Philadelphia Eagles: Doug Pederson discusses Duce Staley and his rookies

Doug Pederson (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Doug Pederson (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

If you’re a Philadelphia Eagles fan, you have to like what you see from Coach.

“My confidence hasn’t changed at all. I’m extremely (and) obviously optimistic, but I feel like we’re going to play”. Those were the words of Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson as he spoke with the Philly media via Zoom meeting following the news that he had tested positive for COVID-19 less than 24 hours earlier.

Coach Pederson was all smiles and extremely confident as he always is while sitting in his home office and spending a little under 15 minutes explaining the direction of his Eagles team with him being away from the NovaCare Complex for the foreseeable future.

Philly’s assistant head coach, Duce Staley, will run the day-to-day operations in his absence. Doug touched on that briefly.

"Duce, being the assistant head coach, he just assumes my role… He and I talk every single morning. I give him, you know, through communication with him, my thoughts on where I’m leading and what I’m thinking, and he carries that message forward. He’s done a great job, obviously, so far and will continue that (going forward)."

What about those Philadelphia Eagles rookies and the undrafted guys? Is this another wrench in the plan?

From a football standpoint, one of the things that you have to consider is this. It’s going to be hard for the rookies, especially the undrafted guys, to make an impression on for him to be able to work with them in his absence, right? Does this make it more difficult for the rookies, especially the undrafted guys to have a serious chance at working their way onto the roster?

As Paul Domowitch put it, how do these guys compensate as far as flashing for their head coach and the rest of his staff without the benefit of preseason games? The head coach thinks this provides an even better opportunity for the rookies.

"Number one, I think that this is a good time to be a late-round pick and possibly a free agent, even (with) 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’re going to learn a lot from the veterans. The way I’ve got the schedule set up is for them to learn and to be successful, and then, once we get into the padded portion of training camp is where we really get to see where these guys are. So, when you have an opportunity like this, it’s for all of us, as coaches in particular (to continue to) keep 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 (ready)."

One of the fears about the upcoming season, remember that there’s been no hint of any cancellations, is this. Positive tests are going to happen which means teams could be without starters or, obviously, coaches for several weeks.

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Perhaps, it’s the words of a now quarantined head coach that echo the loudest. “We truly feel that these young guys are going to be the ones that are going to have to help us throughout the entire season”. Sure, without Doug Pederson at the NovaCare Complex, the Eagles situation for the next couple of weeks is less than ideal, but if you’re a “Birds” fan, you have to like what you’re seeing from your leader. Let’s hope he gets better sooner rather than later.