Eagles coach Doug Pederson reinforced his time-to-get-back-to-business message when he addressed his team Thursday about the end of minicamp and the break before training camp in late July.
He didn’t tell everyone to go out and have a good time.
“The message from me to them, and really to the whole team, was about sacrifice — what are you willing to give up between now and camp to prove that we can make another run?” Pederson said in his final news conference before training camp. “Again, nothing is ever handed to us. We have to go earn it. We faced adversity. The team was very resilient last year, but what are you willing to give up individually between now and camp to help this football team get back to that championship game again? … The target got a little bit bigger on our backs, and we embrace that.
“Moving forward, that’s going to be our challenge. That’s going to be our motivation. Again, looking forward to camp.”
Asked about under-the radar players who might have helped themselves this spring, Pederson said: “I went into this offseason wanting to look at a lot of our younger players, obviously, from a year ago. I think guys like [wide receivers] Rashard Davis and Greg Ward … [and] Shelton Gibson [come] to mind, that have had really good springs.
“Even on the defensive side, [cornerback] Rasul Douglas, who played some last year but has sort of emerged … .
“You look at some of the draft picks, Dallas [Goedert], obviously, is going to be a nice fit for us as a tight end. I think these guys have really sort of embraced what we’re teaching [and] what we’re coaching. They have to get used to it. It’s a little different for a lot of these guys. I’m thinking of — even [2017 undrafted rookie defensive tackle Aziz] Shittu, who came back from an injury a year ago, has had a really nice spring.”
(Ahem) Injuries …
Defensive end Brandon Graham (ankle), defensive tackle Tim Jernigan (back), and wideout Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) are coming off surgery and have not participated in spring work. Pederson indicated he will take it slow with them even after camp starts.
“Camp is going to be real important,” Pederson said. “Really, for these three guys we’re talking about, even these next five weeks are going to be important through their rehab leading up to camp. But again, go back to last year and what we did with [Jeffery] with a lot of the rest and getting him ready for the season. As we keep monitoring, keep progressing, keep sort of inching toward opening day.”