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Doug Pederson says he’s “pleasantly surprised” by Jordan Howard, gives Eagles injury updates

The Eagles head coach has been impressed with some of the younger and newer talent on the roster.

The Eagles were back on the practice field on Monday after a day off, and head coach Doug Pederson had a lot to say about some of the newer and younger personnel, as well as some updates on injuries to Mack Hollins and Cre’Von LeBlanc.

Offense notes

On the Carson Wentz-DeSean Jackson connection

Pederson said it’s still a work in progress, but they did make some plays on Monday. He noted it’s great to see on the practice field, but that they also spend time after practice getting in some more work, and that’s what it takes to develop and establish the kind of chemistry and connection they are looking for.

The head coach also said he wasn’t surprised to see how fast DeSean Jackson still is, even as he gets older. Pederson credits that to the way Jackson trains in the offseason and his track experience that still works on his craft and speed. The wideout is a little bigger than the last time he was an Eagle, but he’s just a veteran player who knows what it takes to succeed.

Off the field, Pederson highlighted how the two are communicating during meetings and are talking concepts and routes, and share what each sees through their own perspective.

On Orlando Scandrick

Pederson talked about bringing in a league veteran into the nickel slot position, and how they are really familiar with him as a player having played against him so many times over the years when he was in Dallas.

“Veteran player. We’re always looking to add depth and competition. He brings value to us and we’re excited have him.”

On training camp standouts thus far

Pederson mentioned two guys who have worked extremely hard, going back to the beginning of the offseason: Greg Ward and Carlton Agudosi

Ward is a guy that they know, who has been with the team in the past, and did some nice things in the spring in the AAF league. So, he’s a guy who has matured and gotten stronger, and Pederson really likes where he’s at.

Agudosi is another big, tall, physical receiver who flashes from time to time. He’s also a guy — like Andre Dillard with Jason Peters — that can get into Alshon Jeffery’s ear a bit and get some insight into different routes and learn to keep your pad level down.

On Jordan Howard

“He’s quiet, but yet he’s a guy that asks a lot of questions on the field and in the meeting room. Takes it from the meeting room to the field. Been pleasantly surprised with him. Obviously what he put on tape prior to coming to us is exciting, and he’s fit really well.

We just have to keep him coming with pass protections and techniques, but again, he’s fit really good with what we’re doing offensively.”

Pederson later specified a bit about what surprised him most, and the head coach has been able to watch Howard’s vision and the way he can make a back-door cut, and the way he’s able to pad-level down and push a pile. Sometimes those things are hard to see on tape, but to sit back and watch him, he’s got a good feel for the running back spot.

On multiple tight end sets

Pederson was asked what the driving force was behind adding more tight end sets into the Eagles’ offense, and he mentioned that it’s all about striking a balance. He talked about the different options they have with have one tight end on the field with three receivers, or two tight ends, but that right now it’s about execution and finding plays that get different players on the field.

The head coach said that when they get into the regular season they’ll game plan each week a little bit more, and that they are looking to get Dallas Goedert some more playing opportunities this season.

In terms of choosing between Nelson Agholor and Dallas Goedert for some plays, Pederson emphasized that it’s all about who you want on the field and how to maximize some of the matchups. However they can create the matchup value will be what they do.

“But right now, it’s about getting everyone equal opportunity, especially with Carson.”

Eagles injury updates

Pederson noted that Mack Hollins didn’t suffer a setback, but that it was in fact a new lower-body injury. They’re just being cautious with him, but he did do some stuff today individually and continue to monitor it day-by-day.

On Cre’Von LeBlanc, the head coach noted that he’s more “week-to-week” with a little bit longer outlook. He’s another guy they are trying to be cautious with, and did confirm that LeBlanc is in a boot.

Other notables

Pederson said it was good to see Jason Peters take on a mentor role with rookie Andre Dillard, but that ultimately it isn’t JP’s job to coach him up. But anything Dillard can do to pick Peters’ brain and get insights is valuable.

It was pointed out that rookie running back Miles Sanders got a few more touches in Monday’s practice, and Pederson noted that he looks good and continues to improve.

The head coach also said rookie QB Clayton Thorson is improving every day and getting more comfortable as they continue.

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