ORLANDO, Fla. — While several reporters gathered at the round table next to Doug Pederson and piled their plates full of eggs, fruit and breakfast meats, Pederson decided to go without. The questions were plenty filling.
The Eagles' head coach arrived at his hour-long media session a tad before the 7:15 a.m. start time and after jokingly checking his watch a few times, agreed to begin. He even went a bit long.
Plenty of other topics too. Here are a few more:
• The Eagles lost several pieces, including Vinny Curry, Patrick Robinson, Beau Allen and LeGarrette Blount. Then, they brought in players like Bennett, Haloti Ngata and Mike Wallace. Pederson was asked about trying to keep the chemistry from last year's Super Bowl run.
"I don't know if you keep it as much as you rebuild it again," he said. "Our team will be different. It's just the nature."
• The process of rebuilding that chemistry will begin this spring at OTAs. During Pederson's two years, attendance at the "voluntary" training sessions has been nearly perfect, but this year the Eagles played into February. Pederson understands players' bodies might not have had a long time to recover, but he can be smart with the workload he puts on them in the spring. He hopes the attendance stays up.
"When we left back in February, I encouraged everybody — that was gonna be a concern," he said. "And when I talk about the other side of success, that's what I talk about. Guys not showing up for OTAs. Guys not showing up for the offseason program, thinking they've arrived. I don't think that we have that kind of group. It is hard when you can't communicate with them in the offseason."
• Pederson was asked to name a player who could step up like Nelson Agholor did in 2017. He named Sidney Jones and Mack Hollins first before mentioning Derek Barnett and four young receivers (Greg Ward, Rashard Davis, Bryce Treggs, Shelton Gibson).
• The Eagles have to find a new slot cornerback after Robinson left in free agency on a pricey deal from New Orleans. Pederson said Jalen Mills and Daryl Worley can both play inside and Mills has the ability to play outside in the base package and move inside on nickel, so that's an option.
The slot corner spot is much different from playing outside; it takes a different kind of player.
"One, you gotta have a good change of direction, your short-area quickness," Pederson said. "You don't necessarily have to have the long speed in there. You've got to be tough as nails, you know? You've got to be able to stick your nose in there and make a tackle."
• At tight end, the Eagles lost Trey Burton in free agency and cut Brent Celek, so they have to replace them. Pederson wouldn't rule out bringing in a free agent or drafting a TE. He also mentioned Billy Brown and Adam Zaruba, two younger players already on the roster. Pederson also said he wouldn't rule out bringing back Celek on a cheaper deal (although that seems unlikely).
• Cameron Johnston is the only punter on the roster. Pederson said there's a chance they bring in another to compete with him.
• When asked if he could call the "Philly Special" again, Pederson said no. "There's no way you can call that again," he said. "It's out there."
He wouldn't say it's dead, though, just on the back burner: "[It] may retire and come back."