Self-quarantine is over — at least for Doug Pederson.
After testing positive for the coronavirus and confining to his South Jersey home on August 2, the Philadelphia Eagles head coach tested negative twice earlier this week. He has returned after missing a total of 10 days.
Assistant head coach Duce Staley ran the team in the interim.
No Days Off for Doug
Pederson experienced minimal symptoms during isolation, and luckily for the Eagles, his energy level remained unaffected. This gave him the opportunity to lead the team remotely. He held virtual meetings and reviewed strength and conditioning videos.
Luckily for the players, there wasn’t much of a difference.
Running back, Miles Sanders stated, “Nothing really has been affected in a traumatic way. We just see Doug on the screen rather than in person.”
On a conference call from the NovaCare Complex last Wednesday, Pederson stated, “I obviously didn’t want to miss any time if I didn’t have to. I was able to watch the practices and stay up on everything that we did and still run the team from my home. I think that’s something the offseason taught us, taught me, how to do that virtually. At the same time, I was chomping, I was ready to get back here and be out on the grass with the players.”
And back, he is. Pederson and Staley can now combine forces and continue the momentum through the remainder of training camp.
Taking the Next Step in Training Camp
Last Wednesday wasn’t only crucial for Pederson, but it was also the start of unpadded practices on the field.
Despite his positive test, the timing worked out — he coached the team’s first practice of the summer in person. Over the last few days, players were on the field for non-contact sessions, during a “Gradual Ramp Up Period”.
Pederson stated, “My confidence hasn’t changed at all. I’m extremely optimistic.”
Padded practices began on August 17.
Due to injuries, Derek Barnett and Javon Hargrave still remain out. With limitations, Jason Peters and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside have returned and Duke Riley started Monday without restrictions.
In a “normal” season, the Eagles would be prepping for their first preseason game (against the Indianapolis Colts) this coming week, but not this year. Pederson believes if it wasn’t for the cancellation, the team would have been ready to play.
Instead, the team began a typical preseason regimen and will plan to go “live” to evaluate the dynamics. This will include eight or nine padded practices with two days of live hitting and tackling.
Pederson has stuck to this schedule in the past, and he doesn’t plan on making any changes this time around.
According to Pederson, he doesn’t feel behind and is confident in the team’s plan moving forward. He states, “We’ve put in our entire offense and defense. It’s already installed. We’re working through situational football now.”
The starting line may have been put into action; however, the need to evaluate rookie draft picks, undrafted free agents, and free agents remain. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NFL was unable to do this in the spring. These challenges now need to be assessed. The Eagles are hoping to have these answers next week.
The Eagles’ Reserve/COVID-19 List Diminshes
Doug Pederson is now the fourth person to be cleared from the coronavirus for the Philadelphia Eagles.
As, for the players, the Reserve/COVID-19 list is thankfully diminishing.
Prior to Pederson’s return, linebacker, Nate Gerry resumed on August 9. More recently, right tackle, Lane Johnson returned on August 11 and offensive tackle, Jordan Mailata, on August 13.
Passing game coordinator Press Taylor remains quarantined.
The Eagles’ head coach stated that he continues to feel comfortable with the protocols put into place, and the NovaCare Complex is safe for all who enter the building.
Pederson is entering his fifth season as the Eagles’ head coach, and it’s almost game time. The Eagles and Washington will meet on September 13 for a much-anticipated opening season.