Head coach Doug Pederson met the media on Friday morning at the NovaCare Complex as the Eagles started their 46-player, weekend-long Rookie Camp that includes eight draft picks, 11 undrafted rookies, and 20 tryout players, along with a small handful of first-year Eagles (linebacker Don Cherry, wide receiver Marcus Johnson). Pederson provided an update on a variety of topics. Here are some of the highlights of what he said.
- On his message to the players on Thursday night as they reported to the NovaCare Complex and had dinner at Lincoln Financial Field: "I played 14 years (in the NFL) and I was undrafted free agent. Stick to it. Work hard and show us what you can do here and great things are going to happen."
- On cornerback Sidney Jones and the second-round draft pick's progress from Achilles tendon surgery: "The medical staff is happy where he's at, but at the same time we're not putting any kind of timetable on him. We're going to do right by him and make sure that he's 100 percent before we stick him out there on the field."
- On injured veterans running back Ryan Mathews and Beau Allen and their recoveries: "Both of those guys are doing well. Again, no timetable on either one of them. We want to make sure that they're both 100 percent and fully operational before we stick them back out there. But both of them are doing well and are on schedule."
- On where first-round pick Derek Barnett will line up this season: "It's just a matter of getting him out there and seeing which side he is comfortable on. We want to work him on both sides of the defensive front, right and left, and right now it's just Rookie Camp so it's kind of hard until we get him in here with the veterans and really get him working with our guys, with the guys that we have. So, it's a matter of him just picking up the system right now. It's a long time before we play games and we've got some time to make those decisions."
- On the state of the running back position: "I'm pleased with the guys that we do have that we're working with currently. We're constantly looking and trying to bolster our roster at every position, running back included, but I'm excited with the guys that we have. Wendell (second-year back Smallwood) is coming off his injury and he's looking really good right now in the spring drills. We've got (Darren) Sproles. Byron Marshall is a guy we've been cross-training as a receiver and running back and he's been looking really good. Donnel (Pumphrey) is here and Corey (Clement) is here so we get a chance to work some guys in there. I'm pleased with where we're at, excited with where we're at and the direction we're headed at that position."
- On the progress he has seen from new wide receiver Alshon Jeffery: "Number one, his attitude, the way he's come in here and really just embraced it and done everything we've asked him to do. He's competed at a high level, and what I mean by that is, even though we're not competing against the defense (no 11-on-11 drills are permitted in Phase Two of the workouts), he's competing in his individual drills. He's wanting to get better. He taking the coaching from Coach (Mike, wide receivers coach) Groh, who he knows, and he's showing the veteran presence and experience out there on the field. He's exciting to watch, he's a big target and we've just to get he and Carson (Wentz) continuing to stay on the same page the whole offseason."
- On defensive end Brandon Graham and reported issues that Graham has with his contract: "I love Brandon and obviously he and I have a great relationship and as you guys know this is a voluntary offseason program so a lot of this is out of my hands. He's a guy who is valuable to the football team and I'm not worried about him at all. He and I have had conversation, as I do with a lot of the players, and the expectation is … we expect big things from him this season."
- On what he needs to see from CB Rasul Douglas for Douglas to have a chance to earn a starting role: "I think the biggest thing with him is picking up the terminology and the scheme. We know what he can do on the football field. He's long, he's aggressive. Great ball skills. We know that part about him. It's just a matter of transitioning over (from college) and understanding the terminology. Guys that come in like that, guys that you can plug in and get a lot of reps early, this is a beneficial camp for him. It's just him and the coaches for three days. It will be a great learning (experience) and a great learning process for him going forward."