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Doug Pederson's Return has Nick Sirianni Already Deep in Preparations

The Eagles coach said he didn't know the Super Bowl-winning coach well, plus more from his Monday press conference
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Jalen Reagor was booed at Lincoln Financial Field.

Carson Wentz was booed on his home field, FedEx Field, when thousands of Eagles fans took over that stadium.

Doug Pederson?

The jury is still out, but boos are hard to imagine when Pederson brings the first-place Jacksonville Jaguars to town for a 1 p.m. game on Sunday.

Pederson delivered the lone Super Bowl title to Philadelphia. He has a statue outside the Linc.

It should be cheers for the former coach. At least until kickoff.

“As far as Doug, I got a ton of respect for him,” said Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni on Monday afternoon. “I don't know him personally. I've talked to him a couple times. I only know him through obviously the people in this building and through Frank (Reich).

“I've heard nothing but phenomenal things. I think he's a great football coach. Obviously, he brought this city a world championship. So much respect for him.”

Sirianni, who said he is deep in preparations already for the Jags, joked that he hopes his former head coach, the Colts’ Frank Reich, who was Pederson’s offensive coordinator when the Eagles won Super Bowl LII, is available when he comes looking for intel.

“(Reich) better answer my text message first since they're in the division together,” he said. “I can't tell Frank who to root for or who he needs to like better out of Doug and I. I think he's got a good relationship with both of us.

“I know Frank is the ultimate competitor. I imagine he'll be rooting for the AFC South team to lose. We got good mojo on that.”

SMITH PR DEBUT

DeVonta Smith fielded the first punt of his career in the first half and returned it 12 yards. The other punter returner, Britain Covey, had five returns for 34 yards (6.8 yards per return) with a muff inside the 10.

Sirianni explained using Smith on Monday.

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“We've been talking about that, how many different times can we get the football in DeVonta’s hands?” said the coach. “He's really sure-handed back there. He was really good at returning punts at Alabama the times that he did do it.

“We have faith in him based off our practice reps that he can go back there and do it. We wanted a little spark. We threw him back there.

“I think Britain did a good job, too. He put the one on the ground, but I think he did a good job, too. It wasn't a slight by any means on Britain, we just wanted to get the ball in DeVonta's hands when they were backed up. He did a nice job of getting some yardage off of that.”

Sirianni wouldn’t commit to using Smith more in that role.

“We'll see,” he said. “We'll see how that goes, what that turns into. As of right now, it's a spot thing. But who knows? We'll see how that goes. Continue to see how the season goes. We'll see what happens there.”

Covey is out of practice squad elevations, so if the Eagles want to use him anymore this season they will need to add him to the 53-man roster. There is one opening there, but OT Andre Dillard could return from his forearm injury next week.

VALUE OF 24 AND 8

Sirianni talked about a video clip he showed to the team on Saturday night of Kobe Bryant, who wore uniform numbers 24 and 8 during his career. That happened to be the final score, too.

The coach was scrolling through his phone on the bus ride to Washington watching college football when a video popped up.

“It was a perfect video to add to the story that I was telling there,” he said, explaining that Bryant was talking about playing against his former teammate Pau Gasol.

“Pau Gasol is my brother, Pau Gasol is my teammate, Pau Gasol I love him, but I'm running through that guy's chest, right?” Sirianni said Bryan was saying. “It was a cool video. I think it fit really well this weekend to say that we're the ultimate competitors.

“You don't just get a guy to be an ultimate competitor. The prerequisite of getting on this football team was to be an ultimate competitor, so those guys have it in them. I was just reminding them of it. Then someone made it clear to me that the score ended up 24-8, which I thought was pretty cool, even though we wanted to score a lot more points than that and we wanted them to score nothing, but we'll take that.”

INJURIES

Sirianni was vague on the injury front, though he said he expects players like Landon Dickerson, Milton Williams, and others to be good going into the week.

“Nothing structurally that is highly concerning to us about (various) guys,” he said, “but we'll keep our eye on them and see what the plan is for Wednesday at practice. We'll see how that goes.”

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Fan Nation Eagles Today and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglesmaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.