Doug Pederson met with the media on Tuesday morning to discuss all things Eagles and the current state of affairs. Here are six things we learned.
Obviously, the first topic addressed was last night’s shattering news. 30-year-old right guard and 3-time Pro Bowler Brandon Brooks has torn his Achilles and will be out for the 2020 season. His Head Coach obviously had a lot to say on this.
Gosh, my heart sunk when I got the news about Brandon’s injury. This guy has worked extremely hard to get himself back and back in shape, back in playing shape to have a solid 2020 season. So obviously we feel for him, to have to go through this again, but we know that he’ll push through and he’s done a great job with all his rehab and getting himself back, so we’re very confident there.
As far as the plan moving forward, at this point we’re still looking at a lot of options obviously, starting with our own roster and the guys that we have competing for those backup spots and possibly those starting spots.
At this time, we are just feeling for Brandon and want to make sure everything goes smoothly with him and getting him back on track for the future.
It’s interesting that Pederson mentions the backup battles here, but not really surprising. Matt Pryor could well be the lead in-house candidate amongst a group of rookies, but it’s important not to write off outside help. Chris Infante listed some of the team’s best options this morning.
The world is aching right now for obvious reasons and how NFL players will use their platform when the season resumes will be an ongoing discussion moving forward. For Doug Pederson and the Eagles, the message is clear – understanding.
I understand that players — and I support players who demonstrate peacefully and stand for something because it’s part of — we have to fix the whys. It’s part of the whys and trying to understand our players, and we support our players. I support our players. But we are going to have these conversations I know once we get into camp.
Me personally is just the first thing I wanted to do is listen, listen to my players, listen to the guys that have feelings, have strong beliefs, and I want to understand everything that I can…
…And so for me personally, it’s just understanding that, and this is what I told my team several weeks ago, a couple weeks ago when we had a team meeting is I want to learn, I want to understand. I came from a world that didn’t understand that. And so for me as an adult, I want to also be able to take the information and teach my own boys, for those of you that know my three sons.
After JJ Arcega-Whiteside’s rookie year went up in smoke due to a myriad of reasons, a logical question passed to Doug Pederson was one of cross-training. This time around, especially with no OTA’s, the plan is streamlined.
…He’s going to come in and he’s going to learn one position and he is going to learn from [WR] DeSean Jackson, and learn everything he can. Obviously the playbook is extensive and we just have to see what he’s taken from the off-season to training camp, and then once we see his potential and his growth, then we can use him in multiple spots.
If Reagor is learning the offense from the ‘Z’ spot, it’s likely that DeSean Jackson will shift into the slot during certain looks in order to inject the extra speed into the offense. Reagor couldn’t ask for a better mentor, though.
Using the Linc
When Training Camp does eventually open, there are bound to be a totally new set of restrictions and challenges for the team to overcome. This is something Pederson addressed on Tuesday, suggesting the use of the Linc itself.
I understand that this is a unique time in our society, in our country and our world. This is just what we’re faced with.
So we’re going to make the most of it and use the resources possibly with the NovaCare facility, possibly with our stadium to take advantage of everything that we can. And the No. 1 thing here is making sure that our players and our coaches and all our staff are safe. That’s our most important aspect of everything right now…
…But we are going to keep everybody together. We’re going to socially distance when we are inside the buildings. We’re going to wear masks. We’re going to do all the protocols that we’ve been asked to do and we’re going to make that work.
The Eagles continue to think outside the box, so don’t be shocked to see some intriguing adjustments from a logistical aspect this offseason.
Doubling down on Alshon
Alshon Jeffery may well be set to miss a huge chunk of time due to an injury picked up last season, but that hasn’t stopped Pederson from doubling down on a receiver who many linked with the ‘anonymous’ comments over the last two years, be that right or wrong.
Alshon has done extremely well this off-season with his rehab. I’ve been — not just Alshon but with all our veteran players, to be part of this virtual off-season like they have, I’ve been really impressed with everybody that’s taken part and Alshon is one of the guys. The dialogue that he’s had in the receiver room, being able to converse with some of the young players that we have on our roster and just getting themselves back healthy and obviously there’s no timetable for him right now. I just want him to focus on his rehab and get strong, but the second part of your question is, he’s a big part of our offense, and we do plan to have him in the offense at some point.
JJAW will likely fill the X-role in the meantime, but it’s interesting to hear that Alshon is talking to the younger players and ‘one of the guys’. Maybe there’s more to this than meets the eye.
Virtual workout speakers
The Eagles’ virtual offseason is coming to an end and one thing the team did differently was including guest speakers at the end of each week in order to motivate and galvanize the team. It’s a really emotive touch that struck a chord with many.
It’s just a way of sort of breaking up some of the team meetings for me. Did it once a week. Usually did it at the end of the week. We showed highlight videos at the beginning of the week of the guys working out, our players working out, virtually. Just to get a sense and get a feel from these guys, Steve Kerr, Phil Jackson, CC Sabathia, Charles Barkley, Mike Trout, guys that have had a lot of not only success on and off the court or the diamond or the field, but also their struggles what they went through early in their careers.
I think the message was resounding to our young players on how to be a professional, how to handle the spotlight and then what they have overcome in their careers to have success. I think that was so important to show it from these guys and have them come in and speak to the team.
Again, we simply have to commend the outside-the-box thinking from the Eagles here.
Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports