Pederson Leftovers: Explaining His Philosophies

The Eagles' head coach also discussed Jim Schwartz, Darren Sproles and tempo.

Doug Pederson. (USA Today Sports)

Doug Pederson. (USA Today Sports)

Sam Bradford’s durability was one of the biggest question marks heading into the 2015 season, but the storyline has somewhat fallen by the wayside amid all of the change in the last few months.

During his hour-long media availability at the owners meetings last week, Doug Pederson discussed his quarterback at length, touching on Bradford’s durability toward the end.

“It’s one thing with where Sam has come — he’s come a long way with his weight. Would you like to see a bigger guy? You would, just from the durability issues and the contact there, but it’s not a concern,” Pederson said. “He’s actually put on a little weight this spring through some of his workouts. He missed a lot of offseason time last year because of rehab, so he’s in a position now to really focus on strength.”

Pederson added that Bradford has gained around five pounds, although there’s no specific weight set as a goal. The head coach also touched on many other topics, including Jim Schwartz, tempo and Darren Sproles. Here are some highlights.

Pederson said one big reason Schwartz appealed to him as a defensive coordinator was because of Schwartz’s ability to generate a pass rush with four guys. Pederson referred to him as the “head coach on defense” and a guy he can “turn the keys over to.”

“His style — rush four, cover with seven — makes it a lot harder than blitz five — fire zone — and give up a spot. Look at New England, for instance, and their passing game. The ball’s out of his hand; it’s out of Tom [Brady]’s hand. These quarterbacks are smart today and they’re coming in and understanding blitz packages and understanding where open zones are and they get the ball out of their hands so fast. So the blitz sometimes doesn’t affect you. Our guy in Kansas City (Alex Smith) got the ball out of his hand relatively fast and the blitz didn’t really affect him. Do you have to blitz? Yeah, you have to blitz. But if you can just do it with four, that’s what intrigued me about Jim.”

Some people joke about how Pederson was a high school coach just eight years ago, but the head coach enjoys reflecting on his three-year at Calvary Baptist Academy, and he did so when asked how he knew he was ready to be an NFL head coach.

“You get into this business to be the best football coach that you can be. Would I have been happy to be the best offensive coordinator in Kansas City? Yeah, I would’ve been. But I also know that, me personally, I felt like the last three years and being around Andy [Reid] and the things that we’ve done, the discussions that we’ve had, really starts getting your mind going in the direction of being a head coach. It’s funny, but I even go back to my high school days — when I was the head coach at Calvary — and I think about those days and, ‘Why did you want to be a head coach just in high school?’ I love teaching the game. I love watching the guys perform. That part of it never changes.”

Tempo was a hallmark of Chip Kelly’s offense, and Pederson explained why he wants to incorporate it into his West Coast system.

“The one thing this group has learned the last couple of years is how to play fast; the tempo of the game. I think that’s a benefit for any offense, to be able to play fast. I want to use some of that … the no-huddle system, (but) give the quarterback a little more freedom to do things in the two-minute type mode. I’ve always been intrigued by the tempo of the game … There’s a time and a place for it. And then incorporating that with what I’m going to bring. We’re going to get in the huddle, we’re going to break the huddle, we’re going to attack the line of scrimmage that way, also. But again, there’s a time and a place for (tempo) and I look forward to utilizing that.”

Pederson described what he’ll look for during his pre-draft minicamp new coaches get to shape his opinion on his players.

“You want to see who can process the information number one, but at the same time, you’re just looking for those emerging leaders of your team. You’re looking for the guys that effort is not going to be an issue, hustle is not going to be an issue. The evaluation process is going to be more on how well they pick up the information, to be quite honest with you.”

Pederson supports Reid’s philosophy of hitting in pads during training camp.

“I think there’s a time and a place. There’s been a lot of mention about tackling in high school, college and even in the National Football League. I think the only way you can really work on tackling is live periods in training camp. I think you got to have a few of those. You got to be in pads because the run game is a physical sport; you got to be in pads, you got to be able to bang. I feel like the harder you work in your early training camp days, really all through training camp, will pay off for you late in the season. I’m a big believer in that. I guess to answer your question, I will have a few live periods in training camp.”

When asked if he’d use Sproles more than Kelly did, Pederson seemed to indicate he would.

“I do anticipate using him. He’s a tremendous athlete, great skill set. So yes, I do plan on using him quite a bit.”