Q. Injuries, can you give us a little update on some of the guys? Is OL Isaac Seumalo going to be activated to the roster? And where do some of these COVID cases put you at wide receiver? (Jeff McLane)
DOUG PEDERSON: Speaking of Isaac, Isaac has had a really good week of practice. I fully expect, anticipate him being active and being available for this game. Obviously today is a big day for him and us, but I would anticipate him being cleared and ready for this football game.
And then as it relates to the COVID players, obviously I can’t speak specifically about them, but from a receiver standpoint, we are still okay with the guys that we have on the 53 [man] active [roster] that would be in this ballgame.
Q. The news this morning that Browns DE Myles Garrett is going to miss this game, how big of a loss is that for the Browns? (Dave Zangaro)
DOUG PEDERSON: Well, I think obviously he’s a tremendous football player and he’s definitely in the discussions for Defensive Player of the Year. He’s having a heck of a season, leader of that football team. Listen, I can’t speak specifically on their behalf, but I know that if it was obviously one of our players in that position, it’s a blow.
But you know what, just like us, the next guy steps up, the next guy has to play, next guy is going to be prepared. He’s going to play hard. And listen, there’s 10 other guys on that defense that can also play, and it’s a good defense. We’ve got to be ready. We’ve got to be focused in and dialed in on what we’re doing.
Q. For the first few years here you really used that running-back-by-committee approach. It seems like that isn’t happening right now, that you’re really relying on RB Miles Sanders and RB Boston Scott is only getting carries when Miles is not in. Is that accurate, and if so, why have you moved away from that organizational philosophy? (Ed Kracz)
DOUG PEDERSON: I would say that’s accurate. We knew when we drafted Miles that he was potentially and still is a guy that could go three downs for us and be a bigger part of our offensive plans. That’s something that we’ve also talked about, I think, in the four, five years that I’ve been here of having that guy that we can rely on that way. Love Boston, love his energy, love what he’s provided for our offense. He’s a spark. Would like to find more ways of getting both of those guys on the field at the same time. I think it’s a dynamic duo with that.
And then we know what [RB] Corey [Clement] is about. Corey has been obviously a great special teams player for us and can come in in some situational roles, whether it be red zone, short yardage, four-minute, whatever it is, and get us some valuable minutes, and obviously had a really nice touchdown run last week.
I still think the philosophy is running back by committee. However, with Miles and what he’s been able to do, yeah, we’ve given more touches to him.
Q. Your offensive line, if you have Isaac this week, will you have G Nate Herbig, as well, do you think? (Les Bowen)
DOUG PEDERSON: Well, I don’t know. Again, we’ll get through today, see how Isaac does. Herbie [G Nate Herbig] is in the plans; Opeta [G Sua Opeta] is in the plans; we know [G/T] Matt Pryor is in the plans there. [T] Jack Driscoll obviously was up last week, will be ready to go again this week. There are options there, but we haven’t made the final decision yet on who that backup guard will be.
Q. On the offensive line, how much of an obstacle has it been to offensive success to have all this change? I know next man up and all that, but it’s been an extraordinary, eight different lineups in nine games, how different has this been from what you expected? (Les Bowen)
DOUG PEDERSON: Yeah, it’s been difficult. I’ll admit, having that — to me offensively you’ve got to have that continuity and that consistency with the up-front guys. That’s where everything starts with protection, the run game, all of it, right? It starts with those front five. And having this many combinations through nine, ten, 11 weeks of the season has been a challenge and it’s been a challenge for Coach Stoutland [offensive line/run game coordinator Jeff Stoutland] to prepare the next guy.
Listen, we’re not going to make excuses for it. We know it hasn’t been the best for us, but now I think hopefully in the next month and a half of the season, we can start getting that continuity and start getting that consistency and hopefully we can carry that on and sustain that the rest of the season.
