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Doug Pederson talks Eagles spring practice standouts, his message to the team, and more

The Eagles finished up their last practice of minicamp and now get some time to rest before they hit the ground running.

The Eagles held a super short final practice in mandatory minicamp on Thursday and head coach Doug Pederson spoke to reports for the last time before the team comes back in about 6 weeks for training camp.

Here’s what he had to say:

On his message to the team

Earlier in the week, Pederson had mentioned that he was happy to have everyone in attendance to be able to deliver his offseason message and let them think about it over the offseason.

So, what was that message? Pederson explained today:

“No. 1 is, I appreciate — and I told them this just a second ago — that I appreciate all the hard work. This week everybody was here, the entire offseason that the guys were here, that I appreciate their effort, hard work, attention to detail.

And then secondly, I basically just said, ‘Hey, enjoy the next 5.5 weeks’. Spend time away from football, with your family, spend time with them and friends.

And then the third, and probably the most important thing, is get your mind ready to go. Get your mind right these next couple of weeks, and that’s not just players, I was talking to myself, coaching staff, everybody. Because when we come back in July, we hit the ground running and are ready to go.”

The slogan on the team’s t-shirts this year says “Everything matters” and Pederson was asked the significance of that. He noted that everything and anything we do in life matters, and there’s always consequences to choices made, and he feels like as a football team — including everyone in the organization — what they do matters as far as winning goes.

The head coach said that it’s something he’s going to keep emphasizing throughout the year, noting that if they jump offsides in practice, they’re probably going to jump offsides during a game, and if they don’t do the little things right in practice they won’t do them in a game.

He said this is a good time to clean the slate and learn from mistakes and successes from last year, and improve.

On Miles Sanders’ role

Pederson was asked if the plan is to have the rookie running back in a significant role right from the beginning. He said it’s hard heading into this break before camp, but that he fully expects Sanders to show up healthy and ready to go when they come back in July.

When they do get back from break, Pederson said they definitely have to get him in the mix early and see where he’s at, and slowly work him in and see how he can help on game day.

On Carson Wentz

The head coach was asked if Wentz’s back is fully healed, and Pederson said that to the best of his knowledge yes. The quarterback hasn’t had any limitations all spring, and they’ve monitored him and he looks good.

Pederson also said that Wentz was a little more relaxed going through the spring, having some new weapons around him and being around the team and showing his leadership was a good thing. He’s excited for what Wentz will do when they get back in July, and knows that the QB will continue to work over the next few weeks and show up prepared and ready to go.

Pederson said that, as with any team, the healthier you can go into training camp is a positive, but just looking back at the offseason after Wentz’s rookie season shows the potential for when he’s healthy and able to get a full offseason of work in.

The coach was also asked about the quick connection that has developed between Wentz and DeSean Jackson, but Pederson said he wasn’t surprised by it. He noted that it’s two veteran players, and it’s a compliment to DeSean for spending the offseason in Philly and at the facility and getting to know the QB personally and on the field. He also credited the two with putting in extra work and running extra drills to get on the same page.

On offseason standouts

Pederson was asked if anyone has surprised him this spring, and he acknowledged there were several guys, but didn’t want to single out just one or two.

“But, I can say this. I’ve been impressed with the way Dallas [Goedert] came back and approached the offseason, the way Avonte Maddox came back and approached the offseason. I think Josh Sweat is in a great place right now.

Even some of the injured guys: Derek Barnett the way he’s worked, [Ronald] Darby the way he’s worked, Rodney [McLeod]. These guys have all, Carson, these guys have all come back with an eagerness, Zach Ertz — I mean, this guy is a pros pro the way he attacks just the offseason, it’s like Week 9 for him. When I say everything matters, with Zach Ertz, that’s what I’m talking about, everything matters with him.

There’s several others, but just to name a few.”

And while some players are standing out, Pederson did note that there hasn’t really been a young guy yet to step up into a leadership role. But, he pointed out that they are still kind of finding their way with the playbook, but he does expect some of them take on a leadership role once they get back for training camp.