Philadelphia Eagles News

Quotes: Head Coach Doug Pederson

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COACH PEDERSON: So, a couple things before we get started with questions. First of all, a little shout-out to the Philadelphia Soul this weekend. Ron Jaworski [co-owner of the Philadelphia Soul] and the guys, I wish them the best of luck and bring home a championship. [We're] pulling for them. It's a great opportunity for them as well.

The other thing, I'll give you an injury report real quick on who's out for this game. Who's out: Obviously, [CB] Aaron Grymes, [WR] Jordan Matthews, [DE] Alex McCalister, [WR] Hunter Sharp, [LB] Joe Walker. [QB] Carson [Wentz] is out, [but] he will travel. And then [DT] Mike Martin is out as well. The newest one on the list is [G] Isaac [Seumalo] will be out for this game. He has a strained pec [pectoral] muscle that is day-to-day. We feel [it's] best for his interest to keep him out of this football game.

How did he do it?

COACH PEDERSON: Just in practice two days ago. Felt it, a little strain [while he was] blocking. So we evaluated him and just decided to keep him out of this game.

Who's starting at left guard?

COACH PEDERSON: At left guard now is [C/G Stefen] Wisniewski. Wiz will go. [G/T Allen] Barbre will be at the right tackle spot again.

In terms of the rotation, how deep into the game will QB Sam Bradford play?

COACH PEDERSON: I want to see the starters come out of the dressing room. I talked to them about three full quarters and want them to feel that intensity coming out of the dressing room [in the] second half. So, at least a series – maybe two – in the third quarter depending how the game is going.

What happened to McCalister? What's his injury?

COACH PEDERSON: Strained calf. Again, he's day-to-day, and keeping him out of this game.

When did that happen?

COACH PEDERSON: That happened two days ago as well. Same day that Isaac got injured.

T Lane Johnson did not practice yesterday, but he did today. Is that …?

COACH PEDERSON: He was out here today. He actually went in just with his low back. Still evaluating that, but he is up for this game.

How much will WR Dorial Green-Beckham play?

COACH PEDERSON: We put a couple plays in for him this week, expanded his role from a week ago. Full week of practice. He's comfortable with what we're doing with him. Can't tell you how many [or] the number of snaps he'll get, but he'll definitely play and play with the first group.

How does he look so far, in terms of his practicing?

COACH PEDERSON: He's looking good. Again, the terminology is a little bit different. We're not moving him around. So he's lining up in one spot, one position, which is good for him right now. But he's playing fast, and that's what we ask him to do, and he's being decisive with his routes. And then, obviously, in the block he's such a big body, that just covering guys up in the run game [would] be a big benefit for us as well.

How has T Jason Peters done since coming back from the quad? And you guys kind of selectively choosing when to practice him?

COACH PEDERSON: He's done really well. Really well. He's one of the guys that you just got to almost, kind of back him down from time-to-time because he wants to take every rep and he wants to be out there with the guys. Since coming back from that early injury, he's had no issues, no problems, and he's healthy and ready to go not only for this game but for the regular season.

It's a short week next week. For Carson Wentz, when does he need to practice to play in the fourth preseason game?

COACH PEDERSON: It's interesting because next week we only got really two days of practice. We'll see. We'll evaluate him through the weekend. [We'll] take him on this trip and work him out a little bit when we get to Indy [Indianapolis], and then again next Monday and Tuesday. We've got to at least get a day's work with him in order for him to go in the game next Thursday.

Have you heard Redskins CB Josh Norman's comments about Sam Bradford?

COACH PEDERSON: Listen, I don't get into that. I'm not going to get into it. I'm not going to comment on it. I think Sam Bradford is a great quarterback. He's doing everything we've asked him to do, and I'll just leave it at that.

So you aren't going to point that quote out to Bradford?

COACH PEDERSON: I'm sure he'll probably see it somewhere. I'm not going to point it out to him, though.

Is that a shot at the organization, too? Because you guys have said that Sam is a really good quarterback.

COACH PEDERSON: Listen, I don't know. I see what's happening with what he's been saying here lately. Again, he's a great player. Listen, he's a great player, and Washington's got a great player, and we're just happy to play him twice a year and just see what happens.

Your top three running backs right now are a guy who's averaged nine carries a game the last two years, another guy that you're probably going to use more as a receiver than a runner, and another guy who's got 34 career carries. Are you okay with your running back group right now?

COACH PEDERSON: I am. I just go back to our days in Kansas City, when we had [Kansas City RB] Jamaal Charles there, and we kind limited him throughout camp, and his touches through the regular season. He was a very explosive guy for us. At the same time, we took a couple of young players, and they got the majority of the work after Week 6.

I like where we're at with the running back position, and we'll see as it goes. It's hard to say that one guy's going to get more touches than the other, because I think they're all dynamic in their own unique way.

How much work will RB Wendell Smallwood get on Saturday?

COACH PEDERSON: He'll get a good look. This is his first opportunity to play, so we want to make sure that he's ready to go. We're going to be smart with it at the same time, but we definitely want to see him get some work in that first half.

Doug, what do you want to see out of the starting offense on Saturday for you to be comfortable going into the regular season?

