The Eagles are just days away from their season opener against Washington and head coach Doug Pederson gave some injury updates on Wednesday ahead of practice. He also spoke about some of the new game day operations, including pumping in crowd noise, and preparing for a team with so many new faces.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
Pederson said that Lane Johnson is going to get some individual work on Wednesday, and they’ll have to see closer to Sunday if he — and the other guys who are day-to-day — is ready to go. They’ll have to just make sure some of the younger guys are ready in case Johnson isn’t able to suit up for the season opener. The head coach also noted that having that depth is part of the reason they look for versatile players who can play on both sides of the line.
Similar situation with Miles Sanders, with the coaches keeping an eye on him these next few days. Pederson did, however, talk about whether they’d have to manage his workload as they get him back on the field. He said it was a possibility they might have to look at that, but they just want to get through this week and see where he’s at on Sunday.
On game day operations
Pederson was asked how they were going to handle the sideline communications with several new assistant coaches and the COVID restrictions.
“Like any season, I have communications with my coaches, I lay out their job descriptions — not only from a game-planning standpoint, but also on game day, and walk through who the guys are going to be on the sideline, who the guys are going to be in the box, and their responsibilities there.
Obviously, with COVID, and the new protocols and things, there are some limitations to who’s upstairs and who’s downstairs, but I’ve had all that covered throughout training camp.”
The head coach was also asked about pumping in crowd noise, and how that was going to work. Pederson mentioned that the crowd noise audio was one of the reasons they held their scrimmage at The Linc, so they could get a sense of what that will be like. He said that the volume wasn’t too loud that he couldn’t hear communications — and they might actually have to do more non-verbal communication because of the lack of noise.
(Bleeding Green Nation was at the scrimmage, and BLG said it was like ambient noise at a bar on his newest show [at about 3:38 below] on SB Nation’s new podcast feed: The SB Nation NFL Show: For Fans, By Fans.)
On Washington prep
With so little to know about a team with new players and new coaches, Pederson said that the Eagles just have to make sure they’re prepared to execute in all three phases of the game. They do go back and watch film on individual players, even new ones to Washington, and re-scout Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio and see if there’s any cross-over.
“There is some unknowns with new coaching staff and new schemes, and this is where we have to trust what we do, and our skillset. Trust our players, and make those in-game adjustments as we go.”
Pederson is also excited to get the guys out on the field for the first time this year against an opponent, and really see what some of the new guys and young guys can do. Guys like Darius Slay and Nickell Robey-Coleman, he’s excited to see, and watch how they blend with the players who had been here. For the rookies, he’s hoping the moment isn’t too big for them, and they go out and perform.
On the offensive line
Pederson talked about Matt Pryor and said that being able to play in the playoff game has helped get the young player some experience. Pryor works well with Lane Johnson, and is a big, strong guy who he hopes really embraces this opportunity to be the guy at right guard.
The head coach also touted the benefits of having a guy like Jason Kelce as the anchor of the line.
“His availability to play year-in and year-out, and be a starter, it’s impeccable. We ask a lot of him, obviously with communication and what he sees defensively to make all the calls. So, having him anchor that offensive line goes a long way to the success of that group.”
- Pederson said that he feels good and none of his COVID symptoms have lingered since the initial 6 or 7 days. He’s looking forward to kicking off this season.
- The head coach also talked about his relationship with Ron Rivera, which goes back to Pederson’s time as a player in Philadelphia under Andy Reid and Rivera. He’s someone that Pederson looks to and studies to see how he’s approaching things as a head coach, and has a lot of respect for him and what he’s done in the NFL.
- He noted that DeSean Jackson has done an outstanding job for the team this offseason, not only on the field, but from a leadership role. Pederson said that Jackson knows where he is in his career, and is in a place where can take a mentor-like role with the young wide receivers.