Q. When are you guys going to go live for the first time, and which position groups, in particular, do you really want to see in those situations? (Dave Zangaro)
DOUG PEDERSON: I’m leaning towards tomorrow, Friday, being the first controlled sort of live tackle-to-the-ground day. Really, we’re evaluating everybody, quite honestly, but there are some young players that we want to see in just sort of game situations. We’re now at the point where we would have had two preseason games, and it’s time to get some answers on some of our young players.
Hopefully tomorrow we can do that live.
Q. You have a couple guys banged up, a couple defensive linemen and RB Miles Sanders. What can you tell us that you know about them and their status, and how concerned are you about those guys? (Reuben Frank)
DOUG PEDERSON: Well, first of all, when it comes to injury, I’m not going to go into a lot of depth with each player right now. Obviously, reports will be coming out later on. But I’m not concerned.
As you guys saw yesterday, we do a lot of things that are planned with our preparation. We only have so many days to get our football team ready for the opener, and I’ve got to be smart with how we practice. We do know that injuries are going to be a part — especially early in camp with players, and we’re starting to see that just a little bit. But I’m not concerned with these guys. My focus is getting the entire team ready to go for our opener, and that’s our focus.
I have these planned maintenance days for guys to rest, to stay healthy, to stay fresh, and also have lighter practices so that guys can, as a team, we can continue to maintain speed but at the same time keep the bodies fresh.
Q. WR Jalen Reagor said that QB Carson Wentz told him he’s got a little Falcons WR Julio Jones in his game in his leaping ability. I’m wondering if there’s a receiver that you’ve come across in your time that you kind of compare to Jalen Reagor and what’s your impressions of him so far? (Tim McManus)
DOUG PEDERSON: Obviously that’s a great compliment. Julio Jones as we know is an awesome, awesome, tremendous receiver in this league, and to be even mentioned with the likes of a guy like that is special.
For me, I think looking at Jalen, Jalen has a skill set that is very similar with speed, athleticism, size and strength. He’s got, as Carson alluded to with the vertical ability and things that Julio can do, but by no means is Jalen there yet. He’s got a lot to learn with the offense, with the game itself, just learning how to be a pro.
But obviously being mentioned in that breath is a compliment, and it’s something that Jalen can strive for, and it’s a pretty good goal.
Q. Is QB Nate Sudfeld definitely the No. 2 quarterback going into the season, or do you consider that a competition at this point? And if so, what will it take for QB Jalen Hurts to win it? (Zach Berman)
DOUG PEDERSON: Yeah, Nate is our No. 2, and obviously Jalen is still learning. Jalen, he’s done some really good things for us. Again, like I mentioned, he’s learning our system, and he’s another one, one of our young players that’s learning the game a little bit. He’s got some athleticism. We’ve seen that in practice. But Nate has done a nice job for us, and Nate has come in and really done everything we’ve asked him to do from a backup position and really just moved the team and moved — when he’s in there, executing the offense, and that’s where he’s at.
We still have to put Nate in game-like situations, too, because again, he’s one that needs that as a quarterback. We need that. And then we also need to put Jalen in those situations.
Every position is being evaluated, obviously, but to answer your question, Nate is right now our No. 2.
Q. I was wondering of the young players and everything, who’s kind of stood out to you so far through the first three days of practice? (Martin Frank)
DOUG PEDERSON: I think there’s really several guys. We’ve talked about [WR] Jalen [Reagor] just a little bit. [WR] Quez Watkins is another one that has stood out as a receiver, [WR] John Hightower, these guys are improving every single day. [DB Michael] Jacquet as a corner has done some really, really nice things for us. I think about even some of our young linemen, I think of [T] Jack Driscoll off the top of my head who’s come in and we’ve put him in positions to go against [DE] Brandon Graham, go against [DE] Vinny Curry, [DE] Josh Sweat, some of our starting D-ends and done a nice job there.
There’s a handful of guys there that we’ve been excited about, and again, there’s a fine line, there’s a balance between getting our starters prepared as you guys have seen in the first couple of days here with also evaluating some of these young players, and we’ve got to make sure that we’re doing right by both groups.
Q. I know that WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside has been a little hurt here, but what have you seen out of him, especially in relation to what he needed to improve upon this off-season? (Jeff McLane)
DOUG PEDERSON: I think the number one thing is he came in in the right frame of mind. He had an entire off-season to really work. Obviously, it was virtual and it was a little bit different, but he had a chance to get stronger, a chance to detail his work, and he came in in the right frame of mind, great attitude. He has missed a couple of days here, but he’s going to get back out on the field and work with [QB] Carson [Wentz] again. He’s really in a good spot. He understands our offense.
I think one of the things [is] he’s learned from how he played last year and the opportunities that he got and how he’s using that now moving forward and learning from those experiences has really helped him for the times that he’s been on the field. These next few days, we’re excited about getting him back out there and getting him working with the offense again.
Q. On QB Jalen Hurts, what has impressed you so far out of him, and then as you go through the contingency plans of what we would do if there was a situation where he had to go in the game, is there like a special package of plays for him, or do you think it would be more just him running the regular offense? (Bo Wulf)
DOUG PEDERSON: So, you want me to reveal the game plan with him [smiling]?
