Q. Reflection question. This is going to be the third meeting between QB Carson Wentz and Rams QB Jared Goff, five years in since Jared went to them and you guys took Carson. You didn’t have the first pick that year, but Carson was the guy you wanted. Looking back on it, why was he the right guy for this team at the time? (Paul Domowitch)
COACH PEDERSON: Well, I mean, obviously both quarterbacks were at the top of list. We had done our due diligence on both quarterbacks on both players, and we liked Goff as well, and yet looking back and kind of thinking back on some of the conversations, just felt that Carson was the fit for us here in Philadelphia, his makeup, his chemistry, the style of play kind of fit what we were doing and that’s nothing against Jared Goff because he’s obviously had a great career so far. It just made Carson a better fit for us at the time.
Q. If they had shocked you and taken Carson, would you have taken Jared? (Paul Domowitch)
COACH PEDERSON: Yeah, I think looking back, that would have been, that, would have been probably the next step for us was to take Goff. We were prepared, I think in that situation, to be pleased with either one.
Q. With the issues the offensive line had on Sunday and Rams DL Aaron Donald, the way they seem to move him all around, how important will the communication and the assignments and all that be for the offensive line this Sunday? (John Clark)
COACH PEDERSON: Obviously Aaron Donald is a great player, tremendous player. There are not many offensive lines out there that really kind of slow this guy down. I mean, he just goes from snap to whistle. He’s a hundred miles an hour and that’s tough.
For us, it’s about understanding where he lines up and he does move — it’s a different scheme. It’s not the same Wade Phillips scheme. It’s a different scheme so they move him around the D-Line just a little bit more, so it’s imperative that we understand where he’s at. Communication is of the utmost, obviously, and it starts with [C Jason] Kelce and echos along the offensive line.
So we just have to be aware of where he’s at.
Q. We’ve heard about every other injured player except for DT Javon Hargrave. It’s been about a month since the start of training camp, is he getting any closer and how much will his injury affect his entire season at this point? (Dave Zangaro)
COACH PEDERSON: He’s getting closer. Not going to put a timetable on it. We’re going to get him back when we get him back. And look, when we do get him back, he has missed some time, but at the same time, we are going to put him right in there and he’ll be ready to go and he’ll help our defense. Just want to make sure he’s 100 percent and when he’s back, he’s full go.
Q. QB Jalen Hurts wasn’t active in week one. For him to be active, will he have to be involved in the game plan? (Jeff McLane)
COACH PEDERSON: No. I think that’s a week-to-week discussion that we have as far as the backup quarterbacks. You’d love to have all three quarterbacks up. We had [QB] Nate [Sudfeld] up this past weekend, and we make those determinations on really, injuries, and where we are as a team moving forward.
But I would say that if he were up, he doesn’t necessarily have to be a part of the game plan in any specific way.
Q. Why do you want all three quarterbacks active? (Jeff McLane)
COACH PEDERSON: I mean, why wouldn’t you? If you’re good at every position — it goes back to when I was a quarterback. I was the third guy and I was — of course the rules were different but I dressed every week, and you were kind of that emergency third and it would be great to have your three guys up because it does give you some versatility if you wanted to do something with the other two guys.
Q. Just to piggyback on the Rams DL Aaron Donald topic, you’ve seen him a few times in the past so you know how good he is. When you game plan, how much thought and prep do you give specifically to just one player? (Pat Gallen)
COACH PEDERSON: Well, obviously it’s hard to just specifically game plan one guy because there’s ten other guys that fit within the defense and fit within the structure of what they are doing.
It’s more about awareness of where he lines up and is he to the tight end side; is he to the open side; is he playing a tackle; is he playing an end. It’s just part of their scheme.
It’s not about necessarily game planning a specific player as much as it is the whole entire scheme, but within that, as I mentioned earlier, we have to be aware of where a player like Aaron Donald lines up.
Q. You brought in an interior lineman from the Lions, G Jamon Brown. Would he be a guy in the mix at right guard right off the bat or would he be a guy you bring along slowly? (Reuben Frank)
COACH PEDERSON: Yes. I mean, obviously he’s got to get in the mix and he’s got to get in the playbook. So terminology, he’s got to pick up terminology, understand that first, and then we have to feel comfortable that we can put him in the game.
Q. How long would that take? (Reuben Frank)
COACH PEDERSON: I think that’s a question for him, to understand our playbook — it wouldn’t be the whole thing but it would be maybe a specific protection, maybe a specific run or two and how well he were to grasp that information. But you know, I think a couple of days, a week, he’d be okay, and at least functional in a game.
