The Philadelphia Eagles host the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, including their new head coach, Doug Pederson. He took some time to talk to Philly reporters on Wednesday about what he expects from the fans upon his return to The Linc, why he’s not surprised by the success Jalen Hurts is having this season, and how Nick Sirianni has the qualities to be a good head coach.
Here’s what the former Eagles head coach had to say:
On returning to Philly
Pederson said that he’s over how things ended with the Eagles, and that was two years ago and he’s just focused on getting his team prepared for the game.
“I’m personally looking forward to coming back to Philly. Obviously, got a lot of fond memories there and what we did in 2017 is something we’ll always remember.”
The head coach was also asked what kind of reception he’s expecting from Eagles fans.
“I remember back when I was with the Chiefs and Coach Reid, we came back and he got a standing ovation, so hopefully it’s in that realm, but look, it’s Philly, anything is possible with these fans. I’m just looking forward to running out of that tunnel with the Jaguars and then getting ready to play a game at one o’clock there.”
On Jalen Hurts
“Nothing surprises me with Jalen. Just knowing the type of person he is. When the Eagles drafted him back in 2020, everything that you’re seeing now is everything that we saw in him when we drafted him. Number one, he’s just a tremendous person, there’s stability around him now with coaches.”
Pederson went on to say that Hurts is playing really well and he’s really utilizing all the guys around him to win. He also mentioned that Hurts was the same way back in 2020 as far as the first one in and the last one out of the building and making the most of his time.
“He’s a sponge. He wants to learn. He wants to get better. He’s a professional and he takes it serious. Those are the things you want out of your quarterback, out of the leader of your team. So, no surprise that he’s still doing that.”
As for Hurts’ rookie season in 2020, Pederson talked about how he always did a developmental program on Wednesday and Friday after practice and the QB took full advantage of that — not just from the game planning and understanding the terminology, but also getting in reps with the players and throwing as many routes as he could. Pederson pointed to that being when he really started seeing Hurts’ work ethic.
“It just doesn’t surprise that this is how well he’s playing. He’s prepared himself for this — as I mentioned earlier, the stability around him and the success of that, helps. I just hope that we can do that with our guy, Trevor Lawrence, down in Jacksonville.”
On Nick Sirianni
“You’re seeing his leadership ability, he’s an offensive guy. He’s leading that team by example. He’s put himself in a position to be successful, just with the coaches around him — he leans on them, obviously, for help and support, and he’s a smart guy and he understands ball. He understands his team. And that’s the thing about, I think it’s a quality to be successful in this league as a head coach, is understanding your players, and he does that. And he connects with them on a personal level, which is really good.”
- Pederson talked about the similarities of starting with a new team in 2016 and now in 2022. He pulls a lot of messaging and learned a lot of lessons from his rookie year in 2016, and he’s got a really young team in Jacksonville and they’re eager to learn. It’s his job to pour the lessons he learned in those five years into his players now.
- The former Eagles head coach said that he did talk to some of the coaches on his staff that are familiar with Nick Sirianni to get into their mindset a little bit, but now it’s more about game planning. Pederson also noted that he didn’t personally reach out to Frank Reich about Sirianni, but said he wasn’t sure if any of his assistants did.
- Pederson said that taking a year off in 2021 was really good for him. It gave him time to be with family, and to get re-energized about the game and about coaching. He said one of the things he learned from his five years in Philly was to have a little more fun with everything they do and to not be so stressed out all the time.