Q. Watching Chiefs head coach Andy Reid on the sidelines yesterday, he had his face shield which is getting attention. For San Francisco and Buffalo, you’ll have to wear a mask, as well. Curious what that process is like, choosing what kind of mask or shield you’ll wear when you have to go to those games. (Kristen Rodgers)
COACH PEDERSON: I did, I saw the same thing. I just think it’s preference. I’ve tried the shield in our building from the standpoint of just getting a little more air flow. When I stand up and talk in front of the team and things like that, having a mask, it just kind of restricts voice inflection and understanding what I’m saying and different things, but wearing that shield allows you to speak a little more clearly. He feels comfortable in that. I’m going to wear an actual mask with my head set and microphone over the mask. It’s just a comfort thing probably for most coaches at this time.
Q. Just wanted to ask for an injury update, particularly on T Lane Johnson and RB Miles Sanders, do you expect both to play on Sunday? (Paul Domowitch)
COACH PEDERSON: Both those guys are doing extremely well. They are still day-to-day. Obviously, we’ll get through today’s practice. You’ll know more after today’s practice, but they are both doing extremely well, and we’ll see here in the next couple of days.
Q. Question about the backup quarterback position. How close do you think QB Jalen Hurts is to being ready to go out and play if he were needed to go into a game at this point? (Eliot Shorr-Parks)
COACH PEDERSON: Well, I think he’s in a really good place if need be or to be called upon and obviously we are comfortable with both guys, with [QB] Nate [Sudfeld] and Jalen and we’ll see as we go. Knock-on-wood, we don’t have to get to that spot, but I feel comfortable if he were to go in a game, we would be okay.
Q. DE Derek Barnett has not practiced all of training camp, but apparently, he’s back this week and he’s got a hamstring. What exactly has been holding him back, and what is your expectation for him Sunday? (Jeff McLane)
COACH PEDERSON: What is holding him back is us. We’re making sure that he’s 100 percent. He’s feeling good. He’s still day-to-day. I would put him in the same bucket as Miles and Lane with an opportunity. So we’ll see here in the next couple of days how he feels. Today is a big day for all these guys, as you guys know on Friday, to get out there and practice and we’ll find out more as we get closer to Sunday.
Q. TE Zach Ertz talked to us yesterday and said that he really wants to stay with the Eagles for the long run, but he doesn’t think the feeling is mutual. What’s your reaction to that? (Ed Kracz)
COACH PEDERSON: Look, I’m not going to get into a ton of this because my expertise is not necessarily the contract stuff and those types of issues. All I know is Zach Ertz is a tremendous football player, he’s a great person, love having him on this football team. He is a leader, and he’s helped us, gosh, he’s helped us win a lot of games around here. He led our team in receptions and he’s a big part, he’s a valuable part of what we do offensively, but also as a team.
I’m excited that he’s here. I’m excited that he’s an Eagle. He and I, we get along extremely well. I love having him. We game plan for him. I just hope we can put all that behind us and move on to football.
Q. The two call-ups from the practice squad and how you plan to use that. Do you see that as strictly an injury thing? Do you see it as a strategic weapon? And you can only — the guys you bring up, you can only do that twice in a year, so it would seem to me that you might be more inclined to use a guy that maybe you don’t have long-term plans for rather than a — than somebody who — you don’t want to use them up in the first few weeks and then not be able to bring them up anymore. (Les Bowen)
COACH PEDERSON: Right. And there’s two different protocols for us, two separate rules. The one you guys are touching on is the practice squad and elevating and activating those guys for game day, that is a rule and that’s by four o’clock on Saturday. And then there is a second rule, it’s a COVID rule, that if a player were to get ill on the weekend, that we have 90 minutes before game time to activate another practice squad player.
So there’s two different options there. Obviously, we don’t ever want to get to the second one if we don’t have to.
But I think more importantly these guys are in a position, No. 1, they practice all week. They understand the game plan. They are in a position to help us, and these first couple of weeks in the regular season when everybody is fresh and healthy, it’s just possibly an extra guy for maybe special teams or something of that nature.
But I know as we go down the road, I’m just kind of — if I had a crystal ball, I could probably tell you that as injuries begin to mount during the regular season, these guys will be called upon a little bit more.
Q. And the second — the COVID, the guy that you can bring up on Sunday if someone gets sick, that has to be COVID-related? (Les Bowen)
COACH PEDERSON: Yes. That has to be related to COVID. That’s the other rule, yes.
