Philadelphia Eagles News

Quotes: Head Coach Doug Pederson

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COACH PEDERSON: Good morning. All right. Fire away.

Doug, can you confirm that former Detroit Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch is going to sign here?

COACH PEDERSON: Yes. He'll be in later tonight.

What's the plan for him when he gets in here?

COACH PEDERSON: Yes. Obviously he's familiar with Coach Schwartz's [Eagles Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz] defense. At the same time, he's coming in to compete for that linebacker spot there in the middle. It's just unfortunate, with the loss of Joe [Eagles LB Joe Walker] right now, we just need depth to fill that spot. We've just got to see where he's at, what his health is when he gets here, physical, all that stuff that we do with players. And then slowly work him in.

Is he competing for the back-up linebacker spot? Or is he competing with LB Jordan Hicks to start?

COACH PEDERSON: He's competing for the spot. Right now Jordan's a starter -- it just goes without saying at every position. Just with the loss of Joe right now, we needed a linebacker. He was the best available for us and [we] look forward to working with him.

Could Hicks play a different spot if Tulloch comes in and wins the middle linebacker spot?

COACH PEDERSON: Could he? I think he's athletic enough and smart enough, possibly. But right now that's not the plan.

Tulloch is the fourth player you have brought in that has played for defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. It seems to indicate a high amount of trust in Jim's opinion, with you and Eagles Executive Vice President of Football Operations Howie Roseman. Can you expand on that?

COACH PEDERSON: Jim's had great success with defenses in the National Football League and his players always play at a high level. Anytime, offensively, defensively, or even in special teams, if you can grab a player that you've worked with in the past that knows your terminology and knows your system, I think it's no different than [QB] Chase Daniel on offense for me. And having guys like that, that are very comfortable with your defense or offense, just helps the overall learning and helps the overall process of the defense.

You guys had been talking to Tulloch about two and a half weeks ago. Why didn't you sign him then? Did you feel like you could have gotten by with what you had at linebacker?

COACH PEDERSON: Yeah, we wanted to give an opportunity to the young guys we have. Joe was actually playing well and doing some nice things for us. So we just didn't feel the need to do it at that time.

What's the latest with the LB Nigel Bradham situation? Are you concerned at all that he could miss any time?

COACH PEDERSON: I am not, and I have not had any updates on that.

Eagles LB Joe Walker had been a core contributor on special teams; back-up linebackers usually have to do that. Is that a concern of Tulloch, as he is brought in as a back-up?

COACH PEDERSON: That's something when I get a chance to sit down with him and Coach Fipp [Eagles Special Teams Coordinator Dave Fipp]. Again, this is a team sport and everybody has to play a big role in special teams. I know his past, he hasn't played a lot of areas, but if he can come in and at least give us one special teams unit right now to begin with and then we'll see where it goes from there.

But linebackers in general play, and tight ends, definitely play the bulk of your special teams. So it's something that we have to consider and get him on at least one core team.

How much throwing did QB Carson Wentz do on Saturday? And what's the plan for him this week?

COACH PEDERSON: He threw a little bit pre-practice. He threw some during the practice, but not in the drills. He was on the side. Again, he's sore, which is expected. So we're just going to back him down again today, and it's still a day-to-day injury.

So, Wentz will not throw today?

COACH PEDERSON: He won't throw today. He threw Saturday, [he] threw a little bit yesterday, and [he's] sore today. So we'll just keep getting treatment and monitor that.

Doug, obviously it's getting closer to when you have to make roster decisions. In the next two games, what area do you think is the toughest for you right now to whittle down to?

COACH PEDERSON: I'll tell you this, it's the unfortunate part of this business because you want to be able to keep everybody, number one. I think if you just look at positions on the football team, I mean offensive and defensive line, there's a lot of bodies there. There's a lot of good competition at those two spots. Corner is another one that's having tremendous work there.

And bottom line is it's the nature of the business. And I'll tell you this, I've never been a part of this process before, obviously. But a lot of times you end up cutting players that are good players for you [and] that obviously have success other places. Again, that's just the nature of this business. At the end of the day, myself and Howie and the coordinators, we've got to make the best decisions for our team.

How tough is it at the wide receiver position? Obviously, you have to find somebody, but it seems like there are a lot of guys in the same area.

COACH PEDERSON: There are. Again, that's probably another position that we look at here, particularly in the next couple of weeks, and it's tough because you don't carry a ton of receivers. I can't tell you exactly what number that's going to be, whether it's four, five, or six guys.

Again, you want to keep them all, but we've got to find the best players at every position that are going to help us on game day. That's just the bottom line.

What is the last piece of putting together the 53, in terms of, is it all merit-based about who has out-performed who? Or do you take into account potential, financials, and all of that?

COACH PEDERSON: You look at everything. Especially with young players, their roles usually are special teams value for us, and then do they have practice squad eligibility? That's a way to keep guys that you want on your team as solid backups if the need arises during the regular season.

I don't get into all the number stuff. I leave that up to Howie and his team to do that. Again, at the end of the day, we're going to find the best 53 going into Cleveland.

If Howie and the personnel staff comes to you with a player, in regards to the 53, do you have the right to override their recommendations?

COACH PEDERSON: I don't know if it's an override as much as -- I'm going to voice my opinion on players, obviously. First of all, I'm going to gather all the information on that player. I'm going to study that player from an Xs and Os standpoint. I'm going to find history, personal history. I'm going to find out about the guy before I bring him into the fold.

If it's a strong recommendation by Howie and his team, and if it's a definite need, then you pull the trigger. But yeah, I can definitely voice an opinion.

At the middle linebacker spot, is it just going to be one guy or the other as a starter? Or is there a possibility of having a rotation where Tulloch plays every third or fourth series, just to keep guys fresh?

COACH PEDERSON: It's hard to answer that question until we get him in here and see where he's at physically. He did play a full schedule last year. He should be relatively healthy. And then how well he fits into the system. We're just going to get him here, one day at a time with him, and then get him caught up as fast as we can.

As far as WR Dorial Green-Beckham, are you going to mix him in with the ones and twos this week? What have you learned about him these past few days?

COACH PEDERSON: The couple things I've learned; number one, he's eager to learn. He's wanting to learn. [He's] a great personality in the room. The guys have really embraced him here, which is good to see. And then I just have got to keep feeding him a little bit of information. Whatever he was taught in Tennessee, it's a little different here [then] what we're teaching. Everyone's teaching styles are different and what we're teaching is different.

So we have to kind of find out what he knows and then take what we are running offensively -- from routes and run game and everything -- and just start piecing things together for him and putting him in little small package and just giving him small increments of information so that we're not overwhelming him right here after about three or four days.

Doug, you described working with Carson yesterday as you're going to test him to see where he's at. Now that he's not going to be practicing today, does that say anything about his availability for the rest of preseason? What's the plan for him at this point?

COACH PEDERSON: No, it still doesn't affect that. With these injuries, again, it's a rib cage injury. It's a rib, and it's going to be sore because everything you do -- every time you turn the corner, it's going to affect you. So we've just got to continue to monitor it, continue to get the treatment night and day. And, again, fully expect him to go.

When you're making your roster decisions, how much weight do you give to potential? Let's say you have two guys – One that may help you right now, or one that you see has potential to develop, kind of like Wentz.

COACH PEDERSON: It's case by case, and everybody's a little bit different. I've got to see who can help us right now, bottom line. We play in a couple of weeks. Do you want to plan for the future? Obviously, you want to do that. But at the same time, you've got to have 53 guys that you can plug in at any given notice, moment, and expect them to play.

So a lot of times it comes down to special teams value, and how many core units that player is a part of.

In these first two preseason games, WR Josh Huff has three catches for 13 yards and about 40 snaps. Talking about special teams value, is his special teams value enough for him to feel secure about a roster spot right now? Or does he need to pick it up offensively?

COACH PEDERSON: Yeah, this week is different. Again, as I mentioned, it's more of an in-season structure. We've got to start getting those players, Josh Huff being in that group, more touches, more reps; offensively and on special teams. I would expect his workload to potentially increase this week.

What are some things you like to see QB Sam Bradford improve on Saturday night, versus what he did Thursday night against Pittsburgh?

COACH PEDERSON: You know what, he did a nice job against Pittsburgh. Obviously, the penalties and things like that, we have to eliminate. But the fact that put him in situations where he had the ability to -- I'm not going to say audible because they weren't audibles, but based on what the defense gave him, he was able to adjust a play and things like that. We're going to give him more of those things this week; more of a game plan type game for him.

And just moving the team. I want to see the completion percentage be 65, 67 percent. You'd love to see a touchdown pass or two in there. But, again, you can't press the issue. You've got to let the game unfold and put him in positions to be successful.

One of the things that you liked about Wentz when you drafted him is that he was aggressive and put shots down the field. Is that something you'd like to see Bradford do more of?

COACH PEDERSON: Yeah, and a lot of times too it comes down to the play-caller calling those shots and how the game is going. Sam's mentality; if it's there, he's going to pull the trigger. But at the same time, we're not going to force it down the field, when sometimes a back or a tight end underneath can be the best alternative in situations like that. But we'll continue to shoot the ball down the field.

Doug, where does everything stand with T Lane Johnson?

COACH PEDERSON: With Lane? Until I get notice from the league office, I'm not going to comment on that any further.

In the game the other day, TE Brent Celek was the first tight end in. Is that going to be the way you have it this year?

COACH PEDERSON: No, I'm not going to say one way or the other. But again, the first two games we played, we're playing a lot of people. We're playing a lot of people. We didn't have a specific role for one guy over the next. Again, this week we'll begin utilizing some of our players differently, and the tight ends will be used a little different this week.

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