PHILADELPHIA – Doug Pederson on Monday gave his first of 10 scheduled news conferences during the Philadelphia Eagles’ training camp. This is a new experience for the first-year head coach, who didn’t talk to the media as often as an assistant coach.
One challenge for Pederson will be maintaining a consistent message. He said Monday that his stated plan for Sam Bradford to start at quarterback this year isn’t necessarily iron-clad.
The issue came up when a reporter asked about rookie Carson Wentz having what amounts to a redshirt season as a rookie.
“Well, we don't know it will be his entire rookie year,” Pederson said. “We can't speculate that far out. But going into the season, there is a good chance it starts that way.”
Before jumping to the conclusion that Pederson is considering a different approach, it’s worth noting that the coach has a relaxed, informal speaking style. When he says “there is a good chance” that Wentz will begin the season on the sideline, that doesn’t mean there is an equally good chance that he won’t.
The basic plan hasn’t changed.
“Well, I mean, I’ve said all along Sam's the guy,” Pederson said. “Then you've got to get through four games and a lot of preseason. Going into September 11, you know, Sam's the guy. Sam's the guy, and I'll stick to that as we go. Chase [Daniel] is the No. 2 and Carson is No. 3.”
Pederson’s plan is adapted from Andy Reid’s approach in 1999, when Pederson was the veteran QB and Donovan McNabb was the No. 2 draft pick being brought along slowly. That year, Reid occasionally sent McNabb into games to run a series of plays.
This year, Pederson said, Wentz likely will be inactive on game days at the beginning of the season. That would make the gradual immersion that McNabb experienced difficult to do -- at least at first.
“For me, it's more down the line,” Pederson said. “I'm very comfortable with Sam and very comfortable with Chase. It’s a little different scenario than we had in 1999. Donovan came in as the No. 2, so a different scenario this year.
“So, right now, we're going to get Carson as many reps as we can. Get him caught up. Get him to where he needs to be. I'm very comfortable and excited where Sam left OTAs and where he came in this year right now. Chase is a solid two. So we're just going to have to wait to see what happens down the road.”
Pederson also said he’ll give Daniel and Wentz more practice time early in camp, leading up to the start of the preseason. Second- and third-team players generally see more action in the first two preseason games. The starters play more in the third week, so Bradford will begin to get more reps leading up to that.
“Your first two preseason games, typically your starters don't play a ton,” Pederson said. “You're trying to save them for that third game and get them ready for the regular season. So we'll focus on the 2s and 3s probably a little bit more early in camp, probably give them the bulk of the reps. Then we’ll ramp the guys up who we think are going to be the starters opening day; we'll get them more reps towards the end of camp.”
Pederson’s plan still calls for Bradford to get those starter’s reps -- no matter what he says.