EAGLES HEAD COACH DOUG PEDERSON PRESS CONFERENCE 7.27.2016
Q. The decision to move on from G/T Allen Barbre, why did you do it? (Zach Berman)
DOUG PEDERSON: Well, first of all, I appreciate everything Allen did for us last year for this organization, last couple of seasons, obviously. You know, again, it’s a situation where we feel real comfortable, I feel real comfortable with some of the young guys on our roster, and to make the move now, — and obviously it worked out that we were able to get something for Allen to do it now early. It allows him to be established and it allows our younger players to grow a little bit.
Q. It seemed even if he wasn’t going to start, he could fill that role as the swing-guard tackle. Why wasn’t that something you wanted to do? (Zach Berman)
DOUG PEDERSON: Well, again, it allows our younger players – [T] Dillon Gordon is right there; Big V [T Halapoulivaati Vaitai], a chance to work the tackle spot in there a little more. [We] just felt, again, [in the] best interest of, not only Allen, but our team moving forward. This was the best time to do it.
Q. Were there any limitations on WR Jordan Matthews today? He looked like he was pretty healthy.
DOUG PEDERSON: None, none. He had a great practice. He was full-go.
Q. Releasing DE Marcus Smith, I know he was not one of your picks, but how disappointing is it to have a first-round pick that doesn’t pan out like that?
DOUG PEDERSON: Well, obviously you want all your draft picks to make your squad. But again, every case is different. Again, we’re very pleased, very happy with some of the performances of our younger players. Again, it’s a great opportunity for Marcus now to get in with a camp and get picked up and continue his career.
Q. I know you talked early in the week about looking forward to this day and getting everyone at camp. How was it to be out there on Day One?
DOUG PEDERSON: Yeah, it was great. It started this morning, obviously, with our little physical conditioning test, guys really knocked it out and did a great job. [They were] very spirited out here today, and it was something that I kept talking to the team about throughout OTAs. This day is finally here, and we’re all excited.
Q. How do Xs and Os change offensively with the additions you made in the off-season to the offense? Did Xs and Os change? Do you expand the offense? (Dave Spadaro)
DOUG PEDERSON: No, no, we took what we worked and did well last year. That was part of our scheme evaluation as coaches this off-season and [we] take what we did best and make it better, and let our guys get one more rep at it. I think that’s the way you get better as an offense and a defense, is [to] just keep repping our stuff over and over, and that’s what we’ve done.
Q. Do you feel like you have more versatility with some of the places that you can put some of these talented players? With guys like RB Darren Sproles lining up and RB Donnel Pumphrey lining up around the formation also. (Dave Spadaro)
DOUG PEDERSON: You know, having a year under our belt, knowing what our guys can do and them knowing our system, it does give us some position versatility with some of our players, and that’s the — I guess that’s the fun thing about Year Two with our guys is being able to move them around in different spots and seeing what they can do, especially some of our runners who can be wide receivers. Again, you saw [RB] Byron Marshall who was out here today working as a receiver and Donnell Pumphrey and Sproles is out there. So it’s a chance to see our versatility at that position as receivers.
Q. As a follow-up to that, last obviously you were going into the season with QB Sam Bradford as the starter. How much was the offense catered toward him last year as opposed to this year where you have the full off-season knowing QB Carson Wentz is going to be the guy? (Brandon Lee Gowton)
DOUG PEDERSON: You know what, it actually wasn’t catered necessarily to Sam. We’re running the exact same plays that we did with Sam when he was here last year that we’re running with Carson and Nick [Foles]. There really wasn’t much of a change between the two quarterbacks.
Q. Eagles offensive coordinator, Frank Reich, was effusive in his praise yesterday for WR Greg Ward. What have you seen from him, and have you been pleasantly surprised by how well he is playing? (Paul Domowitch)
DOUG PEDERSON: Yeah, Greg has been one of the young players that, right now, he’s caught our attention, and he’s done — he’s a smart kid. Number one, he’s a former quarterback. So obviously, he knows what he’s doing, so just excited. Now, I think these next couple days we start getting the pads on, too, just to see where he is from a physical standpoint, as well. Then as we increase the volume of information and guys get tired and things like that, see where he is mentally. But right now, [I’m] pleased with his performance and what he’s done.