COACH PEDERSON: You definitely want to see -- you want to see points, number one. You want to see execution. We've got to eliminate the penalties from last week. That kind of hurt us there at the end of the half. Even though we got the three, it sort of stymied that drive before that one. So, execution. This has been the first time we've practiced the starters all three days with sort of an in-season type [of] mentality.

So the mistakes should be at a minimum. The guys will be ready to go. You just want to see that cohesiveness with the offensive line, Sam lead the way, and then obviously score touchdowns.

Has it been tough because you're without your top receiver, Jordan Matthews, for quite some time now?

COACH PEDERSON: It is. It's hard. Any time a good player is not in your offensive or defensive structure, it's difficult because you're working on some timing things and different routes and combinations during the course of the week. But, these guys have played together now the last year and really sort of have a good understanding with one another.

So, when we get to that regular season game, they'll get a lot of work during that first week and try to catch themselves up.

You have said that you would like to keep four tight ends. Is that still the case? And if it is, how does TE Chris Pantale look?

COACH PEDERSON: Yeah, and the fourth one for us has been in that fullback position. He's looked well. He's really come on these last couple of weeks. It's a new position really, back there for him. He's a tall guy. He's a lanky guy with length. So for him, it's a matter of keeping his pad level down, bending at the knees and the waist, and maintaining that leverage. He's done a good job here the last week.

With that being said, you haven't used a lot of two-back sets. Are we going to see more of that this week?

COACH PEDERSON: A lot of it is game plan specific [and] based on what the defense presents throughout the course of the week. Some teams will scheme our regular personnel differently, but it will fluctuate week-to-week.

Going into the season opener, it looks like the offensive line will only really have one start together as a group. What's the concern level there?

COACH PEDERSON: Again, I lean back on the fact that we've got some veteran guys there. [C Jason] Kelce does a great job of keeping those guys together. Really, all those guys; they've played a lot of snaps. Maybe not a lot of snaps together, but they've played a lot of snaps in the National Football League. [G] Brandon Brooks in Houston [Houston Texans], and J.P. [T Jason Peters], Kelce, and [Allen] Barbre there at right tackle. Isaac will be the one [that] is the newbie in the group. But, I think they've gelled really well. They've come together.

I go back to our -- again, I lean back to our days in Kansas City where we lost [Kansas City OG] Jeff Allen for the season and had to plug in guys and move [former Kansas City and current Denver Broncos OT] Donald Stephenson around. It can be done. It can be done. You keep your schemes simple for them, allow them to play fast, and get as many reps during the week as you can.

So Seumalo is the Week 1 starter? Wisniewski can't win the spot with the way he plays?

COACH PEDERSON: I'm not saying he can't win it, but I'm saying right now I'm not going to let an injury keep Isaac out of the starting rotation.

Offensive coordinator Frank Reich was just saying -- he touched on it yesterday, too -- about feeding material to Dorial Green-Beckham in layers. How far away is he, in terms of assimilating everything?

COACH PEDERSON: He's not where you want him to be, obviously, with the terminology of the offense. That's why we're going to keep it very simple and keep it to one position for him as a receiver. Put a little package together, two, three, four plays, and just let him go play. And then as he understands that, we can expand the role because he's coming in basically right here at the end of camp trying to learn a system.

So I've been there, even as a player. In 2000, when I left here and went to Cleveland [Cleveland Browns], it was a totally new system that you're trying to learn. So, you keep it small, you keep it simple and allow him to use his skill set.

This is three games that DT Mike Martin won't play. Is there enough of an evaluation of him?

COACH PEDERSON: There is. He's a veteran guy that understands how to play [and] how to get himself ready to play. He's also in a position where you're probably not going to lean on him for more than 15, 20, 25 snaps a game. And that's what you want out of him. Just getting him to the gate on Sundays is obviously where you want to be and what you want to do.

But, yeah, we've seen enough and he's done enough in his past, for us as coaches, to feel comfortable with that.

The team brought in two veteran receivers on one-year "prove-it" deals, in Chris Givens and Rueben Randle. Have they proven anything to you so far?

COACH PEDERSON: Well both of them really have come on. I think with Chris' skill set, a speed guy, he's done a nice job catching the ball this week – as all of them have done. Rueben is kind of the veteran, the savvy guy, the smooth, more of the silky runner. And [they are] really two veteran guys that lead that young receiver group.

And the other one too is [WR] Nelson [Agholor]. Nelson's really stood out these last couple of practices. Both of those -- having that veteran leadership -- are good for that room.

As far as the preseason, what do you take from it? Because there have been times in this organization where they have had a great preseason, and struggled in the regular season.

COACH PEDERSON: That's a good question, because it happens around the league. Teams start 0-4 and end up winning 12 games, or you go 4-0 and then win four games. It feels good to win games, but at the same time too, you also understand the dynamic of preseason. You're playing a lot of guys. We'll get a better feel, obviously, this week and see where our guys are at.

You know, you get to the regular season, things turn up a notch. The intensity level goes up. As coaches too, you're game-planning a lot more specifically for your opponent, and really putting your guys in positions to be successful. So, it kind of works hand-in-hand, but wins and losses in the preseason don't really matter until you get to Week 1.

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