Q. I wanted to ask you about a few injury guys, TE Zach Ertz, what are his chances for Sunday? And then we saw DT Fletcher Cox pop up on the injury report this week. How is he feeling for Sunday, and CB Darius Slay as well? (Rob Kuestner)
DOUG PEDERSON: All three of those guys are doing well. Some of it was precaution, in Fletcher’s case.
But we’ll get through today. We’ll see where both, or really all three of those guys are, but big day today, tomorrow, but I’m hopeful that all three will go.
Q. On the play-calling front, it sounds like you have already been doling out some play-calling responsibilities. Can you kind of take us into what you have been doing and what the plan is for this Sunday? (Tim McManus)
DOUG PEDERSON: I really don’t want to take you into why I’m doing that. I don’t want to give a lot out to our opponents and really kind of spill any kind of beans there.
I’ve told you guys before that everything is on the table and it will be my decision moving forward, if we continue down this path, if I divvy it up. You guys have always said this, I’ve said this before, that our process on offense is a very collaborative one as far as game planning goes. All the coaches, all the position coaches have a lot of input into the scheme each week, and then it’s ultimately my decision as to calling the plays or if I give that up.
Q. Can I ask how you feel like it’s gone in the situations where you have divvied it up? (Reuben Frank)
DOUG PEDERSON: Great. It’s been going good. It’s been smooth. The transition’s fine. It’s okay. It hasn’t been a lot, but something I’ll consider each week.
Q. We have talked about growing pains with the young, inexperienced receivers, growing pains with some of the young offensive linemen. As far as that collaborative process with new voices in the offensive coaching room, have there been, could there be some growing pains that you guys are still trying to adjust to, especially when you didn’t have an off-season together and any of the OTA’s and all that stuff? (Rob Maaddi)
DOUG PEDERSON: Maybe way back in March and April when we first got together as a staff, but everybody’s on the same page. We talk through a lot of different scenarios and situations and it’s been really good. It’s obviously been seamless and we still work through our issues each and every day and try to stay on top of situations that might come up during the game, even in game, the communication we have has been really good.
But maybe early on in the process when we were trying to get to know each other a little bit it could be a little bit harder, but it’s been good since.
Q. Just to go back to the play calling again, which I’m sure you’ll be thrilled about, but is this something new that you’ve done, or have you done it in the past? Is there any difference? Have you done short periods where other guys have stepped in or is this new? (John McMullen)
DOUG PEDERSON: As I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, everything is on the table. I have to look at a lot of different things. We’re struggling as an offense and I look at myself first and foremost.
So, again, without getting into — well, I’m not going to get into a lot of detail with it, and depth in it. It is my decision if I decide to do it again this week.
But I have to, and I’ve said everything is on the table, myself included, and that’s it.
Q. I was wondering if there is a chance RB Jordan Howard plays this Sunday? (John Clark)
DOUG PEDERSON: Well, I guess there’s always a chance that any of our players can be up and active. We travel all the practice squad players and obviously now we’re limited there too with the new protocols that are in place, but there is a possibility this week. He had a really good game last year and it all just comes down to today and tomorrow and to see where our numbers fall out, special teams with Coach Fipp [special teams coordinator Dave Fipp], what he needs, and we go from there.
Q. You’ve always seemed really proud about the fact that you were a play caller. It seems like a big part of who you feel like you are as a coach. How difficult is that to then give that up? How much of an honest conversation do you have to have with yourself before you do that? (Dave Zangaro)
DOUG PEDERSON: Well, I am currently the play caller. You make it sound like it was, like I gave it up completely. That’s not the case.
Q. No, sure, but it’s still a departure from maybe the past, right? (Dave Zangaro)
DOUG PEDERSON: Well, listen, I’m still the play caller. And again, I have to — if I’m going to be part of the solution to our offensive woes, then I’m going to be part of the solution and whatever that takes and whatever that looks like, whether it be elements of the game plan, calling plays, or maybe whatever it might be in game, but ultimately these are my decisions as we move forward.
It is something that I have to dig deep, and kind of soul search a little bit because I love doing it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot of fun, it gives you a lot of joy and excitement when you do it and you do it well. But again, I’m going to keep it internal and focus on the team.
Q. Just as far as the Green Bay game goes, last year you had success running the ball in Green Bay. What do you learn from last year’s blueprint and how much of it can you implement on Sunday? (Ed Kracz)
DOUG PEDERSON: Well, this is a very good football team, a good defense, Coach Pettine [Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine] does a great job of preparing these guys. It appears that they’re doing a couple of things differently this year than last year.
And listen, it’s a really good defensive front. I feel like the secondary is good. These two corners are good. And you have to try to run the ball as best you can against these guys. Teams have done that and even some of the teams that have beaten them here recently have been able to do that and that’s something that we might have to do a little bit more of.
Last year obviously it was a part of the offense and part of the win up there. But, again, it’s a different year, different season and we’ll go in and we’ll try and see how it plays out.
Q. If Zach Ertz is in fact going to play on Sunday, do you kind of work him in a little more slowly just because he’s been out so long, but then also the fact that he’s coming back, like, how much of a lift can that give your offense? (Martin Frank)
DOUG PEDERSON: If Zach is able to go, I think you got to be smart with him, just like we have with guys that have returned to play a little bit, especially guys that are in these skill spots that are running a ton and can become fatigued throughout the game. We got to be smart with him, but I think he gives obviously a boost to the passing game. He’s obviously a target of Carson’s and something that we have had success with that.
But, yeah, we’ll take it slow with him, but it will be a nice lift to get him back out there.
Q. How much has QB Carson Wentz’s feelings, his psyche, factored into how you’ve had to balance your usage of QB Jalen Hurts? (Jeff McLane)
DOUG PEDERSON: Well, I do consider Carson, obviously, because it is a quarterback change for a play or two. But it’s, listen, my approach has always been one where I’m going to communicate this with Carson too. I don’t want to catch him off guard and I want him to be prepared for when Jalen enters the football game or comes in from time to time.
He’s embraced it. He’s done a good job with it and we do everything we can to try to win games and get those two guys on the field if possible.
Q. Are you making a change to T Jack Driscoll at right tackle this week, and if so, why? (Bo Wulf)
DOUG PEDERSON: Am I making a change from or to?
Q. To. (Bo Wulf)
DOUG PEDERSON: Jack Driscoll, yeah, yeah. Jack Driscoll will get an opportunity. Pryor’s [G/T Matt Pryor] obviously a big part of that and Pryor can give us more the rotational stuff left and right. He can also play inside for that. So, yeah, we’re going to go that route.
Q. Driscoll had an injury he was dealing with. How was he throughout that process? What have you seen from him? (Bo Wulf)
DOUG PEDERSON: He’s great. He’s feeling good.
Q. I was actually going to ask about Jack Driscoll as well. What does he give you there at right tackle? Why would it be good to get him in there in that spot? (Les Bowen)
DOUG PEDERSON: What he has shown when he’s in there, obviously, he’s a tough kid, he’s a smart kid, and does some really good things. Good athlete in there and just we feel like it’s a good opportunity for him to get back out there. He is feeling good on his injury and when we look at the offensive line, I think as a whole with Matt Pryor, it gives us more flexibility now with him to be able to go inside and outside, if need be.
Q. On the topic of Driscoll starting and then you made the S Will Parks move, which essentially moves S K’Von Wallace up the depth chart, is there more of an effort here in the final month of the season to play these rookies and to see what you have in them? (Zach Berman)
DOUG PEDERSON: I mean, listen, don’t get me, obviously, yeah, I would say don’t quote me on this, but you will. Look, it’s not a sign that we’re supposedly throwing in the towel, right? And we’re letting all these young players play. We have confidence in our young guys. We’re excited about our young players, and it does give them an opportunity to play and they have been playing anyway and they have been playing on special teams and doing well.
So great opportunity for these guys to really plug them in, help us win, and so I’m looking forward to these young players getting an opportunity now to help us succeed moving forward.
Q. Does that include wide receiver too? Are you hoping to see the young wide receivers as well? (Zach Berman)
DOUG PEDERSON: Well, the only one left is [WR] Quez [Watkins], I guess, and he’s been down every week because the other young guys are playing. So but, yeah, I mean, if we find the need to utilize Quez or bring [WR] Deontay Burnett back up from time to time, [WR] JJ [Arcega-Whiteside], guys like that, I mean, yeah, we’ll find ways to do that.
But right now, [WR John] Hightower is getting a lot of play time, [WR] Jalen Reagor is getting a lot of play time, [WR Travis] Fulgham is getting a lot of play time, and [WR] Greg Ward is relatively young. So we got an exciting group there.
Q. You’re kind of in a unique position when it comes to being compared to other coaches in that you played quarterback in this league and you also were in a position where you were benched in your career before and you’ve talked about that. Does that change the way you deal with Carson emotionally, being that you know exactly what he’s feeling? And does that kind of either make you tread lightly with him emotionally because you’ve been there and because you’re human and because you know how hard that would be for him to deal with? (Jamie Apody)
DOUG PEDERSON: Yeah, I do think about that and probably me personally, probably a little bit sensitive there, but I also have to take into consideration the bigger picture too and the whole and the development of the football team, even the development of Carson Wentz and how we handle that.
And really, I think a lot about that. I go back to ’99 with myself and [former Eagles quarterback] Donovan [McNabb] and Coach Reid [former Eagles head coach and current Chiefs head coach Andy Reid]. Now listen, we’re very similar as far as the team — I still think we’re a better football team today than we were in 1999. Don’t get me wrong there. We’re just beat up right now.
But I have thought a lot about that, but I also know that as the head coach too you got to make tough decisions and have decisions that can help us win games here in the next month.
Q. With Jack Driscoll and T Jordan Mailata starting, we have seen special assistant to the general manager Connor Barwin work with them quite a bit, giving them looks as a pass rusher. How much has he helped from a coaching standpoint get those guys ready and then how much did he help the defensive line when he had to kind of fill in there as well? (Mike Kaye)
DOUG PEDERSON: Connor’s been doing a great job. I mean, he does a lot of stuff with the young players, even off the field from a developmental standpoint.
But on the field just bringing some experience, some great experience as a former player, really, how he game plans for offensive linemen, right?
And the same on the other side. So as he’s studying offensive linemen, he’s teaching these young guys kind of what to look for when it comes to defensive linemen, so he’s been real valuable there. We have used him on some of the, when we do walk-throughs, he’s over there servicing and giving us a look as a D-end or a standup backer, and he’s just a wealth of knowledge, a guy who played in this league and played at a high level and had some success and it’s just great to have guys like that around.
Jason Avant is another one that is with us now too, and as a former receiver in this league, has done a nice job of really assisting [wide receivers coach] Aaron Moorehead and [assistant wide receiver coach] Coach [Matt] Harper and really teaching our young receivers as well.
Q. Do you see full-time coaching in their future or potentially if they wanted to pursue that? (Mike Kaye)
DOUG PEDERSON: I mean, if that’s what they want to pursue, there’s a lot of things that guys, guys love the developmental aspect of the game, which is not so much the coaching aspect of it. So it just depends on how or what they decide to do in their future.
Q. DE Brandon Graham spoke to us yesterday and sort of alluded to the idea that, their side of the ball, Carson stood up and had a real sense of accountability in the offense and how he was performing. Just curious if you’re aware of that and what you’ve really gleaned from him this week and his leadership, heading into what could be really a momentous shift in Green Bay for your team? (Stacey Dales)
DOUG PEDERSON: I think something that Carson has really embraced, I think, here towards the second half of this season, and it’s really his — we talk a lot about ownership, and not just as like maybe a leadership style or anything like that, but just in your play, in what you’re putting on tape. He understands that he needs to play better and for him to stand up and take ownership there with the team and really quite frankly show vulnerability, I think is a sign of growth in any player, and we have had several players do that this week.
This is an important stretch for us coming up. Obviously we’re still in the NFC East hunt, so to speak, and it just shows that our young players, right, and I still consider Carson in that young, only five years in, it’s still relatively young in this league, but they’re showing signs of maturity and growth and leadership ability and especially from your quarterback, right?
It was good to see. And conversations that he and I have had over the last month hopefully have kind of maybe spurred him in that right direction.
Q. Wondering how WR DeSean Jackson is doing, and it’s been six or seven weeks, and is there any chance we could see him on the field by the end of the year? (Reuben Frank)
DOUG PEDERSON: DeSean’s doing well. Again, not going to put a timetable — I’m optimistic that we get him back, but I want to make sure he’s healthy.
But he’s doing well, doing good with everything, the rehab, the whole thing and would love to see him back out before this season ends for sure.