NFC Notes: Eagles, Packers, Vikings

     

Eagles

Fresh off a major extension and leading an Eagles team with legitimate Super Bowl expectations, Eagles QB Carson Wentz has a major opportunity to stake his claim as one of the best signal-callers in the league this year, according to his HC Doug Pederson.

“This is also a great opportunity for Carson, to really regain the type of player he is to what we saw in 2017, and really what we saw in 2018 when he was playing,” Pederson said via Zach Berman of The Athletic. “He is a tremendous competitor. He is a tremendous leader, and quite frankly, I don’t think a lot of that bothers him. He just moves on. He is excited for this new season. It is a new team, there are new guys around him. He is energized, he feels good and I am just excited for that.”

The Eagles brought on Pederson following a falling out with previous HC Chip Kelly and GM Howie Roseman, as the two battled to see who would have more control over the roster. That’s not Pederson’s style, however. He says he’s content to let Roseman do his job and just focus on coaching the team. 

“I was hired to be the head football coach, not the general manager. I was hired to teach football. Howie was hired to do the job that he does…,” Pederson said via 94WIP’s Eliot Shorr-Parks. “I think they can co-exist and they have to co-exist. There has to be great communication and great dialog between those departments _ coaching and scouting. That’s the one thing, when I was here in ’16, that’s not my expertise. I can sit here and watch tape and write a report, and say this guy can do this, this, and this. And until we get him in the building and coach him up, you just don’t know. You lean on so much on our scouting department. With Howie, that’s probably the biggest thing, communication. It’s been transparent. It’s been open…We don’t have to agree on every player, right? But we can have constructive conversations and talk openly about certain guys and how well they can fit our system. For me, that’s just not the avenue that I want to go down as a coach. I’m a part of it. And I want my coaching staff to be a part of it. But I want to coach. I want Howie to bring the players in, and give us the talent that we can go and develop, and win games.”

Packers

A lot of the focus in Green Bay this offseason has been on the transition on the offensive side of the football with Aaron Rodgers and new HC Matt LaFleur. However, the Packers also made major changes to the defensive side of the football. The Packers allowed Clay Matthews to leave, trusting Blake Martinez with his middle linebacker role. They signed LBs Preston Smith, Za’Darius Smith and S Adrian Amos in free agency, then drafted LB Rashan Gary and S Darnell Savage Jr. in the first round. 

“It’s great. Everything’s new for those guys; they’re going into their second year with[DC] Mike Pettine, but there’s just a different feel,” Rodgers said in an interview with Pro Football Talk’s Chris Simms, via Zachary Jacobson. “Blake’s stepping into his role as a middle linebacker and bringing it. We brought in some really good leadership with Adrian Amos at safety. We drafted a young kid who’s really talented. I think the coolest thing is really the two outside linebackers. Just watching them just kind of fit in is really cool, Za’Darius and Preston, and they’re hungry. They’re young kids who haven’t won anything yet, so as an old guy, you love to see that. As much as you love the veterans, it’s good to have some new energy and I like what our GM did bringing those guys in.”

Vikings

  • Per Chris Tomasson, the Vikings are expected to sign seventh-round LS Austin Cutting on Monday ahead of training camp. 
  • If Cutting can beat current Vikings LS Kevin McDermott for the job, Minnesota can save $185,000 in cap space by releasing him, though McDermott would incur a $200,000 dead money charge. (Tomasson)

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