COACH PEDERSON: First of all, I appreciate everyone’s well wishes. I had a lot of text messages and phone calls the last 24 hours or so. I know this virus affects people differently, and I am very respectful and mindful of that. I also want everyone to know that I feel great, energy level is high. I really have no symptoms whatsoever, and I am very fortunate because I do know and understand that this virus attacks people a little bit differently. I have been in great communication, constant communication, not only with our medical team and doctors, but also my staff and the team itself.
One of the things I learned this offseason is I can still run the team virtually, and that’s what I have been able to do today, even yesterday, holding staff meetings, things of that nature, team meetings. I also want to reiterate the fact that I’m very comfortable and confident that the protocols that we have in place at NovaCare are for the best interest of the football team and all those that enter that building. It still is a very safe environment, and one of the things that we all need to learn and what I need to learn, taking away from this, is obviously we need to protect ourselves when we are in the community away from the building, continue to wash our hands, wear our mask, do the social distancing that medical teams and doctors have prescribed.
So obviously we’re taking this very seriously around our building, and in our everyday lives, and again, we need to continue to do so. We understand that things like this are going to happen. I have been able to talk to my staff about contingencies not only with players, but also with staff members. I mentioned I believe last week when we got together about this.
So I’m not going to speculate on a timetable for me, I treat it just like players, so I’m not going to speculate on that. When I’m back, I’m back. With that, we will open up for questions, and I hope everybody is doing well and staying safe.
Q. Glad you’re feeling well. We’re all concerned about you. It sounds like you know that you contracted this outside the NovaCare Complex. Are you pretty confident that that’s the case and what gives you that sense? (Reuben Frank)
COACH PEDERSON: Respectfully, I’m going to say this one time, and I’m going to leave it at that. It’s something that I don’t necessarily want to comment on for myself or speculate on for anyone else. I’m just going to reiterate the fact that I feel very good about the safety of our building and the protocols that we have in place. That’s one thing that I do know and going through this has reinforced that for me at this time.
Q. Glad you’re feeling well and at least showing no symptoms as of now. Talking to some of the players yesterday, they said your message to the team is it’s not just about one guy. When we talk about the contingency plans for the players and for both you coaching virtually, I am curious what you’re trying to tell the guys right now, because it is inevitable, maybe not you testing positive again, but it is inevitable that these players will test positive at some point during this season? (Kristen Rodgers)
COACH PEDERSON: You’re exactly right, and that’s been my message, really, all off-season, when we went virtual way back on March 12, March 13. The message still is we have to protect ourselves, not only in and around the building, but outside the building, as well.
But you know what the thing is, too, is that it’s never been — since I’ve been head coach in Philadelphia, it’s never been about one guy or one group of guys. It’s been about everybody. This is no different. I’m fortunate that this is happening at this time of our season, our training camp at the beginning, and not necessarily say in October, November, where you could miss games. It’s a matter of just protecting each other and our goals don’t change. We’re going to continue to press forward one day at a time.
Q. I know you want to do as much as you can virtually, but does assistant head coach/running backs coach Duce Staley take on a bigger role inside the building, and what is going to happen with that kind of structure? (Rob Maaddi)
COACH PEDERSON: I do everything I can virtually. I just finished up a bunch of player meetings, group meetings this morning already. Guys are getting ready for a walk-through on the field and yeah, [assistant head coach/running backs coach] Duce [Staley] being the assistant head coach, he just assumes my role, the day-to-day activities in the building.
So he and I talk every single morning. I give him, through communication with him, give him sort of my thoughts on where I’m leading and what I’m thinking, and then he carries that message forward. He’s done a great job so far and will continue that going forward.
Q. Obviously you’re at home. Are you quarantining from the rest of your family, or are you getting the rest of the family tested? Are you concerned about that at all? (Les Bowen)
COACH PEDERSON: Yeah, I’m quarantining away from my family. I’m making sure that I keep my distance from them, and wear my mask, wash my hands, do those things while I’m here at home.
Q. You said last week that there are contingencies for everyone in the organization. How much thought had you put into this possibility before it happened, and does this affect or change the way you’re going to plan those contingencies going forward? (Zach Berman)
COACH PEDERSON: Great question. For me, I have thought a lot about the contingencies and this doesn’t just happen, — I thought, actually, I thought about this quite a bit over the summer, if something like this were to come up, not only with me, but with any of my staff or any of the players.
