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Doug Pederson talks confidence level in Carson Wentz and more

Plus, the Eagles’ head coach talks COVID travel.

Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson spoke to reporters on Wednesday ahead of practice, and talked about the team’s first cross-country travel amid the pandemic, his confidence level in Carson Wentz and other offensive positions, and his messaging to the team.

Here’s what the head coach had to say:

On Jalen Reagor

Pederson was asked why they didn’t put Reagor on IR last week — making him available sooner, but also freeing up a roster spot. He explained with the new rules, there’s so much more flexibility each week, there was no urgency to make that decision. Plus, they already had the players that they could activate to fill that role.

Other injury updates

  • DeSean Jackson will NOT practice on Wednesday, and is still day-to-day with his injury.
  • Alshon Jeffery will continue to get practice time, and they are working to increase his load as he gets closer to returning to the field.

On COVID precautions for travel to San Francisco

Pederson noted that he needs to continue to over-communicate the protocols they have in place, and he knows that they can’t slip up or ease up even a little. As far as the travel, he said that they’re bottling up their little bubble, putting it on a plane, and taking it across the country.

The head coach also pointed out that it’s about ownership from every single person who travels with the team. And, they know once they get there, everyone on the sideline will need to be wearing a mask.

“Our guys have done a great job with the protocols that the league and the players association have negotiated, and we just have to do our due diligence as we travel across the country this weekend.”

On Carson Wentz

“I think there’s a couple things. The passing game is a lot of timing, right? A lot of timing, decision-making, and accuracy. Things we talk about with the quarterbacks, and things we also talk about with the receivers.

When things are open down the field and all eyes are on that receiver and we think he’s open, you have to put your eyes in the pocket. Did Carson move? Did the protection break down? Something of that nature could take him off of that particular play, and he either has to go somewhere, or you end up getting sacked or incomplete pass.

There’s things like that, that have come up with some of those plays, and then — honestly, Carson would agree — there’s times he needs to make the play. He just needs to complete the ball, throw the ball, and we need to make those plays.”

Pederson later said that his confidence level in Carson Wentz is extremely high, and it hasn’t changed. He knows who Wentz is, and the type of worker and player he is, and how he prepares each week. The head coach emphasized that they want to put the ball in Wentz’s hands, and they have great opportunities when he has the ball.

He understands that fan’s confidence in the quarterback may have decreased, but his and the team’s confidence in Wentz has been unchanged.

On Richard Rodgers

Pederson was asked about their confidence level in 12-personnel and their 2-TE looks without Dallas Goedert. He didn’t hesitate to say that he has a lot of confidence in Richard Rodgers.

“This guys a veteran player. He’s smart, and he’s played a lot of football.”

The head coach went on to point out that Rodgers is a good fit and was a great No. 3 for them. But, now that he’s been elevated, it gives them a little more thump at the line of scrimmage in blocking situations, he’s a good short to intermediate route runner, and he’s got really strong hands to catch the football.

On motivating his team

The head coach said that it’s early in the season to be motivating the players, and they should be motivating themselves, as well.

“I think a lot about how I message and my message to the team, and what that message looks like to them, and how it’s going to be perceived by them.

I think, for me as the head coach, I think you gotta show the good, the bad, and the ugly, but at the same time, you gotta keep your goals right in front of the team. You gotta keep the reality of, ‘Okay, this is where we are, and this is who we are,” but at the same time we’re close. And we’re not far away. So, all that messaging, for me, is something I spend quite a bit of time thinking about as I approach team meetings with the guys.”

Other notables

  • Pederson was asked why they aren’t able to do much with the screen game — something they’ve had success with in the past. He noted that it comes down to timing, and there are some intricacies with the offensive line, but it’s something they know they have to work on and can be a useful tool for them.
  • He talked about how the guys really settled in this past weekend along the offensive line, so there’s no need to shift too many things around. Matt Pryor will stay at right guard, Nate Herbig at left guard, and Jamon Brown will get more reps to get him caught up in the offense — but right now they don’t feel a need to make changes.
  • The head coach also noted that Kyle Shanahan’s offense in San Francisco is similar to the Eagles in that they give their quarterbacks a lot of flexibility, and they get the offense in and out of a lot of situations. Pederson admitted that every team looks at the top offense’s in the league and sees if there are things they can apply to their own systems.

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