There were periods of practices during the spring when the Eagles' three quarterbacks would go through individual drills, and there were three coaches up close watching: Doug Pederson, offensive coordinator Frank Reich, and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo.
All three coaches played the position and have coached the position in the NFL. The quarterbacks can function with DeFilippo putting them through drills, or both Reich and DeFilippo. But Pederson made sure he was involved.
The Eagles are proud of their quarterback-heavy coaching staff – it was a popular talking point from the team after the trade for Carson Wentz – and it's clear when watching practice that Pederson is not worried about spending too much time with one position. When asked how the coaches avoid stepping on toes, Pederson said Reich and DeFilippo must take their cues from him.
"It starts with me and ends with me, and I'll take responsibility for that," Pederson said. "So I coach up Frank and John and say, 'Listen, this is my message, and this is the message I want to send to the quarterbacks.' They're on board with that and they support that 100 percent. And I want to make sure my presence is still felt, even though maybe I'm not in that room all the time. But I still want to make sure that my presence is felt in the room."
Pederson said he would spend a lot of his meeting time with the quarterbacks. But when he's not there, he wants the message to Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel and Carson Wentz to be as if he is the one delivering it.
"Even after we do an installation and I've installed plays for that day, I want to make sure that our communication is still me through them and they convey that same message to the quarterback," Pederson said. "I think it's important that even from play-calling standpoints that Frank and I are saying the actual play call, that the words are coming out exactly right. Yes, it might be a different voice, but the words are still the same. They're in sequential order. And that's important to the quarterback, too, because that's all time, and trying to eliminate those elements in game times."
Beyond the team's record, the most important part of Pederson's first season as head coach is the development of Wentz. Pederson is connected to his first-round pick. He said the toughest part of a rookie's development is the feel for the NFL game, with a clock in the head for the timing of a play and of the incoming pass rush.
In fact, that's part of why Pederson wants to have physical practices that simulate a game environment. He wants to see if a quarterback drops and escapes, if they lower their eyes for an incoming rusher or if the eyes stay downfield on the progression. He will evaluate whether Wentz makes the correct protection calls and adjustments at the line.