Q. Just to follow up, you did activate or did add two guards to the roster with those two IR openings that you had. What went into that thinking to bring up two, and how does that impact G Nate Herbig’s spot? (Ed Kracz)
COACH PEDERSON: Well, you guys know in the past, we’ve usually carried ten offensive lineman on the active, on the 53. The thing that’s also I think different, too, now, and this is what we’re working through is the practice squad roster, having the ability to manipulate that with different guys and having guys available on game day. But this gives us O-line protection, especially the later you get in the season when offensive lineman become kind of a premium around the league, it protects us that way to have these guys on your 53. And in Nate’s case, listen, it’s Nate’s job right now and he has to do everything he can to keep that.
Q. Do you expect RB Miles Sanders, T Lane Johnson and DE Derek Barnett to be full practice participants today? And with your offensive line, do you see any changes in the starting group from last week when you face the Rams? (Les Bowen)
COACH PEDERSON: Well, the first part of your question, I do expect them to practice today. The only one that won’t, I don’t know if BG [DE Brandon Graham] was in there, BG still being in the [concussion] protocol won’t practice obviously, but Lane, Miles Sanders, will definitely and I already spoke on Hargrave.
But Lane and Miles will definitely get some practice time today, and see where they are at the end of today. And as far as the game goes on Sunday, we’ve got some time. We’re optimistic that Lane can play and if not, then [T] Jack Driscoll gets another opportunity to start. That’s where we’re at at this point.
Q. I’m sorry, DE Derek Barnett, also? (Les Bowen)
COACH PEDERSON: Derek Barnett will practice today, yeah. He’ll be able to get some reps today.
Q. Wanted to ask you, when you’re coming off a loss in the manner in which you guys did, how much does that fuel you guys, whether it’s the frustration, the anger, your emotions, this week as you’re getting ready for your next game? Does that even elevate a little bit more as you get set for this next practice? (Jeff Skversky)
COACH PEDERSON: I think in our business, you obviously learn from the previous game or the previous set of circumstances and it definitely wasn’t our best as you guys have so eloquently written about.
And so for us, it’s a matter of just going to work today and having a great day today and getting better today and starting the process for Sunday. But I think you can always lean back on the good, the bad, and use that as some motivation moving forward. We know we’ve got to play better. We’ve got to coach better and that’s what we’re going to focus on this week.
Q. A lot of focus on the offensive line obviously but there seemed to be at least a few protection issues with the running backs, as well. How much would getting Miles Sanders back help you in that part of it? How much did he improve in pass-protection as his rookie season went on? (John McMullen)
COACH PEDERSON: He improved a lot throughout his rookie season. Pass protection, a lot of these backs coming from college football are not asked to do, they are asked to protect, but they are not asked to protect or they don’t see the types of defenses that we see on a daily basis and the schemes and the different calls and all of that.
Miles really improved all of last season, so, he’s got to get back in there. He’s definitely missed obviously some practice time, so it’s going to take a little bit for him to get his eyes back seeing what he needs to see, listening to the protection calls from [C Jason] Kelce or [QB] Carson [Wentz], and go from there. But having his ability to pass protect obviously helps the whole unit.
Q. When there’s an off-field issue like the contract dispute between the team and TE Zach Ertz, what kind of role do you take, and does your experience as a player kind of help you empathize with the player in that situation? (Tim McManus)
COACH PEDERSON: Well, I’m the head football coach and so I take the high road. I encourage the player to try to eliminate the distractions, leave that between the agent and the club and just focus on your job.
I’m all for the player getting as much as they can and I’m happy when they can, but at the same time, until that’s obviously — until the contract is signed or you know whatever it might be, I think it’s just from my standpoint as the head coach, just continuing to talk to players and say, hey, man, let’s focus on this week. Let’s get better today. We’ve got a game coming up and this is how we’re going to use you in this game and try to get his mind, the player’s mind, off of that situation and let the powers to be kind of handle those contracts.
Q. Carson Wentz was dealing with a lower body injury before the start of the regular season. Curious if that impacted your play calling in terms of moving him outside the pocket? (Eliot Shorr-Parks)
COACH PEDERSON: No.
Q. Why then didn’t we see Carson Wentz moved out as much? He had a lot of success doing that at the end of last year. Didn’t seem like he really was out of the pocket as much. Is that something we can expect to see moving forward? (Brandon Lee Gowton)
COACH PEDERSON: I’d love to be able to sit down and kind of maybe show you guys game film and study the tape and talk about scheme and all that kind of stuff, and there’s opportunities. Carson is a great out of the pocket thrower. We understand that. But when we have 13 snaps that are second down and 7-plus, we didn’t do a very good job on first down, whether we are running or passing the football.
Utilizing an out-of-the-pocket throw, a movement-type throw, when it’s second and 13, I don’t know, maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. But I think you have to push the ball differently down the field, drop back, playaction, whatever it might be, screen.
But you just can’t — listen, everything we do, obviously it starts with first down and if you’re not positive on first down, it now affects what you do on second down and then it affects you on third down or fourth down.
I would love to have Carson out of the pocket more. He is dynamic outside of the pocket, great vision and all that. But again, we’ve got to do a better job on first down in order for a lot of those plays to take place.