Q. How do you make sure that WR Jalen Reagor blocks out the noise, focuses on what he can control, does all those things that you guys preach? It seemed he was a little frustrated earlier this week with some of the comparisons to other rookie receivers. How do you make sure that doesn’t become a thing? He’s a confident kid, so how do you make sure he just blocks that out? (Rob Maaddi)
DOUG PEDERSON: Well, I mean, obviously a lot of it on him is just not listening to the outside influence.
Now, easier said than done, especially with young players. But yeah, I talk to the team a lot about the comparison game. You can’t compare yourself with another rookie or player around the NFL. You don’t know what their structure is all about, what their offensive scheme is all about.
The other thing with Jalen is he’s missed some time with us. These last couple of weeks are just his first couple real games of playing and playing consistently. So, every game right now is a great opportunity for him to get better and to improve.
I’m excited for him. I’m excited for his future with the offense, with [QB] Carson [Wentz]. He’s a dynamic guy. He’s electric. He’s got great speed. And we’ve just got to keep him coming and keep him focused. I think it’s my job obviously as the head coach, but I know [wide receivers coach] Aaron Moorehead, his position coach, does a great job of communicating with him.
Q. With you guys heading into Cleveland this week, I wanted to ask you about former Eagles Vice President of Football Operations and current Browns Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry. He wasn’t here for a long time, about nine, ten months, and obviously is a well-regarded guy. Just how much did you get to know him? What did you think of him? And does that help to understand his thought process on building a team? Does that help you on a week like this? (John McMullen)
DOUG PEDERSON: Well, obviously a short period of time here, but got to know him, and just a great person, great human being, smart, understands how to build a roster. Obviously, he was here and learned from [Executive Vice President/General Manger] Howie [Roseman], and I’m sure [former Eagles Vice President of Player Personnel and current Jets General Manager] Joe Douglas a little bit.
But just — I think he has a different roster, and probably now maybe even a different approach to how he wants to build a roster. But he has a great eye for talent, obviously, and a lot of confidence in what he’s doing, and he’ll have success there. A lot of respect for what he did here, and then obviously we’ll see following his career in Cleveland how that turns out.
Q. You brought RB Jordan Howard back in on practice squad. Wondering if you can talk about — obviously he’s got great familiarity with the offense, didn’t work out in Miami. What do you see in him, and what could his role possibly evolve into? (Reuben Frank)
DOUG PEDERSON: Right now, just obviously got to get him cleared to get him back in the building and put him on practice squad, see where he’s at physically, see where he’s at mentally. I know it didn’t work out for him per se in Miami, but not going to focus on that as much as how he can come in and learn our system and be familiar with what we’re trying to do. I mean, he’s obviously a talented player who has helped us win some games here, and we’re excited to get him back. It adds depth, adds a little value. A veteran player obviously in that room.
We’ll see next week and see how he can just continue to help us. But yeah, we’re excited to get him back.
Q. Just rounding back to the injuries, is TE Zach Ertz on the same track as Isaac Seumalo, or does he need a little more time? (Tim McManus)
DOUG PEDERSON: Zach probably needs a little more time right now, but we’ll get him out there today running around again, see where he’s at. But this was a good week for him. Much like Isaac was last week, to get him back out there and get him running around with the team again was good. We’ll see at the end of the day how he feels before we make that determination.
Q. WR Alshon Jeffery obviously got to be in the game last week and get used to the speed. I was just curious if you noticed anything different in him from practice this week or maybe a little bit more comfort now that he’s kind of gotten his feet in the game? (Mike Kaye)
DOUG PEDERSON: I think each day he goes back out on the practice field, he gains confidence through his injury and playing. Limited role last week. Would hope to expand that a little more this week and get him some more opportunities in this football game. But I think each week that he continues to practice, he just gets stronger, game speed, all of that. Veteran player, so he knows and understands that.
But yeah, he’s looked good in practice. He looks quick. He looks fast. He catches everything his way, and just a big part of our offense and helping us potentially win.
