The Eagles are preparing for the undefeated Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, facing a situation different than any other week this season.
“One guy has my entire playbook,” coach Doug Pederson said.
That one guy is Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford, who spent five months learning Pederson’s system and practicing against Jim Schwartz’s defense.
“He's got to worry about getting himself ready to play, too,” Pederson countered.
Pederson referenced Donovan McNabb returning to play the Eagles in 2010. Pederson said the Eagles had a “pretty good day,” but the Redskins beat the Eagles, 17-12, in that first game back. However, McNabb went 8 of 19 for 125 yards, one touchdown, and one interception, so the defense did well against the former Eagles quarterback.
“Listen, I'm not going to change anything,” Pederson said. “Will we tweak some stuff? Yes. We still have to get ready. This is a great football team coming in here. They are undefeated coming off a bye. Sam has obviously a good understanding and knowledge of what we do on both sides of the ball. I think where it becomes valuable for a coach when a player knows you is just knowing personnel. I think just understanding the types of guys that are here.”
Bradford picked up the offense during the spring and summer, but a better advantage is the familiarity with players who predated Pederson and these schemes. Whether that helps will be seen on Sunday, but Pederson didn’t seem to think Bradford’s knowledge of the systems will be much of a factor on Sunday.
“I think that [personnel familiarity] becomes more valuable than the Xs and Os,” Pederson said. “If I know Sam, and I know the quarterback position, he's got to get ready for this defense and get himself ready to go, as well.”