Q. Yeah, that would be great. (Bo Wulf)
DOUG PEDERSON: That would be great, wouldn’t it? I think you know me better than that [smiling]. I think the way he’s picked up our offense and handled the situations that we’ve put him in in practice, he’s done a nice job there. He’s still got some learning to do, obviously, but nothing is too big for Jalen. He’s obviously played in some big-time games in college. He’s been in a number of offenses in his career, whether it’s been at Oklahoma, Alabama, places that he’s been. And he’s done a nice job just understanding, and now it’s a matter of just detailing that work and applying it to what he sees defensively when he gets an opportunity.
Obviously, the skill set is there. You can see him with his legs, obviously the ability to escape the pocket, things he did in college, and throws a good ball and all those things. Those are things we’ve just got to continue to keep working with him on as he grows as a quarterback in our offense.
Q. Since you brought up T Jack Driscoll, DE Brandon Graham was also talking about him the other day. He thought his name was “Jake” but I’m sure that’ll get cleared up eventually. I thought when you drafted him, it was maybe he was going to move to guard, but he’s playing tackle. I’d love to ask offensive line/run game coordinator Jeff Stoutland this obviously, but I don’t have him today, I have you. How do you see him? Is he going to be a tackle? (Les Bowen)
DOUG PEDERSON: Well, obviously he’s working at tackle right now. He is a guy that we can move inside. He’s got that position versatility for us. We’re excited about him. We’re also trying to — with [G] Jason Peters and [G/T Matt] Pryor and [G] Nate Herbig and some of these guys that are also playing those guard positions. It’s a balance, right, and getting enough work for everybody. So right now, we’ve just kept him at tackle. There are some times where we have moved him inside, whether it be a walk-through in the afternoon or whatever with the second group, even sometimes when we’re rotating some of the threes in there. But yeah, we like his versatility of being able to play inside and outside.
Q. What else do you like about Jack? Why has he stood out? (Les Bowen)
DOUG PEDERSON: He’s a very athletic guy. He’s smart. He’s smart. He’s a smart player. He details his work. He understands — he’s a guy that when you — and this is — I’m kind of speaking for Stout [offensive line/run game coordinator Jeff Stoutland] just a little bit, but he takes great notes, asks great questions in the meetings, and then that translates to the field, and you see that carry over to the field. He’s a hard worker. He’s a pro, and he’s a young player, but you can already see those traits in him to becoming a really good offensive lineman in this league.
Q. Obviously training camp days can be really long for players, and with the social distancing and even when they’re eating social distancing, it can be tougher. Looking at these videos of the rookie shows and the singing that you’re MC’ing, how important is that for fun and bonding and getting this team together? (John Clark)
DOUG PEDERSON: That’s been a big part of what we’ve done here the last couple years, even going all the way back to my first year when we had Carson up there as a singer and stuff. Listen, we’ve evolved our music. We’ve kind of evolved this thing over the last couple of years, and guys have really embraced that. I think it’s a great way — it’s all business, obviously, with meetings and practices and strength and conditioning and stuff throughout the day, and this just gives them a time for the team, coaches and players, to get to really know these young players, these rookies, and for them to come out of their shell just a little bit and get up there and perform. It’s not an easy thing to do, but it’s fun for the guys, great way to get to know them, and they’ve had fun with it.
Q. How many of those songs do you know these days? (John Clark)
DOUG PEDERSON: The ones we have done this year, and we are about halfway through the drafted rookies and the undrafted rookies right now, I’ve probably — I don’t know, probably about 70 percent of the songs I probably know.
Q. That’s pretty impressive. (John Clark)
DOUG PEDERSON: Well, we put some parameters on the music this year, so it brought it down to my genre of music a little bit [laughter].
Q. What have you seen out of the young running backs, and does it give you confidence that you wouldn’t need to bring in a veteran guy, especially if Miles Sanders is going to be out for an extended period of time? (Rob Maaddi)
DOUG PEDERSON: I like where our running backs are. I like where Miles is at. I like where [RB] Boston [Scott] is at. I like where [RB] Corey [Clement] is at. And then the three young guys with [RB Elijah] Holyfield, with [RB] Michael [Warren] and we’ve even got [RB] Adrian Killins now kind of splitting time between a running back and a receiver and just trying to see where he can fit.
But I like our running back room. I don’t have any concerns there with these guys. These guys have played in big ballgames. Corey all the way back to our 2017, our championship season as a rookie and playing in big games that year. Miles last year. Boston last year. I’m encouraged by where they are and very optimistic that they will have a good season.
Q. Where are you guys at with T Jordan Mailata and how do you balance in year three the lack of in-game experience with the upside and the potential for him on the field? (Mike Kaye)
DOUG PEDERSON: With Jordan, obviously he’s had some setbacks physically with the injuries over his career, but he’s — as we mentioned, I go back a year ago when every day was kind of a new day for him, and then having an off-season and getting into camp this year and now being out there with the guys, the retention of information is there. You see it. His athleticism, he’s a big man, the way he moves.
We’ve got to understand, football is still relatively new for him, and as we take him maybe a touch slower, at the same time going into that third year, he has to understand that it’s kind of go time. With any of those players I would say in that third, fourth year, and it’s really — I go back to my days playing quarterback and being in a system for two, three, four years. It’s about this time where you start separating yourself, you start making a move and understanding your role and understanding the game, and that’s where he’s at. We’ve got a little bit of time here to see with him and make decisions obviously moving forward, but have been encouraged with his progress so far.