Q. Without preseason games and with all your new assistant coaches, how do you prepare for the whole game day operation as far as communication with all the coaches? How is that going to work? (Reuben Frank)
DOUG PEDERSON: Like any season, I have communications with my coaches. I lay out their job descriptions, not only from a game-planning standpoint but also on game day and walk through who the guys are going to be on the sideline, who the guys are going to be in the box and their responsibilities there.
Obviously with COVID and with the new protocols and things, there are some limitations to who’s upstairs and who’s downstairs, but I’ve had all that covered throughout training camp.
Q. I’m just curious, there are some of these aftereffects of COVID. I’m just curious how are you feeling physically? Have you felt any of those aftereffects? (Bo Wulf)
DOUG PEDERSON: Well, thank you so much for asking. I do appreciate it. I’ve been feeling really good. Nothing has lingered. All the things that I was feeling for those six or seven days there have gone away and feel really good. Looking forward to kicking off the season.
Q. In RB Miles Sanders’ case the fact that he did not have really a training camp for you, do you have to manage his workload early in season? (Zach Berman)
DOUG PEDERSON: I think it goes back to even last year when he missed some time and we managed him to get him ready to play. I do think that is a possibility. We’ll get him through this week, see how he does and see where he’s at on Sunday.
Q. We talked to defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz yesterday about preparing for an opponent that you haven’t — new systems, new coaching staff, very, very — a lot of unknowns, I guess. How does that affect you? Does that make you think, I’ll just try to do what we do here and not worry about them, or how do you approach it? (Les Bowen)
DOUG PEDERSON: There is a little fine line there. I mean, we’ve got to continue to do what we do and within the rules that we’ve put in place, I think, with all three phases of our game.
We have to go back and we have to obviously kind of re-scout [Washington Football Team head] Coach [Ron] Rivera and Coach Del Rio [Washington Football Team defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio] and kind of see if there’s any similarities or possible crossover, plus we can go back and watch our games and just watch personnel, the guys that came back this year, guys that are on the roster that are going to be playing.
There is some unknown, obviously, with new coaching staffs and new schemes, and this is where we have to trust what we do and our skill set, trust our players, and make those in-game adjustments as we go.
Q. About a week ago the league was still trying to decide on the decibel level for the piped-in crowd noise for games with no fans. Do you know now what it’s going to be like, and what, if any, effect is it going to have? I assume you don’t need silent counts and things like that with the noise level you’re going to be facing? (Paul Domowitch)
DOUG PEDERSON: This is why we did our scrimmage at the Linc [Lincoln Financial Field] a week or so ago to try the crowd noise. Not sure if you were at the scrimmage or not, but what you heard in stadium is about the level of the noise. We did hear that potentially a little bit less than that, but I was on the field and really had no issues hearing the communication.
We still have to be smart with our cadences. We don’t want to — we’ve got to mix things up, obviously, communication. A lot of nonverbal, probably even more so, having more nonverbal communication just because of having the lack of crowd noise so that teams don’t pick up on things that we’re trying to do offensively and defensively.
Q. I was wondering if you could talk about your relationship with Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera and your thoughts on kind of watching him do his job from afar while also dealing with health issues. (Tim McManus)
DOUG PEDERSON: Obviously my relationship with Ron goes all the way back to when I was a player for [current Chiefs head coach] Andy Reid here back in 1999, when he was on Coach Reid’s staff back then, and that’s when I first got to know him. And then obviously as my career ended and got into coaching and saw him from time to time over the years, always had a lot of respect for he and obviously his wife and the things that he’s done.
He is one of those coaches that I sort of look to and study and see how he’s approached things with his team, whether I listen to a press conference or talk to him at league meetings, whatever it might be. I have a lot of respect for him and what he’s done. He’s been an outstanding coach in this league, obviously taking a team to the Super Bowl, so he knows how to do it and he does it the right way. I’ve got a lot of respect for him.
And then obviously what he’s going through right now, I know it’s got to be tough on him to be able to lead the team, but I know he’s going to do his best to continue to stay out in front, do what he needs to do to stay healthy and be back out on that sideline. Expect to see him Sunday and hopefully I get a chance to visit with him if possible and continue to pray for him and hope he recovers and heals 100 percent.
Q. We saw WR DeSean Jackson take more of a leadership role, I guess, than we probably have in years past this off-season. What’s impressed you about him from a leadership standpoint, especially with the three rookie wide receivers and WR Greg Ward and all those guys coming in? (Mike Kaye)
DOUG PEDERSON: DeSean has done an outstanding job for us, not only as a player but now probably more so in this role. I think DeSean knows that where he is in his career and those that have kind of mentored him along the way, and now he’s kind of in that same role where he can mentor these young guys. It’s one of the things that I take notice of with him out at practice, being able to talk to our young players and young receivers and teach them the game. DeSean has always played it at an extremely high level. He’s a great pro, takes his job seriously, and that’s what he’s instilling in our young players now.
