Philadelphia Eagles News

Quotes: Head Coach Doug Pederson

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Opening remarks:**

"Good afternoon. First of all, I just have a couple comments. I'd like to talk about free agency and what we've done over the past couple of days. First of all, I'd like to thank [Eagles Chairman and CEO] Jeffrey Lurie for obviously giving us the resources and the ability to do what we do. I'd also like to thank [Executive Vice President of Football Operations] Howie Roseman for the job he did with selecting and gathering the information on these players that we brought in. We're so excited. We added six great players to our roster. Guys that are going to help us, guys that are going to help us win a championship and guys that are going to help us moving forward. Leodis McKelvin, a cornerback, we're really excited about having him here. Rodney McLeod, a great player, safety, who has the opportunity to shore up that secondary here. Ron Brooks, another cornerback who really gives us some nice depth there in the secondary. We're really looking forward to working with these guys. Nigel Bradham, a linebacker, again, a guy that has some athletic ability and some special teams value. He's a good athlete at linebacker. We're really looking forward to having him and he's a great addition to our roster. Offensively, Chase Daniel, quarterback, who's coming in as a backup right now. He's coming in as the No. 2 [quarterback] and then [G] Brandon Brooks who will get in here. He's a big offensive lineman from Houston who is going to give us some great depth and some great exposure on the offensive line. Talking about the quarterback situation going forward, Sam Bradford is the No. 1 [quarterback], Chase Daniel is the No. 2 [quarterback] and we're working on the No. 3 [quarterback]. So I just want to put that out there right now going forward. We feel like – and I feel like as the head football coach of the Philadelphia Eagles – that we've really given ourselves a great opportunity at that position. It just goes without saying, being a former quarterback and a backup in this league, having two guys – we're always going out and we're always going to get the best players at every position. You see what we did right here in free agency these past couple of days. We went out and we found the best players. We signed our current guys and then we found guys that can be solid starters and/or backups on this roster. I'm excited about that and I'm looking forward to the opportunity of working with these guys. With that, I'll open it up to questions."

On whether he thought it was necessary to address the quarterback situation because of the media chatter concerning Bradford and Daniel:

"A little bit, but you know what? I also believe that – and I've said this all along – with Sam Bradford, with the opportunity that he has in front of him, what he did last year and where he is currently on our roster as the No. 1, I felt like that was the best [move] going forward by saying that. It eliminates any distraction going forward and now we go out and play ball from here."

On whether he communicated to Daniel ahead of time that he was going to compete for the starting job as it was originally reported:

"We had talked the last couple of days when we had him in the building here and we talked today. Having a guy like Chase Daniel who's very familiar with the system that I'm bringing, having an opportunity to compete, having an opportunity to be a solid, right now, No. 2 – very fortunate, very fortunate. Just like we had in Kansas City – and I don't like to keep going back to that – but with an [Chiefs QB] Alex Smith and a Chase Daniel, what a great tandem we had. Every confident level, whatever you call it, with the opportunity that we had there, if something were to happen to the starter, we felt like Chase could go in and do the job for us. I feel that way going forward."

On what the future plans are for QB Mark Sanchez:

"Right now, he's still on the roster. Again, that's still part of the evaluation process. He could be the No. 3, but right now we're still evaluating that position, as we do all the positions going forward."

On what he sees in Daniel:

"The one thing that I see, and obviously what most people don't see, the chance that I had to work with him for three years, I see the leadership ability that he has on and off the football field. I see how well he interacts with the football players. I see what he's done, not only in practice, but in limited game situations. I know the last couple of years with us, he had a couple starts against San Diego and played extremely well. I think that he's at a position in his career where given the opportunity and his work ethic, it puts him in a position to be a starter."

On whether Bradford is clearly defined as the team's starting quarterback:

"Yes, it is clearly defined right now. No one makes the roster in April. The one thing that we're going to continue to do, and as long as I'm the head football coach here in Philadelphia, is we're going to continue to improve our roster.  Competition – iron sharpens iron at every position, and I feel like the quarterback position is not exempt from that even though I was a quarterback in this league. You have to create opportunities for your guys to compete against one another in [Organized Team Activities], training camp, regular season and then you're going to put the best 11 on the field."

