Doug Pederson Provides COVID-19 & Injury Updates for Eagles Camp

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Eagles veterans will report to the NovaCare Complex for training camp on Tuesday. There is a slew of protocols, per the league’s new safety agreement.

Head coach Doug Pederson addressed the media on Monday morning to walk through a bunch of those new guidelines, including if any players tested positive for the novel coronavirus. It’s a topic of concern after 14 Miami Marlins players tested positive for COVID-19 and forced the cancellation of two major-league baseball games. Unfortunately, this is the new normal in professional sports.

“We understand that the virus is real,” Pederson told reporters, “and we are doing everything we can in our powers to stay safe … protecting ourselves when we’re in the building, protecting our players, and it’s unfortunate what has happened but we do have a lengthy set of protocols that we have to abide by. This is our new normal right now.”

Players have been getting tested every day upon their arrival at the practice facility, then undergo an intense screening process. They are required to wear masks inside the building and practice social distancing. Strength and conditioning training begins on Aug. 3 and the first padded practice is slated for Aug. 17. Rosters will have to be trimmed to 80 players by then.

“I feel extremely safe,” Pederson said. “Coming into it there might have been some skepticism, with the testing and the screening that goes on but it’s very thorough. This is our bubble, right here at NovaCare. We can’t control everything … I can’t control everything but right now this is a great environment to succeed in.”

When asked specifically if any Eagles players did indeed test positive, Pederson deflected the question. He cannot divulge that information until the NFLPA and the medical teams deem it permissible.

“I can’t give out that information because the NFL and the players association and the medical team … that information right now is not accessible to you guys,” Pederson said.

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Updating Alshon Jeffery, Other Injured Players

Pederson wasn’t able to rattle off all the injured players who had reported early and used the practice facility to rehab. He mentioned guard Brandon Brooks (obviously that didn’t work out) and safety Rodney McLeod, along with receiver Alshon Jeffery.

The latter has been the topic of controversy dating back to last season but the head coach expressed confidence in Jeffery’s ability to contribute in 2020. The Eagles won’t put a timetable on his return, although there is speculation he’ll start the year on the PUP list.

“He’s doing extremely well. Again, he’s in a really good spot. He’s going to continue to work and get himself ready,” Pederson told reporters. “You know me, I don’t put timetables on players but when he’s ready, he’ll be back out there on the field with us. I’m excited, even though we missed the spring and had this pandemic, he was working and rehabbing and doing everything that he could to get himself ready for the season.”


Jason Peters Making ‘Relatively Easy’ Transition to Guard

Pederson also provided an update on the thinking behind signing veteran Jason Peters and moving him over to right guard. The future Hall-of-Fame left tackle was brought in to replace Brooks and add some much-needed leadership to the locker room in the absence of Malcolm Jenkins. Switching positions shouldn’t be an issue.

“We had many conversations with Jason — about what type of player he is, his leadership on the football team,” Pederson said. “The transition [to right guard] would be relatively easy — now I’m not going to say it’s going to be easy — but it’s going to be relatively easy for him because he’s a veteran guy moving into that guard spot.”

And don’t think for one second that is any kind of knock on second-year man Andre Dillard. He is penciled in as the Eagles’ starting left tackle. He won’t be looking over his shoulder.

“And, quite frankly, we love where Andre is at,” Pederson said. “He’s had a tremendous offseason, the things he did for us last season, the games he played and started for us, he did well. It’s just going to be a great opportunity for him moving forward.”

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