapped to fill the Jets’ GM vacancy. Pederson noted that their relationship has been great and that Joe is a big part of their scouting process.
Pederson confirmed that they are cross-training Jordan Mailata at left and right tackle, and he’s been working a bit at right tackle in Phase 2 this offseason.
Pederson named Brandon Brooks, Fletcher Cox, and Nigel Bradham among players who will miss practice time in OTAs due to injury. Mack Hollins is also still “continuing to rehab” after missing all of the 2018 season.
Chris Long’s retirement
Pederson wouldn’t go into detail about their private conversations regarding the type of role Long wanted and why he wouldn’t get it this season, but the head coach went on to talk about how important he was on and off the field for the team the past few seasons.