A day before minicamp begins, the Eagles assistant coaches met with reporters at the NovaCare Complex to discuss the current roster.
Doug Pederson is excited. He wants to finish the spring with a flourish, to have a terrific three-day minicamp at the NovaCare Complex, to keep the Eagles healthy, and to look ahead to Training Camp knowing that his Eagles team is ready and raring to go.
"That's really my message to the team," Pederson said late on Monday afternoon following his meeting with the team. "We've had a great spring. I want to keep it going, keep the young guys pushing, and everyone improving every day. There is some good competition going on out there on the field."
Monday was a day during which the players did not practice. Instead, they had physicals and a team meeting and then turned their attention toward the camp ahead this week.
For Pederson, who has encouraged team building and on-field competition – "Iron sharpens iron," he has said many times – the next step is to see how the Eagles handle a longer day – more on that below – in the final three days of the spring.
After this week, it's time for the players and coaching staff to get away and relax before Training Camp begins in late July at the NovaCare Complex.
"I'm excited and I think everyone is," Pederson said. "We've had a good spring so far and I hope it continues through this week. We have a lot of work ahead of us. To me, this minicamp kind of kicks off the season, so I'm excited to get after it."
A couple of other items came up during the course of an interview, and Pederson discussed it all.
, who missed all of Organized Team Activities as his University of Washington class did not graduate until this past weekend: "It will be great to have him in the building and to work hands-on with him and get him in the meeting rooms and have him observe and soak up all the information." Pederson said that Jones "looks good and that part is exciting" and is minus the walking boot he wore during the team's Rookie Camp two weeks after the NFL Draft was held. There is no timetable, Pederson said, on Jones participating in practice.
Also present is sixth-round draft pick defensive tackle Elijah Qualls, also from the University of Washington. He will be on the field Tuesday for the first time since the Rookie Camp. "Elijah will jump right in there with the veterans and mix it up," Pederson said. "He will be part of the rotation and he will start competing along the defensive line."
Former Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin signed with Baltimore on Monday as an unrestricted free agent after being linked with the Eagles, who were reported to have interest. When asked early last week if the Eagles had interest, Pederson said, "Not at this time." However, Pederson reached out to Maclin on Saturday to feel around and gauge interest from Maclin's side.
"As I've said, we're always looking for talent and ways to upgrade this roster. At the time when I was asked that question, I had not talked to Jeremy, but when he was still available over the weekend, we got together as a staff and discussed it. I called him and spoke to him and had a good conversation just to see what he was thinking, where he was at," Pederson said. "He made the decision today to sign with Baltimore and we wish him the best of luck. We feel very good about what we have at wide receiver, but again we're always going to keep our eyes open for ways to improve our football team at any position."
And so it is here, the final week of the spring and the offseason conditioning program. The Eagles' coaching staff has three more days to take a look at the players, evaluate them, and then send them off for a vacation before Training Camp arrives and the pads go on and the tests become very real.