Eagles Wake-Up Call: Doug Pederson Leftovers
When Doug Pederson sat down with Eagles reporters for an hour-long conversation last month, he covered a plethora of topics. Here are some interesting leftover nuggets from our talk with him.
— Pederson said although he never changed a play when relaying Andy Reid’s calls to the quarterback in Kansas City during games, it didn’t always run smoothly.
“Heck no. Now, I’ll be quite honest, though: There were times where we might have the same play in two different ways, and I hear the play, and I’ve called it the second one instead of the first way. Just by hearing something, [snap], you call it, and, dammit, it’s not the formation we wanted. That’s happened. But never changing a play.”
— Pederson believes the Eagles are a better team this year than what Reid inherited in his first season.
“I think back then there was sort of a weeding out process of that roster. Some of the guys ended up leaving the team. I have said this before this year and I feel this way, this team today is better than that team. I just think that we’re in a better position.”
— Pederson explained how he handled criticism as a player in Philadelphia in 1999, and why negative comments can sometimes be tougher on the families of a player.
“Quite honestly, and it kind of holds true today, I didn’t read a paper, I didn’t listen to the radio, I didn’t watch SportsCenter. My little world was that locker room, Eagles football and that was it. To and from work. I think my wife and my family probably heard more of it. Because we all have friends, and they go, ‘What in the heck is your husband doing? What is he thinking?’ She’s getting the brunt of it more than I am, even though I’m the one in the media. It happens today. It happened when I was a player in Green Bay. The family gets more of the shockwave that we do. We’re a little bit more protected here and I can kind of control what goes on here. But when your family hears it, that’s when it affects you; that’s when you go, ‘OK, all right, please honey, don’t open up your phone today. Don’t do this, don’t do that, don’t read that, don’t go there.’ But I think the better you can shut those types of things off and just kind of let it happen, in time typically it goes away. And you control what you can control and it’s day by day.”
— Pederson is a fan of how the NFL is moving in the direction of tablets being able to stream video on the sideline.
“I like it. Last year in Kansas City, we used it in a preseason game — preseason game four at the Rams. First time to see it, first time we used. It’s beneficial on the sideline. I don’t think it’s an advantage either way. Everybody has the same opportunity to use it. So I like it; I’m in favor of it. We’ll experiment again in the preseason and take it from there. There’s not a ton of time on the sideline to go through all the video, but you can get certain looks. What I like about it, though, is that whatever defenses are giving you, if it’s a blitz, when you look at a still picture, sometimes you can’t see exactly where that linebacker or safety entered, which gap he’s coming through. But with video now you can actually see the entire play develop and that helps you on the sideline next time you’re in that situation. From a quarterback’s perspective, you can either redirect protection or get the ball out of your hand, things like that. So it’s beneficial that way.”
— Pederson discussed why he asked his coaches to spend time in the locker room with the players.
“I try almost every day when the players are in this building to walk down to that locker room, whether it be after practice, before practice — just walk through there. I implore my coaches to go through the dressing room. I want the coaches to feel free to go in there. Yes, that’s their domain, but at the same time, the coaches need to be seen in there. That’s the only way you can begin to build relationships.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
“There’s a lot of things – little things – that we need to detail and work out as we get through fall camp.” Ken Flajole discusses the state of the linebackers.
“I see a lot of competition. [Allen Barbre] had a really good spring as well but you’ve got a lot of other players that you’re getting a chance to look at.” Jeff Stoutland says the left guard starting spot is not set in stone.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Doug Pederson is making sure he’s involved with the quarterbacks, writes Zach Berman of the Inquirer.
The Eagles are proud of their quarterback-heavy coaching staff – it was a popular talking point from the team after the trade for Carson Wentz – and it’s clear when watching practice that Pederson is not worried about spending too much time with one position. When asked how the coaches avoid stepping on toes, Pederson said [Frank] Reich and [John] DeFilippo must take their cues from him.
“It starts with me and ends with me, and I’ll take responsibility for that,” Pederson said. “So I coach up Frank and John and say, ‘Listen, this is my message, and this is the message I want to send to the quarterbacks.’ They’re on board with that and they support that 100 percent. And I want to make sure my presence is still felt, even though maybe I’m not in that room all the time. But I still want to make sure that my presence is felt in the room.”
Pederson said he would spend a lot of his meeting time with the quarterbacks. But when he’s not there, he wants the message to Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel and Carson Wentz to be as if he is the one delivering it.
Pederson and Wentz will forever be linked together, opines Mike Sielski of the Inquirer.
OK, but by sitting Wentz for the entirety of the 2016 season, the Eagles would push the start date for his development back another year, and there’s a pretty compelling argument that they should start developing Wentz this year. Remember: Wentz threw just 612 passes in his entire career at North Dakota State, a Division I-AA program. By comparison, Jared Goff, the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, threw 1,568 passes over his career at Cal. Remember, too: Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, who is held up as the consummate example of why it’s smart to allow a quarterback to learn from the sideline, attempted more passes in his college career (665) than Wentz threw in his. And Rodgers didn’t become the Packers’ starter until his fourth season in the NFL.
The point is, it’s awfully optimistic (or presumptuous, depending on your perspective) to expect Wentz to step in next season and excel immediately if he hasn’t taken a single NFL snap this season.
Three more days until training camp.
Chris Jastrzembski contributed to this post.