Doug Pederson preparing as if Eagles training camp will start on time

Doug Pederson preparing as if Eagles training camp will start on time

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. 

Subscribe and rate the Eagle Eye podcast: 
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles 

Eagle Eye podcast: What Jason Peters move means for Andre Dillard, plus much more

Eagle Eye podcast: What Jason Peters move means for Andre Dillard, plus much more

On the latest Eagle Eye podcast, Reuben Frank and Barrett Brooks take a long look at the Eagles’ decision to bring back Jason Peters.

They get into what the move means for Andre Dillard, whether Peters will ultimately end up back at left tackle, how long J.P. might be able to extend his career if he stays at guard, how long it will take him to adjust to a new position and and much more. 

They also looked at defensive tackle and defensive end on the All-Time Eagles Team and whether Fletcher Cox or Jerome Brown is the greatest defensive tackle in Eagles history. 

(0:42) — Jason Peters back with the Eagles to play right guard

(27:18) — Jerome vs. Fletcher 

More on the Eagles

Eagles fans won't be allowed at games this fall, health officials say

Eagles fans won't be allowed at games this fall, health officials say

Eagles fans should start coming to grips with watching games from their couch in 2020.

After the city of Philadelphia cancelled "large public events" through February 2021 on Tuesday, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, health officials provided an update on the feasability of fans watching Eagles games in person.

Philadelphia Department of Health commissioner Thomas Farley and Philadelphia managing director Brian Abernathy made it sound all but certain that Lincoln Financial Field stands will be empty.

Per the Inquirer:

"I do think that games can be played with the kind of safety precautions that they're proposing. I do not think that they can have spectators at those games. There’s no way for them to be safe having a crowd there," Farley said. "I can't say what the plans are for the league, but from a safety perspective, they can play games but not [have] crowds."

"The Eagles are still going to be allowed to play, although without crowds. The Phillies will continue to be allowed to play, although without crowds," Managing Director Brian Abernathy said.

Abernathy said NFL guidelines also "remind teams that local authorities have the ability to ban fans, so I don't expect any issues."

"We have been in communication with the Eagles. We have told them our expectations are that they don't have fans," Albernathy said.

Whether other teams around the country will be able to host fans, based on differing guidance from state officials, remains to be seen. Earlier this month, reports emerged claiming the NFL is considering fan waivers for those interested in attending home games this season.

A season without home fans also means the Eagles stand to lose a sizable sum of money if the NFL plays its 17-week regular season as scheduled.

As NBC Sports Philadelphia's Dave Zangaro noted, the Eagles will be one of the 10 teams most affected (financially) by a lack of fans at home games:

The Eagles in 2018 were tied for eighth in the NFL with $204 million in stadium revenue. Just the Cowboys, Patriots, Giants, Texans, Jets 49ers and Redskins made more.

In late June, the organization informed season ticket holders that their ticket installment payments would not be billed, fueling speculation that games would be played in empty stadiums this fall. 

Barring a drastic change in the pandemic's trajectory between now and early September, it seems that speculation was right.

Subscribe and rate the Eagle Eye podcast: 
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19

More on the Eagles