THIS WAS DOUG Pederson in March when asked about using wide receiver Jordan Matthews less in the slot and more on the outside: "I think he can play outside. I'm going to look at him outside as we go through this spring. With his skill set, I think he can play both (inside and outside)."
This was Pederson Friday when asked the same question about Matthews: "Jordan, again, he's been good on the outside. (But) he's better inside, because he's got that big body and he knows how to sort of use it in space.
"One thing he can do, particularly in tight areas, is separate from man-to-man type coverages. That's one thing we've seen (from him) this spring from the slot position. But again, he's a position-versatile guy that you can move around."
It's the first week in June. The start of training camp still is 7 1/2 weeks away. The season opener against Cleveland still is three months-and-change away.
Counting their predraft minicamp, the Eagles have held a grand total of 16 workouts this spring, all of them in shorts and without pads.
Pederson and his staff have not made any etched-in-stone decisions on anything. But they clearly have developed some early impressions. Judging by what he said Friday, one of them would seem to be that the Eagles might be best served keeping Matthews in the slot.
You can find fault with a lot of things Chip Kelly did during his three-year adventure in Philly. But selecting the 6-3, 212-pound Matthews in the second round of the 2014 draft and plugging him into the slot, where he could take advantage of his size against smaller nickel corners, wasn't one of them.
In two seasons in Kelly's spread tempo offense, Matthews was the team's most productive receiver. He had 152 receptions and 16 touchdowns. His 47 third-down catches over the last two years are the 10th most in the league by a wide receiver. His 20 red-zone receptions are the 12th most.
Nearly all of his receptions the last two years came out of the slot. He lined up inside about 95 percent of the time for Kelly.
In the NFL, the outside is where the money and the fame are. The outside is where you generally put your best wide receivers.
But ever since he came out of Vanderbilt, scouts have questioned whether Matthews is fast enough to flourish on the outside. They think the slot is exactly where he belongs, exactly where he can do the most damage to a defense.
Matthews is a team player. He's not a diva. Furthest thing from one. He will do whatever Pederson asks him to do, play wherever Pederson asks him to play.
But, like everybody else, he has an ego. He would like to be recognized as one of the best receivers in the league at some point. He would like to be a regular on the Pro Bowl guest list. He would like to make All-Pro.
And he eventually would like the kind of hefty contract that comes with all of those accolades.
All of those things will be difficult to achieve, though, if he spends most of his time in the slot, not only because it will mean fewer snaps, but also because he will be viewed as a guy who isn't good enough to play on the outside against the league's top cornerbacks.
"Our receivers, in this offense, are going to have to know multiple spots," Pederson said. "They are going to have to know an outside spot and an inside spot because we move them around so much by formation."
Again, it's early and things could change. The media have been allowed to watch only three of the team's spring practices. But for the most part, Matthews has lined up inside. When the first unit has lined up in two-wide-receiver sets, it's usually been with Nelson Agholor and Josh Huff.
"I want us to be a receiving corps where everybody out there feels they're the No. 1 receiver," Matthews said. "Obviously, right now, I'm doing a lot of inside stuff. But the way I look at it is, I want to be able to move around. I'm going to be able to do stuff outside (or) inside (or) whatever it may be. My job is to go out there and be the best Jordan I can be.
"Obviously, I've done slot two years in a row. Inside, I feel I'm at another level when it comes to playing inside. But I definitely want to be able to move around and do some other things for this offense. And I think coach is going to let me do that."
In the limited look reporters have had of Pederson's offense, it seems clear he will move people around a bit more than Kelly did.
"At the end of the day, I feel like the way the offense is set up is that, game to game, we're going to game-plan this thing," Matthews said.
"(Kelly's) offense was all predicated on speed. So I could stay in one spot and it didn't really matter. Teams could know what I was going to do, but if they were tired, it didn't matter. Because once fatigue sets in, guys forget about the game plan and all those things.
"But when we're coming out of the huddle (in Pederson's offense), there's a lot more scheming. There a lot more coach against coach. There's a lot more, OK, we have to disguise this personnel. We have to disguise where I am.
"My job is to make myself the best option. Nelson's job is to make himself the best option. Same with Josh. That way, you can move us around and then say, 'OK, now we're going to put the 'Z' (receiver) inside and we're going to put the 'S' outside, because you've got to start disguising stuff.' "