Eagles

Would it be feasible for Eagles to quarantine a QB in 2020? 

Would it be feasible for Eagles to quarantine a QB in 2020? 

The NFL is still planning to have training camps kick off in late July with extensive guidelines in place to encourage social distancing. The league has already reportedly chopped the preseason in half. And the NFL is now thinking about having fans sign a waiver if they want to attend games in 2020.

Even if there is a 2020 NFL season, it’s not going to be a normal one. 

The NFL is still hoping to have a season during the COVID-19 pandemic, but if it actually happens it’s going to be unlike any NFL season we’ve ever seen. And some teams are already preparing for the real possibility that some of their players test positive. 

Back in early June, on Chris Long’s Green Light podcast, Bucs coach Bruce Arians said he might actually quarantine one of his quarterbacks so they won’t be left without one. 

It’s a valid thought. Quarterback is the most important position in football and if coronavirus ends up going through a quarterback room, it could sink a season. 

After Arians’ comment to Long, I had a chance to ask Eagles head coach Doug Pederson if he had thought through those scenarios and if he would entertain the possibility of quarantining a quarterback. 

He didn’t shoot it down. 

Obviously there are a lot of ways to go about things, and that's one way to do it,” Pederson said on June 16. “If you do it with the quarterback position, do you do it with a receiver, do you do it with a defensive back, something like that. But these are all things that right now, between now and the time we play are really — or I should say the time we get back to training camp, are the scenarios that we need to as a staff think through and the possibilities. 

“But that is definitely something to consider as you move forward to protect the quarterback position, but at the same time you have to think about the entire roster, as well. A lot of different scenarios and a lot of possibilities we'll think about here in the next few weeks.

In Tampa Bay, Arians has Tom Brady as his starter and his second- and third-string quarterbacks are Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Griffin. Both Gabbert and Griffin were with Arians in Tampa Bay last year, so Griffin (the third-stringer) would be a good candidate to quarantine. He’s a 30-year-old lifetime backup who has been in Tampa Bay since 2015. 

The Eagles’ don’t have that same setup. 

The starter obviously can’t be quarantined; Wentz needs first-team practice reps. 

And their depth chart at QB looks like this: Wentz, Nate Sudfeld, Jalen Hurts, Kyle Lauletta. 

For the Eagles, the idea of quarantining their third-string quarterback won’t work. Hurts is a second-round rookie who is coming into a season without any spring workouts. He needs to spend as much time around Wentz and the coaching staff as possible. Forget the idea of keeping him out of the QB room. 

So that leaves Sudfeld and Lauletta. It’s hard to imagine the Eagles keeping four quarterbacks, so if Lauletta is still around, he’ll be on the practice squad. But he has just one year with the Eagles under his belt and is a young player who would probably benefit more from being with players and coaches. (And I mean no disrespect to Lauletta, but if the season ends up coming down to him, things have gone terribly wrong.) 

That means the most obvious guy to quarantine if the Eagles decide to go that route would be Sudfeld. It would be a strange situation, having your backup quarterback quarantining throughout the week because on game day, he’d need to be active and then join the team. It wouldn’t work out perfectly, but it’s not exactly like there’s an ideal situation in any of this. 

If it isn’t Sudfeld, maybe the Eagles can just ask quasi-retired Josh McCown to quarantine and stay ready at home. Crazier things have happened. 

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What keeps Jason Kelce feeling young going into his 10th season

What keeps Jason Kelce feeling young going into his 10th season

For Jason Kelce, training camp is just as much about bonding with teammates and getting to know the new guys as it is about getting out on the practice field and grinding.

So far this summer, the bonding part has been a lot harder than usual.

Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand all the parameters that are in place to keep things safe,” Kelce said Tuesday. “But that somewhat comes at the expense of the personal connections and the ability to talk to new guys and to forge relationships. It’s a little bit less so when somebody’s covering half their face with a mask.

You can always leave it to Kelce to put everything perfectly in perspective.

Kelce is beginning his 10th year with the Eagles and said he always feeds off the energy and passion that the younger guys on the team bring to the meeting rooms and practice field.

He makes a great point when he says how the Eagles’ 2019 season really turned around when those young guys were forced to start playing bigger roles. 

They were 5-7 and going nowhere with a largely veteran cast.

“As some of these young guys played, it almost felt like it really rejuvenated the whole team, especially at a point in the season when we were really trending in the wrong direction,” Kelce said. “All of a sudden these young guys come in, Greg Ward, Boston Scott, Miles Sanders turned it on. All these guys were really huge for us down the stretch. You always need balance. You need experience, you need energy, you need intelligence and you need some gusto and it’s really fun to work with these guys.”

Ward, Scott and Sanders were at the heart of the Eagles’ 4-0 finish that turned led to an NFC East title and a playoff berth.

GM Howie Roseman made a concerted effort to get younger this offseason, and despite late additions like Jason Peters and Vinny Curry, the Eagles have gone from the 3rd-oldest team in the NFL as of opening day last year to 11th-youngest today, according to Spotrac.

“Having young guys around really helps, to be honest with you,” Kelce said. “It really engages you. Having a guy who comes in and is playing in the NFL for the first time realizing his life’s ambitions and dreams coming to fruition for the first time, those guys naturally have a lot of energy, and I think that’s where balance in a team comes.”

Kelce turns 33 in November and is the 3rd-oldest player in the roster, behind Jason Peters (38) and DeSean Jackson (33). Only five others have hit 30.

The current 80-man roster has 29 players who are 23 or younger.

It’s all helping keep the three-time all-pro center feeling young as he continues to build on one of the great careers in Eagles history.

Kelce came into the NFL with Jaiquawn Jarrett, Casey Matthews, Fireman Danny and other guys who have long since faded into NFL oblivion.

“I’m really enjoying some of these guys, the new personalities that we have,” he said. “That does a good job of keeping you energized.”

And an energized Jason Kelce is very good news for the Eagles.

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Doug Pederson back coaching after clearing COVID-19 protocols

Doug Pederson back coaching after clearing COVID-19 protocols

Some good news from the NovaCare Complex on Wednesday morning: Doug Pederson is back to work. 

Pederson, 52, had been away from the team facility since early August when he tested positive for COVID-19. He informed his team on the evening of Aug. 2 and had been out since then. In order to return, Pederson had to pass the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols. 

While Pederson ran virtual meetings from his home, assistant head coach/running backs coach Duce Staley took over all in-person head coaching responsibilities while Pederson was quarantined. 

Before Pederson even tested positive, he spoke about the need for the Eagles to have contingency plans for all players and coaches. The Eagles had to use their contingency plan for him pretty early. 

But Pederson noted he was lucky in a way to contract the virus when he did. In fact, the timing worked out great. The Eagles enter the Gradual Ramp Up Period of training camp on Wednesday, which means Pederson will be able to coach the first practice of the summer in person. 

Despite his positive test, Pederson remained confident about a 2020 season. 

“My confidence hasn’t changed at all. I’m extremely optimistic,” Pederson said on Aug. 3. “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.”

While there’s no list for coaches, the Eagles have placed three players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Of those three, who were placed on the list in late July, Lane Johnson and Nathan Gerry have been cleared to return to action. Only Jordan Mailata remains on the list. 

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