Q. Out there we saw a nice catch from WR Alshon Jeffery on the sideline where he went up and got it and Wentz has talked about his catch radius. Is there something, too, Wentz doesn’t have to think he has to be perfect about where he places the ball? (John Clark)
DOUG PEDERSON: Yeah, and that’s a good comfort for a quarterback to have. You don’t have to necessarily be pinpoint accurate down the field when you have guys that can leap and high point balls, and Alshon can do that. [He] did a great job today with the one [catch]. We talk about it all the time, you just have to read the technique of the corner, too. If you’ve got a chance to throw it down the field where our guy can go get it, we do. A guy like Alshon you can really throw it right on top of his head and he can go get it, and then we’ve got to continue working on that back shoulder throw. So there are really three types of throws that we can work. That just so happened to be one of those throw it on top of his head and allow him to make the play.
Q. Is Matthews out of the woods with his knee or is that something you have to keep monitoring? (Martin Frank)
DOUG PEDERSON: Yeah, with any injury, we’re going to monitor. But it’s full go with him, so we’ll go forward with that.
Q. Did RB LeGarrette Blount show up at the weight and shape you wanted him to show up in today? (Zach Berman)
DOUG PEDERSON: You know what, I’m not going to get into player weights and discuss that in public.
Q. As far as you go in Year Two, do you feel more comfortable putting your imprint on the defense and special teams and taking a bigger role to make sure it’s exactly what you want?
DOUG PEDERSON: Yeah, obviously I trust [Eagles defensive coordinator Jim] Schwartz and [Eagles special teams coordinator] Dave Fipp, obviously, they do a tremendous job. Obviously, Jim has called a ton of defenses in the National Football League, and my role this year will expand to the standpoint of just kind of diving in a little bit more to the understanding of how we’re attacking offenses, game-plan specific stuff on defense and on special teams.
Q. Is the plan with G Isaac Seumalo to have him exclusively at left guard or do you want him to take snaps at center? (Zach Berman)
DOUG PEDERSON: We’ll rotate him in there at center. I think it’s important that — again, he’s another one, [who has] position versatility, guard center, so we’ll rotate him in there.
Q. At certain points last year, you talked about how you and Wentz would go back and forth finding out things Wentz really likes in an offense. Was there even more of that in the off-season, and you go in this year knowing a lot better what he’s good at and likes? (John Clark)
DOUG PEDERSON: And that’s the reason for the 16 games last year for him. I think that’s the beauty of it for both of us is to go back, and I can get that feedback from Carson and understand what he does like, what he doesn’t like, and help our offense get better. I think that’s one thing, as coaches, we have to — this is the time to really listen and expand, whether it be a technique or a route that our players really like. And so listening to our guys, now is the time in camp to kind of fine-tune that and maybe experiment a little bit with some of that stuff and see if it’s going to be something we can continue on into the season.
Q. How impressed have you been with the work level of Wentz off the field? How much film he watches and how much time he spends in the building doing all of those tangible things?
DOUG PEDERSON: Yeah, it is a little hard in the off-season when they can’t be in our building studying that film, but with technology and iPads and things of that nature — even through OTAs, he’s in here, he’s constantly learning, studying, and wants to get better. I mean, that’s — can’t ask for anything more. He’s definitely putting in the work and putting in the time, and it’s paying off even with the guys he’s working with because they’re responding to his work ethic, as well.
Q. Going back to late last year after the losses to Green Bay, Seattle, Cincinnati and Washington, it seemed like it was a critical juncture for you as a coach and important that the team finish strong, which they did, they played well against Baltimore and the two wins. Was that important for this team going forward as far as carryover? (Paul Domowitch)
DOUG PEDERSON: I think so. I look back on the end of the season and how well our guys played, they battled to the end. It gave me the confidence that I knew going forward that they believed in me, they believed in what I was talking — I wasn’t — they can see through the BS. Players can see through that. I mean, that’s just — I’m open. I’m honest. I’m up front with the guys, and you speak from your heart sometimes, and they take it to heart. That’s what they did at the end of the season.
It’s great because now we can look back and we can learn from those experiences. And going forward, we can hopefully finish those games and come out on top of most of those defeats.