Philadelphia Eagles News

Quotes: Head Coach Doug Pederson

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COACH PEDERSON: Before I start, a couple of things; I just want to send a shout-out to all our fans, the sponsors, everybody that came out. This being the last formal practice for the fans and everybody to be here, I think it was a great training camp. My first experience, obviously to have it here at NovaCare and with [Eagles President] Don Smolenski and his team and all the execs and support staff that put this on, is a big effort. From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank all the fans for coming out and supporting the guys in these types of conditions. Great job to the fans and great job to the Eagles for putting this on.

Eagles Executive Vice President of Football Operations Howie Roseman said that last year you had a chance to evaluate WR Dorial Green-Beckham [acquired by the Eagles via trade on August 16]. What did you see from him?

COACH PEDERSON: Big, tall, strong, physical receiver. [He] can make plays. There's not a ton of current game film on him, so we had to kind of dive-back into his history a little bit of watching some [college] games. [We] really liked him [and] were intrigued with him; obviously his size and speed. [We] look forward to getting him in here and getting him going.

How long is QB Sam Bradford going to play in the preseason game on Thursday?

COACH PEDERSON: Good question. The Ones I plan on playing the entire first quarter and hopefully I can get a series or two into the second. Obviously, I want to extend their time more than three plays, and get them some extensive work in the first quarter and a half.

You're not planning to play Green-Beckham in the game on Thursday are you?

COACH PEDERSON: I am not. I am not. I want him to go on the trip. I want him to get involved with the players and him get used to the team, the team getting used to him. I want to bring him on the trip and get him involved, but we have some work to do before we can get to that point.

Are you taking a chance on a guy who has off-field problems because of your situation with the wide receivers now? Is decision being made because the wide receiver situation is not where you want it to be?

COACH PEDERSON: Well, all along my stance has always been about competition at every position. Obviously it goes back to the quarterback issue way back in the spring and this is no different. We're always constantly looking. First of all, this is a great opportunity for Dennis Kelly [traded to the Tennessee Titans on August 16] now, great opportunity. Had a chance to speak with him this morning and wished him well and he's got a great opportunity there in Tennessee.

But for us, we've just got to continue to evaluate every position. When we can get players in here that can compete, we want to do that. We want to take advantage of these situations and this is one of those times.

T Lane Johnson said yesterday that he had told the guys upstairs about his failed test around the 30th of July. You said last week you found out the same day we did, which was Tuesday. Did you not know before that?

COACH PEDERSON: Yeah, on the Lane Johnson thing, until I get further notice from the National Football League, it's a moot point. In my case, I'm not going to talk any more about it.

What's your position on players with off-field problems, in terms of bringing them into the locker room and managing them?

COACH PEDERSON: I kind of take a chip off of [former Eagles head coach] Andy Reid's block. We had a [former Eagles quarterback] Michael Vick who had definitely situations there.

I'm going to preface this by saying we are not in the rehabilitation business. But at the same time, we feel like with the staff that I've assembled on offense and with the personnel staff upstairs, that we can bring guys in that might have had a little bit of a history and we can help these players. Not only become young men, but become good football players.

CB Jalen Mills had incidents. You just go down the list. We all have faults. We all have things in our past that are going to come back at some point. But you know what? We learn from them, we move on and we make better men out of these guys. This is a great opportunity, not only for him, but for us as a staff to show that.

Reid evolved into that mentality, did he not? You were there in the beginning and wasn't there an Andy Reid type of player, that those guys, including Vick, didn't fit. Did you learn from watching that?

COACH PEDERSON: Of course. I paid close attention to that. When we found out that Michael was coming – Michael turned out to be tremendous, and he's a great guy. Michael is a tremendous guy, and it was an unfortunate situation that he was in.

Again, we're not in the business of trying to rehabilitate anybody. But at the same time, I think that through the structure of football -- the way we practice, the detail, the organization -- I just think there's so many life lessons that can be learned from the way we work and the way we train throughout the day and throughout the year. This is what we encourage our players to take on because once they step out of these walls and step out of the property, those are the things they rely on in their daily lives.

With respect to QB Carson Wentz, is there a point in coaching or teaching the quarterback that you have to address injuries and how they might affect the way he plays? He breaks a wrist last year, and how he has a fractured rib this year. Is there ever a time where you say, 'Look don't let it get in your head that you've been hurt a couple years. Don't let it affect your play?'

COACH PEDERSON: No. The biggest thing we can do is just correct the mistake on film that was made. And then obviously learn from that situation, [and] not put yourself in those vulnerable hits like that where you can get the ball out a little bit faster. I broke my jaw in 1999 with the Packers, but after five weeks, I went back out there and played. You're not worried about getting hit.

Again, that's part of the game. [It's] the same way with a guy that as a knee or a shoulder [injury]. We want him to be out there, be aggressive, and test it early. Once they get that first hit, they are usually pretty good after that and we move on.

How would you evaluate your receivers before the trade? Did you see it as a definite position of need?

COACH PEDERSON: Our receivers are young. Our receivers are learning every single day. They are working hard every day. I see improvements every single day. From the game to our practice the other night in the Linc, [Lincoln Financial Field] I saw a little bit faster tempo. I saw speed. I saw today receivers are making strides. They are catching the football today. It's that process that takes time.

The quarterback getting used to the receiver, the receiver getting used to the quarterback. The more time now that we can spend individually – if you notice today in the way the practice was structured – we spent more time throwing to the receivers and throwing to the tight ends and running backs. So we're going to take advantage of that.

Any time we can bring a player in at any position – whether it's an upgrade or not – we're going to take a look at that and make the best decisions for the Philadelphia Eagles.

In these upcoming second and third preseason games, how much do you weigh playing the starters and getting them game ready versus worrying about injury? Do some guys need more playing time then others?

COACH PEDERSON: Well, again, the injury thing, I can't really worry. If it's going to happen, it's going to happen. You can sort-of ramp this thing up, so you want to give them a little bit more time in Week Two. And then a lot of time in Week Three – almost three quarters in Week Three – and then you back them down and give them two weeks to get ready for the [season] opener. There are some players that you might consider holding or letting them play two, three series and get them out.

But for the most part, everybody is going to go and play with the guys we have.

Who is not going to play in the preseason game on Thursday?

COACH PEDERSON: So who is not going to play: [LB] Mychal Kendricks will be out, [DT] Mike Martin is going to be out. [WR] Jordan Matthews, [CB] Jalen Mills and [WR] Hunter Sharp will be out. Carson Wentz is out, but he'll travel with the team to Pittsburgh.

And what's your expectation for when Wentz is going to return to practice?

COACH PEDERSON: It's day-to-day. Just depends on how well he can function with the discomfort that he has. I've had this injury before too and it's just a day-to-day injury. Right now if it were game week, I think he would be ready. But at the same time, we're fortunate that it's not and it's preseason. We hope to get him back here towards the end of camp, [before] that last game.

How long did you have that injury and how long did it take you to recover?

COACH PEDERSON: I had it in '99 but it was during the regular season. I had to play the next week. So you just kind of deal with it and you do what you can to get ready to go. You might miss a Wednesday and Thursday practice, but you go and play. You do what you can for your football team.

If Wentz is not able to play any more in the preseason, and he's not scheduled to play much in the regular season, doesn't that stagnant his growth somewhat?

COACH PEDERSON: His height? Just kidding. (Laughter). No. Not with this kid. This is a special kid now. He's sharp. He's very sharp. He stays on point. He asks a ton of questions in the classroom. He's learning every single day.

Is he not getting the actual physical rep? Yeah, he's not getting that. But at the same time, he studies the tape and has himself mentally ready to go. Outside of actually taking that [physical] rep, this won't hurt him in the long run.

Who is going to start at right tackle and left guard in the preseason game Thursday?

COACH PEDERSON: So going into this game, Allen Barbre is going to be over there at right tackle. You've got [Brandon] Brooks, obviously at right guard. [Jason] Kelce at the center spot. Isaac [Seumalo] is going to jump up to that left guard spot and then [Jason] Peters will play left tackle.

Did LB Mychal Kendricks suffer some sort of setback injury? I know you expected him back at practice last Saturday.

COACH PEDERSON: No, [it's] just not ready yet. It's still day-to-day. Fully expect him, hopefully, this next week going into the Colts game. Hopefully we can get our starters ready to go.

Green-Beckham is the ultimate height, weight, speed guy. I'm sure you envision him in your offense. What are some elements you feel he can bring?

COACH PEDERSON: No. 1, he's a big powerful guy and he runs extremely well as far as slant routes go. He's a big, physical presence right there. I think in the red zone – if you go back and watch some tape – he's got good vertical leap. He can elevate quickly. He can get over the top of defenders; which is sort of a comfort for the quarterback to be able to just put the ball in his area.

But until we really get him in here and see what he can do physically, we'll wait till that point. But those are some things right now that I think the slant game, and the vertical game is where he can really benefit with his size and strength.

What's the reason for traveling Wentz to the preseason game at Pittsburgh on Thursday, but not the other injured players?

COACH PEDERSON: The reason why is he's a quarterback and I want him involved in every single meeting, so we don't stunt his growth. I want to continue that whole process with him. And [with] his injury, it's a rib injury. [With] guys that have hamstrings and quads, it's a little bit different. But at the same time, I've always believed that that quarterback position -- When I broke my back in 2004, I was the backup at the time, but I went on IR and I traveled all season. I've been in that situation and I want him to go.

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