Q. As far as the captains this year, were they picked by the team or did you pick them and why the increase from five to eight this year? (Zach Berman)
COACH PEDERSON: I picked them, and the league set the amount.
Q. And why did you pick them, as opposed to the team voting? (Zach Berman)
COACH PEDERSON: I just felt like looking at our team and where we are and the pandemic and all the virtual things that we’ve done in our building, around our building and looking at where we are, that I felt the best interests for the football team is to make that decision myself and so I picked the eight guys. The league is allowing us to have eight captains. In the past, it’s been six, but as you saw last night, only one can go out to midfield there for the coin toss.
Q. Sunday is probably going to be one of the more bizarre games you’ve ever coached given just the circumstances and the fact it’s going to be played in front of an empty stadium. I’m sure you’ve thought about that, and I have talked to an NFL executive who said they are going to pump in a soundtrack you’ll be able to hear inside the bowl there, but have you thought about the challenges and/or how different things are going to be with that kind of silence and the fake crowd noise and what that’s going to be like? (Jamie Apody)
COACH PEDERSON: We got a little taste of it in our scrimmage at the Linc [Lincoln Financial Field] two weeks ago, and I thought our guys handled it pretty well.
We still have to understand, we’re obviously going to be prepared from an offensive perspective with different cadences and things of that nature to keep ourselves at hopefully at an advantage there. But it really is going to be sort of a — it’s going to be different. It’s going to be kind of eerie when you step out into a stadium right at kickoff because the crowd, the energy, the electricity in the stadium is something that we all feed off of. This is part of our game. This is part of our sport. It’s the emotion of playing football, playing a gladiator-type sport where there’s a lot of collisions and guys get excited for that. They get energized for that.
It’s something that I’ve talked to our team quite a bit about from the standpoint of self-motivation going into games like this or group motivations, going into games of this nature and we’re going to find out Sunday.
But it’s going to be different, I know.
Q. WR Jalen Reagor was a full participant yesterday. When that injury happened, it looked like it was a little more significant. Has he healed faster than you anticipated and even if he plays Sunday, do you have to manage him a little bit? (Dave Zangaro)
COACH PEDERSON: Jalen is doing really well. We’ve kind of taken it day-by-day with him and increased him this week and we want to see where he’s at. You guys know we’re not going to put anybody out there that’s not 100 percent or better and he’s feeling good. So we’ll get through these next couple of days, but expect some good things. He’s felt good, so we’ll see where he’s at here in the next 48 hours.
Q. We have seen you in the past rotating guards in the game trying to find the right answer. Is that something we will see at right guard or will you settle on somebody there? (Bo Wulf)
COACH PEDERSON: Ultimately, you’d like to settle in so there’s consistency but at the same time we have worked several guys in there and giving everybody an opportunity. Again, we are in these unique times where you have to practice all of your offensive lineman and have them prepared and ready and having the eighth guy is beneficial for us and having them all dressed.
So at the end of the day, you would like to have a solid right guard or any offensive line position to be solidified, but at the end of the day, we end up finding the best 11 to get us through either a series or a game at the moment.
Q. We saw RB Corey Clement show up on the injury report with a quad yesterday. When did that happen and with Miles banged up and Corey banged up, you have RB Boston Scott and the new kid healthy, what’s your level of concern with the health at that position? (Reuben Frank)
COACH PEDERSON: It was just kind of precautionary with Corey. We’ll see where he’s at again today. Listen, it’s something that what I appreciate about our players is they take responsibility. They take ownership when they feel something, they say something, and we can get them treated. We’ll find out today after practice, but again, this is why we practice everybody. You practice guys like [RB] Michael Warren and [RB] Elijah Holyfield and [RB] Adrian Killins. You practice all your guys so if something comes up, you have the ability to bring somebody up at a moment’s notice.
Q. You’ve had a lot of success now, pretty large sample size week one season openers. When you self-scout, any themes that you think have helped you guys be successful early in the season? (John McMullen)
COACH PEDERSON: I don’t know, a lot of times, sometimes it’s just the unknown, even if it’s an opponent that we know or a coaching staff that we know, there’s still the unknowns of what have they been working on in training camp, right and you’re coming out with different plays, different defenses, things of that nature. But our guys, I feel comfortable. You’re only as good I guess as how you practice and go about your business. Our guys have handled the opening day well, whether we’ve been at home or on the road. We were fortunate obviously as you guys know to win that game last year against this team here. It was not an easy game. Any time you’re playing a division opponent to start the season, you’ve got to be on your stuff, and this game will be no different.