Q. Can I get your reaction to the new PA regulations? Apparently now all players in all games in the state have to wear face coverings during games. Is that something that’s feasible and is that something you guys have talked about? (Nick Fierro)
DOUG PEDERSON: No, it was just brought to my attention this morning, but if it’s anything like what we did in San Francisco where players and coaches in game on the sidelines when they’re out of the game can wear face coverings — we know that we wear — if they’re in the game with their helmet on, they wear a particular face shield on their facemask. But it’s something we’re going to explore.
I don’t know if necessarily they can wear a face covering that covers their mouth and nose. There’s a mouthpiece that is a mouth guard that’s involved. There are all kinds of things that we’d have to work through. I would anticipate maybe if they’re out of the game on the sideline, yeah, I could see us wearing the masks and players wearing masks or something like that if they’re out of the football game.
Q. Getting back to Miles Sanders being a three-down running back, he was so efficient for you in the passing game last year, catching almost 80 percent of the targets, that’s down below 50 percent this year. That disconnect, what do you attribute it to? (Zach Berman)
DOUG PEDERSON: Really a lot of things. Defensive structure, number one. Teams are a little more conscious of him out of the backfield that way. I think with the emergence of some of our younger receivers has sort of — the ball kind of goes in a couple of different directions. There’s just a couple of factors there that have probably reduced his targets as a receiver, but nothing that — obviously we address it by game plan. And then if the defense gives us really the right coverage at the right time to be able to take advantage of that.
Some of those plays last year that we saw, we caught the right defense and he was able to get past a linebacker and/or a safety on a couple of nice catches.
We’re comfortable with him, obviously. We’d love to give him some opportunities even in the screen game, to get him the ball in the screen game and let his athleticism take over.
Q. When Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Lurie spoke to us before the season, he said with COVID and everything, you might have to be able to adjust with wide receivers possibly playing cornerback, et cetera. Now that you’re seeing like outbreaks pretty wide outbreaks around the league, including yourself, multiple cases and stuff, are you looking into scenarios like that more now, or has it kind of always been the case? (Martin Frank)
DOUG PEDERSON: It’s kind of always been the case, but at the same time now I think with the amount of outbreaks not only within the league, but I think within our country and around, it’s something in our game that having guys that have played maybe a DB in high school and now they’re a receiver, or an example would be like [WR] Greg Ward; he’s a receiver now but he played quarterback in college. Or a [CB] Michael Jacquet who was a receiver in college, now playing DB.
I think there’s some opportunity there if it continues or if it affects a position group that you would have to consider and have to plan for. But definitely feel confident in the protocols that are in place. We know now league-wide that the intensive protocols that having put in place league-wide to really protect the players and coaches that are inside the building, and we’ve got to continue to do that. It’s always got to be my message to the team to do that, and yet we have to be prepared if a position group or a couple of players were knocked out of it that we have alternative plans, yes.
Q. There was a bit of talk last week about practicing and practicing better, more like there was a game to be played. How after this week of practice do you think everything went, especially given you guys were thrown the curve with the COVID and all that this week? And you’ve got the hardest schedule in the league for the next five games, so how do you think things went this week overall, and how prepared are the guys and what’s their mentality right now? (Jamie Apody)
DOUG PEDERSON: As it pertains to the schedule, obviously it’s a great opportunity. It’s a great schedule moving forward. Our guys are always up to that task and the challenge ahead. That’s something that we look forward to.
I thought this week in practice, the energy has been extremely high, and the players know that how we practice is how we are going to play on game day. They know they have to clean some things up, and a lot of it has been addressed with the pre-snap penalties and things like that, and they’ve done a nice job on that. They’ve contained themselves a little bit. They’ve focused in a little bit this week, and they’re talking about it. They’re talking about it with their position groups.
I think from my standpoint not sort of beating them down with it but just communicating, having a nice conversation with them, just to reiterate the fact that, guys, we’ve got to take care of the business. I don’t mind guys making mistakes in practice. That’s where we need to make mistakes, right? But that’s where they have to stop, and you can’t carry that mistake over into the football game. So that’s what the guys have done this week, and it’s been a good week.