EAGLES 2017 TRAINING CAMP: PEDERSON IS TAKING NO CHANCES WITH JEFFERY’S SHOULDER
When you spend $14 million on a one-year deal for a wide receiver you believe can impact your season, you take no chances when he suffers even the slightest injury.
Free agent acquisition Alshon Jefferey suffered a minor shoulder injury on Sunday and was listed as day to day.
Will it’s been more than four days since anyone has seen Jeffery on the practice field.
Naturally, when head coach Doug Pederson spoke on Friday he was asked if his No.1 receiver was a possible scratch for next Thursday’s preseason opener in Green Bay.
“As of now, I can’t tell you because I haven’t set the rosters yet.” Pederson said, doing his best to avoid a difinitive answer.
It was brought up that Jeffery had not practicd all week.
“That’s all right,” Pederson said. “That’s all right. I mean, listen, I gave him a day today. He’s got a day off tomorrow, and the more I can just give him rest — that’s the same thing I did with Chris today, Chris Long. Just a vet day and time to rest up. We’re not playing games for a while, games that matter anyway, and we’re getting ready for Washington.”
Pederson was asked if Jeffery missed practice because of a rest day or because of the injury and is the injury worse than it was first believed?
“No, no,” the second-year coach said. “Initially, it was a strain, and then just giving him extra rest on the shoulder.”
Pederson was asked about all his recievers and how they all seem to be playing better than last year.
“Yeah, I would say so,” Pederson said. “Mike is a great teacher, obviously, and I think, too, the other thing on that is they’re in the system for the second year. By the time we get to training camp, our players have repped these plays numerous and countless times. The information is very familiar to those guys. When I can rest a guy like Alshon or [WR] Torrey [Smith] for a day, these younger guys get a lot more reps, and it just helps.
The rest of the press conference:
Q. With all the mechanics and different things that QB Carson Wentz worked on in the off-season from last year to now, do you see him out here like it’s second nature to him? Or do you still think this is a time where he’s trying to trust that? Where do you think he is in the process?
DOUG PEDERSON: Well, you definitely see the carryover from the off-season. Things he’s worked on, he’s brought it over into practice. I think any professional at any position is constantly working their skill. That’s the only way you get better. He’s doing that every single day. We keep – [Eagles offensive coordinator] Frank [Reich] and [Eagles quarterbacks coach John] DeFilippo stay on him about his mechanics and keep working his feet and all the quarterbacks. We want it to be second nature, and right now, he’s very comfortable with the pocket and with the drop. And again, just understanding the scheme of what we’re doing really helps his drop, in general, and where to go with the ball.
Q. You know from playing the game that it would be easy in a pinch to go back to what you’ve known your whole life just because that’s …
DOUG PEDERSON: Yeah, human nature says you always go back to what you know. But the thing with Carson is he can forget about that and he can press on with the new teaching and the information that he’s been given. And that’s the growth, those incremental growth with that quarterback position, with Carson, and he’s done a great job.
Q. Getting back to S Corey Graham, you said you’re going to start him at safety …
DOUG PEDERSON: Not start him, but he’s going to be in the rotation.
Q. Is cornerback something Graham can still do at this point?
DOUG PEDERSON: We’ve got to see. It’s been three years since he’s played, so we’ve got to see that when he gets here.
Q. You’ve had T Dillon Gordon at fullback since the spring. Do you feel comfortable with him moving forward at that spot?
DOUG PEDERSON: Yeah, it’s something we’re going to continue to develop, continue to work. By no means is one day enough reps for him at that position. We’re going to continue to grow that spot, hopefully with him, and get him more opportunities.
Q. Does his versatility enable him to be one of the guys that will be active on game days?
DOUG PEDERSON: It’s hard. That’s so far away. Right now, we just want to make sure he understands his assignment and get him going in the right direction.
Q. Getting back to the quarterbacks, are you happy with how quickly they get the ball out? The internal clock for all the guys, today, seemed like it was a little bit longer. Are you happy with where they are at?
DOUG PEDERSON: Yeah, and today we worked some two-minute. We obviously worked a little red zone and two-point plays, offensively. Defensively, it was a 3rd-and-long situation, so they’re naturally going to have to hold the ball a little bit longer as we service our defense. But, overall, the way the ball is coming out of their hand, I like that. I like it coming out. They understand the rush, the timing of the throw, and any time — listen, any time we can check it down to a back or a tight end is positive.
Q. Just for clarity on Alshon Jeffery, are the injuries behind him?
DOUG PEDERSON: Yeah, and it’s just a matter of keeping him rested. And again, it’s — we’re not playing a game. So I’ve seen a lot from him, probably more so than what you guys have seen, and I’m comfortable with where he’s at with our offense. I’m going to make sure he’s healthy going into the season.
Q. Have you decided if he’ll play in the first preseason game yet?
DOUG PEDERSON: I haven’t decided that yet.
Q. What’s LB Mychal Kendricks’ status as far as the quad injury?
DOUG PEDERSON: That’s a day-to-day. I talked to him today, and he feels really good.
Q. You had a couple new punt returners today at the end of practice?
DOUG PEDERSON: Yeah, yeah, it was really good to see their athleticism. Maybe if we get in a pinch, we stick them back there.
Q. Was that to end the day early today for them?
DOUG PEDERSON: No, from time to time I just like to keep it fresh. And me and the guys, we got a little thing going, so there’s a little competition. And they’ll be rewarded later on today.
Q. What was on the line with K Caleb Sturgis trying a 50 some-yard field goal?
DOUG PEDERSON: What was on the line? Again, it’s between the team and I. We worked out a couple of things. And I think this is — the guys has been working extremely hard, and I want to make sure that they’re rewarded for that.
Q. That would have been the end of practice if he had made that, right?
DOUG PEDERSON: No. We were going to finish practice.
Q. How is QB Nick Foles progressing?
DOUG PEDERSON: Good, good. Again, day-to-day. This rest is helping him, so we’ll see where he’s at through the next couple of days and try to get him back on the field.
Q. What was the carrot hanging out there on that long field goal from Sturgis? You pulled the team together and then you had him kick.
DOUG PEDERSON: That was between me and the guys. I mean, that’s the beauty of being the head coach, I think, sometimes. You get to — sometimes their voices can be heard, so we had a little friendly wager there, and they’ll be rewarded later.
Q. After this off day, is practice going to be structured differently next week going into the game?
DOUG PEDERSON: No, no. We’re going to stay — the Linc practice on Sunday is going to be the same format we had the last time we were there. They’ll be in full pads really the next couple days even after that. We’re still installing plays offensively and defensively, so — and as you guys know, you get into these first couple games and you’re trying to get everybody reps and you’re trying to evaluate your roster. We’ve got to continue to do that and make sure the guys are ready, especially our younger guys, going into these first couple games.
Q. Have you decided how long Wentz will play Thursday night?
DOUG PEDERSON: Haven’t decided that. Frank [Reich] and I will sit down with Flip and try to get a rotation probably early next week.
Q. What is the feedback you are getting from WR Jordan Matthews in terms of how he’s doing with his knee?
DOUG PEDERSON: He’s doing good. Again, he’s another one that I talk to on a daily basis. He feels good. He’s been moving around good, and I think he’s improving each day.