On whether the team plans on taking offers for Bradford before his bonus kicks in:

"Sam is our No. 1. We're not entertaining any offers. Sam is our No. 1."

On how focal he was in the acquisition of Daniel:

"I was focal. I feel it's important to have two quality quarterbacks in the National Football League. Right now, with the nature of the game and the style of defenses that we see day in and day out, as a head coach, I don't want to put myself in a position where you don't have two solid quarterbacks. It was very important for me, not only to get Sam signed, but then to go out and find a No. 2 and Chase was that guy."

On why he believes RB DeMarco Murray was traded from his perspective:

"Everybody has an opportunity in this league. I had an opportunity when I was a player to become a free agent. Obviously it was a trade situation with him. The talks really began to escalate at the NFL Combine. Everybody is in one location, things began and people had interest in him and he felt like it was an opportunity for him if he wanted to continue his career to move on and help another organization. I wasn't going to stand in his way of allowing him to go somewhere and play."

On whether Murray did not fit his offensive scheme:

"He fit, he fit. It was well documented that I came out and said that I wanted him early in the Spring. I felt like we had three dynamic running backs and then there was talk that he didn't want to be here and then there was talk that he wanted to be here. When people at the Combine – coaches and general managers and everyone else – are interested in certain players, I can't deny the fact that if he wants an opportunity to go, then let's see where the talks go. Tennessee was a good fit for him and that's where he landed. I'm excited for him and that's where we're at."

On why he didn't reach out to him if he was a fit in the offense:

"I talked to him earlier in the Spring. I reached out and said 'hello' as I did with a lot of the guys on the roster. That was the last time I spoke to him."

On why he thinks Murray didn't want to be here:

"You'd have to ask him."

On whether he expressed that to the team:

"No, not at all."

On whether he looked at the idea of reaching out to Bradford and Murray as two different scenarios:

"The quarterback is the face of your franchise, and I'm not diminishing any other position on this football team. Quarterback is the key to the kingdom. I've played the position and I've been around some great Hall of Fame quarterbacks in my career. A great one just won the Super Bowl. So I felt that it was in our best interest to be up front and foremost with that positon."

On how important the collaboration has been with everyone in the organization:

"It's been great, it really has. That communication has been very high. We've been able to bounce a lot of ideas off of each other over the past few days, building up to free agency. I just think that the respect [defensive coordinator] Jim [Schwartz] has in the National Football League, the respect that I have for him and the players that he coaches, plus my evaluations and Howie's evaluations really opened the door to have those guys come to us."

On why he developed such a strong connection with Daniel:

"It started right away when we got him. Being a former backup quarterback, you tend to draw yourself to those types of people. We clicked right away. There was a lot of great communication right away. I saw a lot of myself in Chase Daniel as a backup to Alex Smith during my time in Green Bay and places like that. It was a relationship that kept building over time and something that we can continue here."

On the confidence that he has in Daniel considering the lack of experience he has as a starter compared to a player like Sanchez:

"His confidence level is extremely high. It's hard to explain unless you've been around someone for three years like I have. You have that trust and confidence in that individual. That's the level of trust that I have in Chase Daniel and the confidence that I have in him. If for whatever reason he has an opportunity to go in a football game, then we know that he can act and play just like a starter because that's where he is in my mind. It's a good confidence to have. In this league, it's a comfort to have two solid quarterbacks."

On whether there is a dropoff from Bradford to Daniel:

"I don't think there's necessarily a dropoff as much as there is that what Sam has proven here over the course of last season and what he has done with this football team. I don't think there is a dropoff. The one thing that Chase has maybe over Sam is his understanding of the terminology in the offense that I'm bringing to Philadelphia. It's a different skillset. Sam is a big, taller, dynamic, good thrower. Chase is athletic, has a good arm, can move, can scramble, good vision. There are two different dynamics there. Both of those are very effective in what we're going to do."

