Now in the fourth week of the virtual offseason, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson still doesn’t know if training camp will start on time because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But he’s preparing like it will.
“I’m preparing as if we’re going to be back in our building for training camp,” Pederson said on a Zoom call with reporters Tuesday morning.
“Nothing is definite, nothing has been said, obviously, but I’m preparing that way. To be back in the building, hopefully by mid-July so we can be on the grass. That’s my preparation, that’s my mindset right now as I prepare for training camp.”
For reference, the Eagles reported to training camp last year on July 24 and held their first training camp practice on July 25. So we’re a little over two months away from the projected start date in 2020.
Pederson on Tuesday did make it clear that he thinks his players will need a full training camp to be ready for a regular season. So, logically, if the start of training camp is delayed significantly, beginning the 2020 regular season on time might not be possible given safety concerns.
I do think because we’ve missed the entire offseason, it’s going to take all of the five to six weeks that we have of training camp to be prepared for a regular season,” Pederson said.
“I do think that a full training camp moving forward would prepare you. I do think you can get in enough contact in, I do think you can get enough padded practices in. You’d have to maximize those. At the same time, you’d have to be smart to get your guys ready and prepared for that opening weekend.
The Eagles are scheduled to kick off their regular season on the road against the Redskins on Sept. 13.
While many NFL teams have been allowed to reopen their facilities this week, the NovaCare Complex in South Philadelphia remains closed because of the stay-home order in the state of Pennsylvania.
The Eagles’ facility has been closed since March 12, when the team also pulled its scouts off the road.
Pederson on Tuesday didn’t have an answer when asked about the protocols that might be in place once the facility is allowed to open and possibly host practices. He said Eagles chief medical officer Dr. Arsh Dhanota has been working with their team of doctors and trainers to formulate a plan.
The Eagles began their virtual offseason back on April 27 with workouts for veterans; Pederson said attendance was great for the voluntary sessions. On May 11, rookies were allowed to join in, so this is the second week of the virtual offseason for the entire team.
Pederson said he’s putting trust in his players to take the virtual offseason seriously and stay in shape.
I just didn’t want guys to be idle,” Pederson said. “I think when you become idle, it becomes a challenge. This way, it gets the guys up, it gets the guys moving, it gets the guys thinking about football.
“Is it right? I don’t know. We still don’t know if training camp is going to start on time. But at the same time, I do know at least we’re getting some football done and hopefully we’ll be better off for it.
Hopefully, we’ll find out in July.
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