The Eagles are halfway through their mandatory minicamp and head coach Doug Pederson spoke to the media just before the team took the field on Wednesday.
On veteran leadership
During Tuesday’s practice, Jason Peters would frequently go up to rookie Andre Dillard in between plays to give him some pointers, and Pederson said that he encourages the veterans on the team to help develop the younger guys, especially during training camp. But right now, Pederson said this is a good opportunity for Dillard to watch Peters and see how he moves and operates.
Pederson was asked about Malcolm Jenkins wanting a new contract and whether he thinks that will carry over into his performance on the field. The head coach didn’t think that was something to worry about.
“Malcolm is a pro, and obviously this is not my area with contracts, but I have no issues with Malcolm from a standpoint of being a leader on this team.”
On the team’s energy
Pederson was asked about several guys saying they have a chip on their shoulder this offseason, especially with how they got knocked out of the playoffs, and whether he’s seen a difference in their energy on the field. He agreed that many were disappointed with how last season ended and felt like they were catching their stride again late in the year.
Pederson said his message to the team back in January was that they have to remember these times and let them make them stronger in the future. He said they still want to take things one game at a time, because it is a long season, but he has seen a bit of extra motivation from the guys this spring.
Additionally, he sees them having more energy with a longer offseason to get their bodies back in shape and healthy.
On some of the younger receivers
Pederson talked a bit about receivers Greg Ward and Marken Michel.
He noted that Ward has been around the team and knows the offense, and coming off his AAF stint, came back to Philly really eager and really ready to go to work. Ward is also a little bigger and a little stronger than he was the first go-around, and he’s also a better route-runner with some additional experience under his belt.
Michel is a young, explosive player and they didn’t know much about him at the beginning, but they’ve been able to watch him more in the slot. He and Ward have both flashed this offseason so far and done a really good job.
Pederson said there’s a lot of competition right now, and that it’ll be an interesting camp when it comes down to having to make some of those decisions.
He was also asked about guys like Ward and Braxton Miller, who have quarterback experience and can throw the ball. Pederson said the spring is the time to play with some gadget plays and see who — throughout the roster — might be able to help in that regard. He said it does help to have that QB background, and if you get to the regular season and they are on the active roster, it also gives them an emergency quarterback should they need it.
Pederson opened with a question about what is keeping Nelson Agholor out right now, and the head coach noted it was a lower body injury and they were trying to let him rest as much as possible at this point, but he’ll be ready for training camp.
He noted that it was exciting to see Mack Hollins back and participating in drills, pointing out that he’s done a great job all offseason to get healthy. On why Hollins has had such a lengthy rehab, Pederson admitted he wasn’t quite sure but that everyone heals differently and timetables are different.
The head coach also said Ronald Darby has done a great job approaching his rehab this offseason, but again, every injury and recovery is different.
“He’s done a magnificent job this offseason. Staying here and working through his issues. It’s exciting to slowly start to see these guys creep back onto the field and start doing some work.”
Derek Barnett is another guy that Pederson said he’s optimistic will be ready to go in time for training camp, but he isn’t going to put a timetable on it and wants to make sure he’s 100% before they put him back out there.