On what he likes about G Brandon Brooks:

"Big, strong, athletic, road grater-type, nasty mentality and demeanor. He's a guy that can get out on the perimeter and run. He's smart. He has all the things that you look for in a guard that we need right now on this offensive line. He's a leader and a guy that has a lot of games under his belt. It's going to be a good fit for our line."

On whether he leans towards having bigger offensive linemen:

"Well, I guess the prototype wouldn't say 6-5, but you take the best available and he was the best available. He was the number one guy we targeted in free agency at offensive line and we were able to get him. Sometimes you can't control how big a guy is. The Lord blessed us with different heights and weights and we use them to the best of our ability."

On what the prototypical size he is looking for at that position:

"You're looking at 6-3, 6-4 possibly, in that area – 6-2. The weight is fine. For guys that are that big to be able to move like he moves is a plus because we're going to ask our guys to get out on the perimeter. Much like you saw with the offensive line here the last couple of years."

On the side of the offensive line that he will play on:

"The right side."

On whether Schwartz's involvement in free agency is any indication of the respect that he has for him:

"Yeah and again, it goes back to not only the respect but the open dialogue and communication that we had from Day One. These players also had a chance to visit with him today and last night. They wanted to be here and they respect coach Schwartz. That says a lot too when players respect coaches that way and want to be somewhere. Our communication from Day One has been that and it's been open. That's what you have to have to be successful."

On whether he thinks the running back position needs more depth outside of RB Ryan Mathews and RB Darren Sproles:

"Well, yeah, you can play with the two guys you have. We also have some young guys on the roster. You're still going to look whether you still have some free agency left, you still have opportunities possibly in the NFL Draft coming up next month. You're going to need a few more bodies at that position. Going forward, if you play with two the entire season you might be a little thin. You have to get some depth there."

On his thoughts at wide receiver:

"Still a possibility of doing that. Obviously we're happy where we are currently today. The Draft is coming up which is a big evaluation process. We have three tremendous tight ends on the roster, four that are going to compete for those roster spots there. With the three young receivers that we have, we feel like we can be a dynamic offense in the National Football League."

On whether he talked to Bradford during the free agency process:

"Yes."

On the youth of the wide receiver position and whether he wants to add some experience at the position in free agency:

"Well, experience goes a long way. I think at that position, we weren't real veteran savvy in Kansas City; we were youthful there as well. Of course we did bring in Jeremy [Chiefs WR Jeremy Maclin] who gave us that experience, but you can teach guys how to run routes and it's the ability of the quarterback to get them the football. But the more that these young guys play, the more experience they are going to gain. So the experience factor at that position – would you like to have a more senior guy in the room that kind of knows the ins and outs of the position? Possibly. But I don't put the whole weight of what we do offensively on that experience, particularly at that position."

On how valuable it is to move up five spots in the first round of the draft and whether that move changes the team's philosophy as to what sort of player they are looking at:

"I mean, it's valuable. Any time that you can get in the Top 10, I think it's tremendous, especially in the first round obviously. It definitely gives you some options. There are a lot of great players coming out this year. So I think just being in that spot and then with the free agent guys we have brought in and signing our own guys, puts us in a pretty good position."

On if he preferred to move up in the first round rather than try to get the team's second-round pick back:

"Not necessarily. Of course Howie does a great job with all of that. He looks at the boards and the guys that you currently have on your roster. But being in a position to do it and have it work out like it did, I'm happy for both sides and we are just thrilled to be in the Top 10 now."

On the line of communication between he and Roseman during free agency and where their offices are in relation to one another:

"Our offices are about four doors away, so we have to yell a lot down the hall [joking]. But no, the communication has been me walking to his office, him walking to my office, going over our roster – constantly going over the roster – going over the draft boards and looking at the guys that we did sign in free agency. So that communication has been very well received over the past month and really since I've been here. That's something that will continue now on through this draft process."

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