Eagles

Doug Pederson will know Week 1 starting QB by Friday, but don't expect him to tell you

Doug Pederson will know Week 1 starting QB by Friday, but don't expect him to tell you

Doug Pederson will know this Friday who his starting quarterback for the season opener against Atlanta will be. 

Just don’t expect him to announce it. 

Pederson, at his press conference Tuesday morning, admitted he’ll know on Friday whether it’ll be Carson Wentz or Nick Foles playing in Week 1 against the Falcons on Sept. 6. 

As for the rest of us? 

“Deadline? 90 minutes before kickoff,” Pederson said.

That, of course, is when the Eagles will have to announce their inactive players and starter changes before the game against the Falcons. It’s hard to imagine no one will find out until then. 

The Falcons’ not knowing which quarterback they’re going to face, is a clear advantage for the Eagles. It’s an advantage the Eagles and Pederson aren’t going to give away freely until they absolutely have to. 

The Friday date makes sense because Pederson will need to go forward with a game plan for Week 1 when practice begins on Sunday. This week, Foles and Wentz have evenly split first-team reps with the starting offense. That’s fine for now, but in a real game prep week, the starting quarterback needs to get those valuable first-team reps in practice. 

Pederson admitted as much. 

“Obviously, when you get into the regular season and start game-planning, you want whoever that gentleman is going to be to take the full complement of reps,” he said. 

As Wentz recovers from his torn ACL and LCL, the last hurdle for him to get over is to be cleared for contact. If the doctors don’t clear him, he won’t play. And then the Super Bowl MVP starts the season.  

But all signs have been positive recently for Wentz. After a long layoff from doing 11-on-11s, Wentz returned to full-team drills last week and has resumed them this week. 

Pederson was asked if he noticed the difference in Wentz from early in training camp in full-team drills and now. 

“His arm, I made a comment that his arm was live and throwing some really nice throws and strong,” Pederson said. “And when he came back into the 11-on-11, one of the noticeable changes or differences, was just his lower-body strength and how well he’s progressed through his rehab and conditioning. 

“Those are things … I would say he’s physically stronger than, say, Nick (Foles) or Joe (Callahan) or even Christian (Hackenberg) because those guys have been practicing and getting all the time. I think it’s realistic to say he’s probably a little more conditioned at this point in camp than the other guys.”

It seems like Wentz is on a good path to be ready for the opener. 

But Pederson won’t know until Friday. The rest of the world, if things go the way the head coach wants, won’t know until the day of the game. 

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Doug Pederson discusses positive COVID test, coaching layoff

Doug Pederson discusses positive COVID test, coaching layoff

Doug Pederson, speaking from quarantine at his South Jersey home, emphasized Monday that he believes the NovaCare Complex could not be any safer.

Pederson wouldn’t comment when asked specifically if he believes he contracted COVID-19 away from the Eagles’ South Philadelphia training complex, but it did sound that way.

“This is something I don’t necessarily want to comment on for myself or speculate on anyone else obviously,” Pederson said. “I’m just going to reiterate the fact that I feel very good about the safety of our building and the protocols that we have in place. That’s one thing I do know, and going through this has reinforced that for me at this time.”

The Eagles announced Sunday that Pederson tested positive for the virus. With training camp continuing in Philadelphia, Pederson remains separated from the team indefinitely.

Although quarterbacks coach Press Taylor was sent home because he had worked in close quarters with Pederson, there haven’t been any other reports of positive tests in the NovaCare.

Three veteran players, Lane Johnson, Nate Gerry and Jordan Mailata, went on the COVID reserve list before reporting to camp. Of those three, only Johnson is known to have contracted the virus.

“I’m very comfortable and confident that the protocols we have in place at the NovaCare are in the best interest of the football team and all those who enter the building,” Pederson said. “It still is a very safe environment. One of the things we all need to learn and what I need to learn taking away from this is that obviously we need to protect ourselves when we’re in the community, away from the building.”

Pederson said he’s in constant communication with his players, coaches and staff, and in that way this period is not unlike the spring, when Pederson led daily team activities through Zoom calls.

Pederson said he has no symptoms but is quarantining himself from his family members until he tests negative and is cleared to return to work.

“I’m feeling great,” he said Monday afternoon on a Zoom call. “Energy level is high, really no symptoms whatsoever. I’m very fortunate because this virus attacks (all) people a little bit differently.”

Although Pederson is able to run team meetings and meet with players virtually, he can’t be on the field, and starting Tuesday, teams are allowed to hold non-contact, non-padded walkthroughs.

Duce Staley, who holds the dual title of running backs coach and assistant head coach, is running these practices.

Staley, Pederson’s teammate here in 1999, has been on the Eagles’ coaching staff for 10 years.

“Duce being assistant head coach, he assumes my role, the day-to-day activities in the building,” Pederson said. “He and I talk every single morning, I give him sort of my thoughts on where I’m leading and what I’m thinking and then he carries that message forward. He’s done a great job so far and will continue to.”

But make no mistake about it … this is still Pederson’s team.

“One of the things I learned during the offseason is that I can still run the team virtually and that’s what I’ve been able to do today and yesterday, holding staff meetings, team meetings, things of that nature,” he said.

How long will Pederson be out?

It’s impossible to tell. 

“I’m not going to speculate on a timetable for me,” he said. “Treat it just like players. When I’m back I’m back.”

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Doug Pederson still confident about season after contracting COVID-19

Doug Pederson still confident about season after contracting COVID-19

Despite testing positive for COVID-19, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is still confident there will be a 2020 NFL season. 

The Eagles are already in an altered training camp and the beginning of the season is still scheduled for Sept. 13 in Washington. 

Pederson says things are still full-steam ahead: 

My confidence hasn’t changed at all. I’m extremely optimistic,” Pederson said on a Zoom call with reporters Monday afternoon. “I feel like we’re going to play. I’m confident that we’re going to play. 

“It’s unfortunate. Like I told my team last night, this virus, it holds no prejudices, right? It doesn’t matter. It can affect any one of us. I’m sure many of you have had family members or loved ones or people you know who have been affected by this virus. That part of it doesn’t matter. It’s just the fact that we’ve got to abide by the protocols that are in place. They’re in place for a reason, our safety. Our building is a great place to be. It is a safe place to be for our players and our coaches and all who are involved. 

“I’m looking forward. It’s full-steam ahead for me. Obviously, I’m itching to get back in the building at some point and be around our players and get these guys ready for a season.

Pederson, 52, informed his team that he tested positive on Sunday night. He is quarantining away from his family in his South Jersey home until he’s allowed to return to the NovaCare Complex. Pederson is asymptomatic and said he’s feeling great. He’ll continue to coach virtually and assistant head coach/running backs coach Duce Staley will handle any in-person head coaching responsibilities. 

According to the NFL’s protocol, Pederson might not miss too much time. He will be allowed to return if either 10 days have passed since his first positive test or five days have passed and he tests negative twice at least 24 hours apart during those five days. The Eagles’ head physician must also sign off on Pederson’s return to the building. So he could theoretically be back at the NovaCare Complex later this week. 

Pederson on Monday noted that he’s lucky he contracted the virus now and not during the season. There’s a chance he might not miss any of the Eagles’ practices. 

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