We are officially into Week 3 of OTAs, and just a week away from mandatory minicamp, and the Eagles are already in a pretty good spot having Carson Wentz back on the field in full capacity.
Jim Schwartz and Mike Groh spoke last week about some of the young talent they are excited about, and head coach Doug Pederson spoke to the media for the second time on Monday before the team started practice.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On OTA standouts
Pederson was asked who has stood out thus far and the head coach was quick to name six players:
- Offense: Nelson Agholor, Dallas Goedert (has really improved), and Carson Wentz.
- Defense: Avonte Maddox (has picked up where he left off), Sidney Jones (is playing really well with the absense of Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby), and Rasul Douglas (has had a really good spring).
All of these guys, Pederson noted, are young guys who have benefited from playing regular season and some postseason games.
Pederson was also asked how they fill a Darren Sproles-type role with the running back still not having addressed his future, and the head coach mentioned Boston Scott as a guy who can step into that kind of position with his body-type and quickness. He continued to say that they are working with Scott in a couple different situations as a runner and punt returner to get a sense of him and what he can do.
On Carson Wentz and the receivers
The head coach was asked what he’s seen from Carson Wentz already this offseason, and Pederson noted that the quarterback is strong, and that his lower body is strong, and his arm is strong — all things they saw a couple years ago when he was healthy. He’s also back in control of the team, and he’s doing a nice job as a leader.
Pederson also noted that Wentz has been doing a lot to get on the same page as DeSean Jackson and develop a good rapport, something he’s also seen with Nelson Agholor. The head coach also noted that Agholor has had a really good offseason so far.
He talked a bit about how they were cautious with Wentz early on to make sure he was progressing as he should be and not to force any kind of setback, but they’ve increased his load and the QB has handled it well.
Pederson also elaborated on Wentz developing chemistry with the receivers who are in the building — noting some have yet to report. He talked about establishing that relationship with DeSean early in the offseason was important, and then JJ Arcega-Whiteside was drafted, and those are connections that will continue to get stronger.
He elaborated later on about JJAW, saying that he’s got deceiving speed and that he’s big and physical at the top of routes, has a really good quick step at the line, and has been impressive. Pederson did note that he’s still learning, learning how to run routes and working on timing with the quarterbacks, but he’s having a really good spring.
The head coach noted that Wentz having conversations with those guys after plays, and understanding what he saw and what they saw to really work out some of those finer details and get on the same page.
On missing players
Pederson was asked if he expected guys like Malcolm Jenkins or Alshon Jeffery back in the building this week or next, and the head coach said that they are still in the voluntary phase of the offseason. But he fully expects everyone will be in attendance next week.
He later said that he wasn’t concerned with the players who aren’t in attendance, even those who are leaders, especially due to the nature of the guys who have shown up and their experience level being enough to make up for it. The head coach also said that it’s good for the young guys to get extra touches with some of the veterans not participating.
Pederson said next week is a little different, with it being the only mandatory portion of their offseason program, but the guys who are on the field now are working really hard.
Pederson was asked out of the gate about Mack Hollins, the head coach said he’s continuing his rehab and is progressing. He didn’t want to get into specifics, but did confirm that it’s still the same groin injury he suffered last season that he’s working back from. Hollins hasn’t suffered any setbacks, and Pederson said he’s “optimistic” the receiver will be back on the field for training camp in July.
Pederson confirmed that he’s going to hold out Miles Sanders again, at least for today. The head coach said he just wants to be careful with the rookie running back, but he’s engaged in meetings and in watching practice for now.
Pederson was asked about Josh Adams, and — after checking with Eagles PR what was already known about the running back — confirmed that it’s the shoulder and he’s another guy who is progressing and they are being cautious to avoid any setbacks.
He also talked in general about trying to be a bit more proactive with stretching and emphasizing core exercises to avoid some soft tissue injuries they’ve been plagued with in recent years. Pederson said he’s given the strength and conditioning staff a little more time to be ahead of the curve and proactive.