This is why I feel really, really good about my staff, the guys that I have in place to carry the torch, so to speak, in somebody’s absence and of course in my absence at this time.
The same way with players. I guess you treat it just like if a guy were to get hurt and they are going to miss some time, and you have to have the next guy prepared and ready to go, and this is no different.
Q. We were talking to some of your late-round picks yesterday. Is this a bad year to be a late-round pick or an undrafted player? How do these guys compensate as far as flashing for you and the coaching staff without preseason games? (Paul Domowitch)
COACH PEDERSON: No. 1, I think that this is actually a good time to be a late-round pick and possibly a free agent, even these young draft picks. The reason I say that is we’ve already had a week with them on the grass.
We’re going to get some really good opportunities here in these next coming weeks. They are going to learn a lot from the veterans. The way I have the schedule set up is for them to learn and to be successful. Then once we get into the padded portion of training camp is where we really get to see where these guys are. When you have an opportunity like this, it’s for all of us as coaches in particular, of coaching everybody up. It’s not just about the starters and getting them prepared, which we do every year, but now more importantly it’s about getting these young guys [prepared], because we truly feel these young guys are going to be the ones who are going to have to help us throughout the entire season.
Q. This weekend we saw two starting quarterbacks end up on the reserve COVID list. We talked about this a couple months ago, but have you given any more thought to the possibility of quarantining a quarterback, given the importance of that position? (Dave Zangaro)
COACH PEDERSON: It’s unfortunate that that happens. I think we know that these things are going to happen probably throughout the course of the season.
If it happens, and you hope it happens early enough to where you don’t get to the regular season, but conversations that are ongoing still with my staff and the offensive guys on staff, [passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach] Press [Taylor] and [senior offensive assistant] Rich [Scangarello], [senior offensive consultant] Marty [Mornhinweg], those guys, and haven’t decided anything yet on that, obviously, but it is something to consider as we move forward.
Q. What rules do you have in place for the players for when they leave the building? What can they do? (Jeff McLane)
COACH PEDERSON: Well, obviously it’s typical training camp. We have curfew at 11:00 at the hotel. The days are filled. We’re on a 12-hour workday with the players, and there’s not a lot of time at the end of the day.
Once they leave the building, they are on their own and it’s up to me and my staff and our trainers and doctors to educate them on the protocols outside of the building.
This is just a great time for me to be — I think to be kind of an ambassador, to be a leader, to really educate our team on how to protect ourselves outside the building.
Q. The Saints sequestered part of a hotel to rent things out and kind of control the traffic coming in and out. Have you guys discussed that at all about potentially maybe renting out a hotel and kind of forming a home base for the team during the season? (Mike Kaye)
COACH PEDERSON: As you know, we use the Courtyard Marriott down at the Navy Yard as our team hotel for training camp. These are all things that were negotiated between the players and management, and we’ve actually given the players, the veteran players who have homes here, we have given them the option to either stay at the hotel or stay at home. That’s part of the agreement.
Listen, everybody’s situation is different. Everybody wants to protect their families obviously, and I understand that, so we do give them that option to decide.
Q. I imagine that you have taken safety and had protocols when you are outside and not at the facility, and you got the virus. Does your perspective change at all on your confidence about the NFL and you guys being able to have a season safely and keeping everybody healthy? (John Clark)
COACH PEDERSON: My confidence hasn’t changed at all. I’m extremely optimistic. I feel like we’re going to play; I’m confident that we are going to play. It’s unfortunate. Like I told my team last night, this virus, it holds no prejudices, right. It doesn’t matter. It can affect any one of us. I’m sure many of you have had family members or people you know or loved ones affected by this virus. So that part of it doesn’t matter.
It’s just the fact that we have to abide by the protocols that are in place. They are in place for a reason, for our safety. Our building is a great place to be. It is a safe place to be for our players and coaches and all who are involved.
So I’m looking forward. It’s full steam ahead for me. I’m itching to get back in the building at some point and be around our players and get these guys ready for a season.