Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson virtually met with the media on Tuesday to discuss the current state of things and where exactly the Eagles go from here with regards to their offseason. Here’s everything you need to know.
We’ve been here before
Straight out of the gate, Pederson alluded to an instance where the NFL endured something similar. Back in 2011, the NFL experienced a lockout that ran from March through to the end of July.
It’s interesting to hear how much Pederson is drawing on that experience to navigate through the current climate.
I think 2011 is a good comparison to where we are for the young players. Obviously, this would be the time of year where we are in the middle of phase two, kind of preparing for phase three, the OTA aspect of our offseason. We would be in the building with a lot of meeting time, a lot of extra meeting time with our rookies trying to get them caught up with our playbook.
We are making do with the virtual set up. The coaches have done a great job of meeting and preparing and getting the guys as close to ready as possible, but we do need the grass time to see what these guys can do and see what they have taken away from the offseason from a mental standpoint.
It feels like the Eagles are doing everything they can with the exception of physical work as a group…which is really all you could ask as the window of OTA’s opens further.
It’s been a big offseason for the Eagles. From a total coaching overhaul to an abundance of offensive speed being injected, it’s safe to assume there’s going to be some sizable differences in comparison to last year’s team…right? Maybe not.
I don’t think from the naked eye you’re going to see a ton of different concepts, different ideas, different things from the naked eye. What you’re going to see from our standpoint is subtleties within what we do as an offense: protections, the play-action game, screens, even the run game. But those are all things that we’re going to work on in training camp. But I think overall, you are not going to see big, wholesale changes. We didn’t overhaul the entire offense, and keep in mind, this offense won a World Championship a couple of seasons ago, so we are just finding ways to make it better at this time.
Then again, if I was going to change the identity of my offense, I wouldn’t want the whole world knowing about it. Although it is reassuring that Pederson isn’t willing to just abandon a solid fundamental base that has clearly worked well since his arrival.
A new wide receiver coach was just the first change this position would go through in the offseason. 3 new rookie receivers and the arrival of Marquise Goodwin make for a revamped positional group that will undoubtedly be feeling the effects of not being able to get up to speed right away. But it’s not all doom and gloom.
One of the things that I’ve required my staff to do, at the end of every week, is e-mail me or text me a one-liner on how the players are doing, how are they understanding the information being taught. And I think it’s a great gauge as to how Aaron is doing and he’s doing a great job right now because the guys are retaining, they are regurgitating the information and then spitting it back to him with confidence and with ease.
It’s encouraging to hear, to say the least…especially if we think back to Arcega-Whiteside’s playbook struggles one year ago.
It’s Dillard’s time
There has been plenty of speculation surrounding a potential return of Jason Peters over the last few weeks, as well as a lot of chatter about Andre Dillard. The Eagles Head Coach put the discussions to bed with a statement this morning.
With Jason Peters, we’ve always said that we would stay in touch with him during the off-season and we have.
Jason Peters is a tremendous, not only football player, but he is a tremendous Philadelphia Eagle and I have a lot of respect for a guy like Jason Peters to play that left tackle position for so many years at a high level and so I have a lot of respect for his game and what he has accomplished in his career. But as we move forward, Andre Dillard was the player that we drafted to be that left tackle for us. Andre played last year, and I think that kind of propels him into this off-season where he’s taken command of that role, and we have a ton of confidence, I have a ton of confidence in Andre Dillard and playing the left tackle spot.
So, in short: Jason Peters may return, but the starting spot belongs to Dillard.
Where are we at?
It’s almost crazy to think that OTA’s are technically upon us. It feels weird not seeing rookie minicamp or those infamous red quarterback jerseys all over the timeline. But how are the Eagles getting on?
We’ve only had a week with our rookies. We began last Monday, May 11th, with our rookie program, and so now, we’re basically into our second full week of the entire football team. And then, basically, it boils down to virtual workouts and virtual meetings. We’re still in a phase where we are going to continue with our virtual workouts, and then our coaches, alongside of that, work with the players with their virtual meetings.
Special teams, [Special Teams Coordinator] Coach [Dave] Fipp is meeting with the veterans. He’s also meeting with the rookies. Same with the veteran coaches. They are meeting with their veteran players and they are meeting with their rookies. That’s just the nature of where we are right now and what we’re doing, and we’ll continue this to the end of the offseason program.
As good as they can be, it seems.
Naturally, Pederson was asked about his shiny new second-round QB. His response was understandably conservative given the current landscape.
But I fully expect Nate to come in and be aggressive and do the things that he’s capable of doing, and become the backup to [QB] Carson [Wentz]. And then with Jalen, Jalen is about, right now, just learning and picking up our system, and he’s another one, another young player that we drafted who, there’s a lot to learn from the quarterback position.
So, are we going to take it a little bit slower maybe with him until he grasps the offense? You might have to. What I like about it is always the unknown, and the unknown is how well a guy I think can progress. And then once we get him on the grass, put him through drills, put him through practices, then we see exactly what these guys are all about.
Right now, Jalen is doing an outstanding job of picking up the offense, spitting it back to [Eagles Passing Game Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach] Press [Taylor] and understanding what we are trying to get done, and we go that route with him right now at this time.
A different approach
As has become the norm with Doug Pederson, he’s doing things a little differently. This is obviously a unique circumstance and as opposed to just having check-ins and meetings, he’s actually holding virtual workouts, unlike some.
I just didn’t feel – and listen, this is my own belief –I just didn’t want guys to be idle. I think when you become idle, you get a little bit … it becomes a challenge. And so, this way, it gets the guys up. It gets the guys moving. It gets the guys thinking about football. And is it right? I don’t know. We still don’t know if training camp is going to start on time or not. But, at the same time, I do know that at least we are getting some football done and hopefully we’ll be better off for it.
We’ll see if this works, but it’s hard to be anything less than optimistic when it comes to his ability to think outside the box and put his team in the best position, no matter the circumstance.
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