Philadelphia Eagles head ball coach Doug Pederson did a video/conference call with reporters this morning.
Most of the topics touched on COVID-19 and how the Birds are operating on a limited basis, since the pandemic made rookie minicamp infeasible as facilities remain closed.
That’s interesting as it relates to Jalen Hurts, who is coming in as a second round draft pick but needs to learn the offense and make the jump from college to professional quarterback. Pederson was asked straight up if that would affect his immediate place on the depth chart and perhaps move Nate Sudfeld up to #2, to which he responded:
“Having played in this league for so long and seeing this pandemic and thinking back to when we came out of the lockout year, I think early on in this season it becomes a veteran-laden football season and football teams are going to have to rely on their veteran players. Nate is one of those guys for us. He’s been on our roster now the last couple of seasons and he knows exactly what we’re doing. I have a ton of confidence in Nate to become the backup quarterback. Nothing is ever handed to anybody. We always try to create competition at every position, and quarterback is not exempt from that. But I fully expect Nate to come in and be aggressive and be capable of doing the things he’s doing and become the backup to Carson.
And then with Jalen, right now it’s about learning and picking up our system. He’s another young player that we drafted where there’s a lot to learn from the quarterback position. Are we gonna take it a little bit slower with him until he grasps the offense? You might have to. What I like about it is always the unknown. And the unknown is how well a guy can progress. Once we get them on the grass and put them through the drills, put them through practices, then we see exactly what these guys are all about. Right now Jalen is doing a great job of picking up the offense, spitting it back to Press (Taylor), understanding what we’re trying to get done, and we go that route with him right now at this time.”
You do wonder how fast Hurts could come in, learn the offense, and be ready to run it when he’s limited right now to just studying the playbook from home and working out individually. It’s interesting to think about the importance of veterans this year and whether rookie growth might be stunted or delayed, not due to any fault of their own, but because of the nature of the pandemic and lack of a typical offseason.
It might look strange from an optics perspective to have Hurts be the #3 QB at the start of the season, but if you can’t have a real summer due to COVID-19, then we’d all just have to accept it for what it is. It wouldn’t be a red flag regarding Hurts, it would just be the byproduct of a wonky situation.
Watch live as head coach Doug Pederson speaks to the media. https://t.co/2YENIa2MqZ
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) May 19, 2020