Q. As G/T Matt Pryor got his experience last year in a playoff game, how much does that help him and how much does it help you guys to have that evaluation, and the things that you asked him to improve upon from that game, how has he been able to do that? (Dave Zangaro)
DOUG PEDERSON: That was obviously valuable experience for him to step in and play that right guard position. He’s comfortable over there. He and [T] Lane [Johnson] work well together and did last year and whatnot, and hopefully he continues to grow in that position.
He’s a big man. He’s a physical man. He’s done a nice job there. Having played the position gives him that experience moving forward, and hopefully he can really take it and just kind of roll with it, and embrace the opportunity that he has in front of him, and this will be really good for him.
Q. Do you expect to have T Lane Johnson out there Sunday? (John Clark)
DOUG PEDERSON: Lane is going to work today individually out at practice. He’s a guy that’s day-to-day. We’ll see where he’s at at the end of the week, but he’s doing well. I’ll just kind of update you, I guess, on he and Miles Sanders and guys that are going to be working that are day-to-day. Obviously, you’ll get a report at the end of today’s practice, but these guys — you’ll see these guys out there today working as we approach Sunday.
Q. How much of a concern would it be if Lane is not able to go with the injuries you already have on the O-line? (John Clark)
DOUG PEDERSON: Lane is a valuable piece to our offensive line. But yet we’ve got to prepare everybody if Lane is not available, and we’ve got to get our young guys ready to go. This is why when we select offensive linemen we look for guys that can play both left and right side, can play inside and outside. We’ve got some young players there that we’ll have ready.
We’ll see where Lane is at today, and hopefully he’ll progress in the right direction.
Q. Just sticking to that offensive line theme, with so many changes, a couple changes there at left tackle and right guard, how much more valuable, if any, does that make someone like C Jason Kelce at center? He’s getting ready to start his 10th season, I believe, or 11th season. How valuable has he been as kind of the anchor of that line? (Ed Kracz)
DOUG PEDERSON: You’re absolutely right. He’s been the anchor of that offensive line. His availability to play year in and year out, to be the starter, it’s impeccable. We ask a lot of him, obviously, with communication and what he sees defensively to make all the calls.
Having him anchor that offensive line goes a long way for the success of that group.
Q. I wanted to talk to you about typically coaches like structure, and you learned under Andy Reid, who probably has his schedules worked out to 2024, but all the uncertainty and executive vice president/general manager Howie Roseman kind of mentioned it when he talked to us, you guys have kind of embraced it. Now that you look back on this whole process, how difficult has it been to you to not have those constants, to not have that — to have to change everything? (John McMullen)
DOUG PEDERSON: I do think that obviously it — it’s like I tell the players all the time, you’ve got to remain flexible. You’ve got to understand that things can change, and obviously this approach started back when we left the building back on like March 13th. When we had to exit the building due to the pandemic and start working from home, we knew at that particular time that things were going to be different for this not only the off-season but training camp and into the regular season.
A lot of the scheduling and a lot of things that I’ve had to do, I just know that things can change, and you have to adapt.
Our players are resilient that way. It’s no different if a player gets hurt, we’ve got to coach the next guy. It’s no different if a protocol changes, we’ve just got to coach up the next protocol in the line of protocols. So you’ve got to stay flexible. You’ve got to have a little bit of a sense of humor with all this, have fun with it, and make sure that everything is well thought out and well planned out.
I’m just fortunate to not have to do it all myself. I’ve got a great support staff to help me with all of this. Hopefully we don’t have to make too many more changes.
Q. I was wondering how much you’re looking forward to seeing your new pieces on Sunday, specifically guys like CB Darius Slay. You could even include DeSean Jackson in there because he only played the one game last year. And your rookies, just unveiling those new pieces. (Martin Frank)
DOUG PEDERSON: It’s a great question. I am excited. This is the first time to get our guys out on the field, obviously, in game uniform against another opponent. It’s going to be fun this week in our preparation. But to watch these guys to perform, guys like Darius Slay and [CB] Nickell Robey-Coleman and guys that we brought on to our team to help us, it’ll be exciting to watch them and to see how they blend with our guys from last year, and then of course our young players that get a chance to play.
Hopefully I guess the biggest thing is that things aren’t too big for them and they can embrace it and have fun. That’s the bottom line, but I’m looking forward to it.