Doug Pederson League Meeting Highlights
(973espn.com) - Eagles coach Doug Pederson talked with reporters for an hour at the annual coaches breakest during the league meetings in Phoenix on Tuesday. Here are some of the highlights from the wide-ranging discussion:
-On Carson Wentz and the narrative that the franchise quarterback needs to be a better teammate, Pederson explained that being more accessible is a key to that and it's something that generally comes with time and maturation. Pederson doesn’t think Wentz has anything to prove, however: “He’s done a lot already.”
-As far as injury timetables, the Eagles avoid them at all costs but sure sounds like Wentz will be back before training camp. The Eagles will be very cautious with Fletcher Cox, who is coming off foot surgery, during the spring.
-At cornerback Jalen Mills, who is also coming off foot surgery, is going to be brought along slowly in the offseason and the eye is more toward training camp. Ronald Darby is also in that same boat as he rehabs from his torn ACL so Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas are going to get plenty of opportunities at outside cornerback in the spring.
-Pederson sounds very excited about the addition of Andrew Sendejo at safety and the versatility of Avonte Maddox but don't kid yourselves Maddox, and Mills and Douglas for that matter, are corners in the team's eyes.
-Pederson said that DeSean Jackson did yell at him after scoring in the Tampa Bay game: "You should have never let me go," and Doug responded, "I wasn't there." It was all good-natured and Pederson said he has a great relationship with Jackson although he's not allowed to talk with him during the dead period. Doug did congratulate DeSean when he signed the extension but jokes he was on pain meds from his own Achilles' surgery.
-When talking about his young receivers, Pederson mentioned Braxton Miller, the former Ohio State QB and third-round pick in Houston who was on the Eagles practice squad last season, before he got around to Shelton Gibson and Mack Hollins. Make of it what you will.
-Other young players Pederson mentioned when asked about the potential to step up were offensive linemen Matt Pryor and Jordan Mailata, Jones, safety Tre Sullivan, and quarterback Nate Sudfeld.
-Addressing the Michael Bennett trade Pederson said: "It gives him a chance to play and really be a starter, which is what he wanted to do," basically a confirmation that the Eagles were concerned about things going sideways with Bennett because Derek Barnett is returning from injury and would have been taking reps away from Bennett.
-Pederson said there's always room for improvement with his coaching and needs to stay on the "cutting edge" of aggressiveness. He is also always looking for ways to maximize the team's 10 OTA practices and wants to continue to increase the work on situational football. The coach is also always tweaking the schedule a bit to keep the players on their toes and engaged.
-Neither Chris Long or Darren Sproles have decided whether they want to continue playing or not but Pederson said he would love to have them both back.
-The Baltimore Ravens will be coming in for joint practices for a week in August.
-If he wasn't popular enough in Philadelphia Pederson confirmed he made a video encouraging Bryce Harper to sign with the Phillies. The gist of it was that Harper is his father-in-law's favorite player.
"I made a video and sent it to him that you need to be in Philly and that’s why he’s there," the coach joked.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen