Q. Now that QB Jalen Hurts has a game on film, how much work do you guys put in to trying to figure out how defenses are going to play him and then how much work do you try to put in to figuring out how to counteract that? (Dave Zangaro)
COACH PEDERSON: [Jokingly] That’s called game planning, right?
Q. Yeah, what’s the process like?(Dave Zangaro)
COACH PEDERSON: Well, without giving away game plans, honestly, we have to go back and evaluate the things we did with him in the last game and a half. Then how will a defense sort of perceive. We can always ask questions to our defense, about him, how they would handle a situation like that to try to get a little insight. Then put the plan together based on what we are seeing from Arizona defensively and then still try to be creative and still try to execute the offense.
Q. We’ve seen over these last three games that T Jordan Mailata has really settled in at left tackle. When you guys drafted him, he was clearly a project, but after seeing him for an extended period this season does he now project to be a full-time starter at left tackle?(Jeff McLane)
COACH PEDERSON: I don’t know. We haven’t really fully seen [T] Andre Dillard either at that spot so it’s hard to sit here today and say that. He’s helping himself, I would say that. Jordan has played well enough to maybe compete at that spot, but I think it’s a little unfair to sit here and say he’s a full-time starter moving forward without seeing enough of Andre who obviously we drafted to take that spot.
Q. Obviously Jalen Hurts came in this situation with the Eagles when he was drafted here, kind of in an unprecedented, difficult situation when you have a franchise quarterback already here in QB Carson Wentz. How impressed have you been with the way Jalen has handled himself on and off the field, not only leading up to that first start last week, but even this week getting set for Arizona?(Jeff Skversky)
COACH PEDERSON: Obviously his career is well documented, going all the way back to his college days. He’s kind of gone through a similar situation where he’s spent time on the sideline being benched for Tua [former Alabama QB and Current Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa] so he’s kind of gone through it, he understands. Of course, there’s a body of work on how he’s responded, and he responded even then as a professional just like he did coming into the NFL behind Carson, as a professional. Just trying to learn and getting better as a quarterback. This week is just one more opportunity for him to get better and for us as a team to get better. I try not to put much more into it than that. Obviously, he’s talented, but fully expect him to go out and practice this week and prepare to play the game this weekend.
Q. Over the past few weeks, we’ve asked you a few times about WR Travis Fulgham, but the playing time has declined to the point where it doesn’t seem like a rotation with him anymore. What’s the reason why he’s not on the field that often and what needs to be done to get him on there? (Zach Berman)
COACH PEDERSON: I mean listen, you guys ask me a lot of questions about running back rotations, receiver rotations, who’s our right tackle, left tackle and all this stuff and we still game plan for Travis. I’ll tell you this, [WR] Alshon [Jeffery] is getting heathier and is playing better and we game plan for him. There are certain plays, specific plays that Travis is going to be in on and there’s specific plays that Alshon is going to be in on. It’s the same with [WR] Jalen Reagor versus [WR John] Hightower or [WR] Quez [Watkins] or somebody like that. It’s just a matter of how we as coaches see the game plan going and getting everybody involved. Again, same kind of answer is, it’s not about the one guy, right? It’s about the entire team and that’s what helps us win.
Q. So the plan was 11 offensive snaps or there abouts in this past Sundays game? (Zach Berman)
COACH PEDERSON: Listen, we know we have to do better. He has to do better. He’s got to play better, but at the same time Alshon is playing better too, so we’re going to play the guys on that particular play who are in the game. That’s based on game plan, so you can’t put it on Travis. You can put it on me. I’m the play caller, I call the personnel groups, so put it on me.
Q. Will G/T Matt Pryor be your starter at right tackle Sunday and what type of challenge does Cardinals LB Haason Reddick present to him? (Paul Domowitch)
COACH PEDERSON: Yes. He’s quick, he’s fast, agile, he can bend, speed rusher. Obviously, he had a heck of a game the other day, so Pryor’s got to get in here and study the tape and study him and expect him to be prepared.
Q. With Jalen Hurts you mentioned that obviously they have the tape from Sunday. In your experience, how much does that affect the next game for a quarterback who doesn’t have a lot of tape out there. Is that a huge deal that they’ve seen him play a whole game or is that pretty easy to work around as an offensive plan? (Les Bowen)
COACH PEDERSON: Well, Les as you know, there’s nothing easy about this game. Nothing easy about playing the position of quarterback. Jalen has to understand now it’s a whole new defense. It’s a different structure, different personal. Scheme is differently defensively and so what we did and had success against New Orleans may not apply this week. We sort of have to reset right, and that’s why when we put the plan together and go practice today and the rest of the week, we do it in a way that is hopefully advantageous against our opponent each week. So, in Jalen’s case he just has to study the tape. He’s got to study obviously himself. He really has to study his mannerisms too, right? No indicators to the defense and don’t give things away, whether it be by TV copy or film or coaches copy that defenses can really clue into and try to get an advantage on. Nothing is ever easy at this level, but I think this week will be a great opportunity for him to go back and just study himself, make corrections, clean up what he needs to clean up and try to present the same thing again Sunday.
Q. With T Jack Driscoll, I know MCL’s don’t usually need surgery, but if it’s a severe MCL does that make it any different? Will he have to have that repaired? (Les Bowen)
COACH PEDERSON: He’s definitely going to miss some time with the injury. We don’t know yet honestly if he needs surgery at all, but he’s definitely going to miss some time.
Q. Is there an added excitement level, a little bit of juice in the game planning process for having a different quarterback, a different type of quarterback in Jalen Hurts trying to sort of answer different questions?(Bo Wulf)
COACH PEDERSON: It may provide maybe an opportunity here and there, but at the same time when we plan, we’ve got to think about all 11 guys not just one guy and making sure that we got the receivers in the right spot, the running backs in the right spot and the tight ends in the right spot to take advantage of what we’re seeing on film, and obviously Jalen is a part of that. As far as excitement goes, every week you get excited about your game plan. It’s just a matter of how well we execute or don’t execute.
Q. A lot was made over the past few years about how close QB Carson Wentz, QB Nate Sudfeld and former Eagles QB and current Bears QB Nick Foles all were, how well they worked together. Obviously, this is a different year without meetings, without hanging out outside of the NovaCare Complex. How difficult has it been and what have you seen from the evolution of Jalen Hurts’ relationship with Carson? How important is it that those guys kind of overcome the barriers that are naturally present right now and really work on that relationship?(Reuben Frank)
COACH PEDERSON: That’s a question that I actually think about every day. I love having in-person meetings where I can see guys face-to-face and communicate face-to-face. With this pandemic and everything going virtual now, we just finished up a set of meetings online. It makes it harder to build the relationships that you would like to build and that’s with any room on the team. The QB room is a good room, it’s a solid room but at the same time, it makes it a little harder when you’re not together watching film together after practice or getting with the receivers and watching film or watching practice tape, or getting with [C Jason] Kelce and going through protection plans. It just makes it a little more challenging that way. We talk about socially distant, but we try to maintain a level of trying to be more socially together the best we can. Whether it’s Saturday night at the hotel on the road or even at practice during walk-throughs or the actual practice. That’s a great question, something I think a lot about during this time and our guys have done a great job handling everything so far.
Q. How do you see their relationship growing despite everything right now, Jalen and Carson?(Reuben Frank)
COACH PEDERSON: I just see the communication number one at practice, during games. Just the communication, the dialogue back and forth, obviously through [passing game coordinator/ quarterbacks coach] Press [Taylor], through myself. Just that communication, and that’s the one gauge that tends to lead things in the right direction and that’s what I’ve been seeing.
Q. This past Sunday in Jalen Hurts’ first start on that first fourth down that you had, it looked like he was saying, ‘Hey, let me have the ball in my hands. Let’s go for this.’ Did he do that with you and if so, how much did that confidence in his first NFL start impress you? (John Clark)
COACH PEDERSON: He was seeing something defensively and was trying to communicate or was communicating that to me. I’ll tell you what, our dialogue between he and I, much like [QB] Carson [Wentz] and I during games – he has ideas, he has suggestions just like Carson has ideas and suggestions during games. So that was a moment where we were able to communicate an idea, a play that we had in the game-plan and I called the play, he executed it and we stayed on the field.
Q. What does that say about the confidence he has and also the confidence you have in him and the relationship?(John Clark)
COACH PEDERSON: It shows a lot of confidence in him. It shows that he understands the game plan, he understands how we’re trying to attack the opponent. Then for me, I’ve talked a lot about trusting players and they’re the ones playing the game. I’ve got to trust them and put them in positions to be successful and that was one moment.
Q. Against Green Bay and then against the Saints you said that Jalen Hurts gave this offense a spark. Now that he has settled into this offensive a little bit more, what does Jalen Hurts give this team? (Kristen Rodgers)
COACH PEDERSON: I’m hoping the spark is a little bit brighter and more of a flame now and obviously coming off a win, we’ve got to continue to play well. He gave us the spark that I was looking for obviously and I think the team was looking for and we’ve got to do it again. Just like I said earlier, we’ve got to kind of reset. This is another good football team we’re playing this weekend and we got to do it again, we’ve got to do it all over again. We want to keep that spark or that flame lit, and we want to use that as momentum as we finish up these next three weeks.