The Eagles’ first virtual offseason began on Monday with over 130 people logging onto a Microsoft Teams virtual conference call.
The maestro of it all was head coach Doug Pederson, who discussed the unique experience while appearing on NBCSN’s “Lunch Talk Live.”
Philadelphia was one of 20 teams to begin virtual work two days after the NFL Draft, according to a league source.
“It’s a weird feeling,” said Pederson. “We use Microsoft Teams and I could only really see four guys on the screen. … I’m talking into a computer screen and hopefully, my message is getting across to the 133 or so who were in that meeting.”
Pederson’s message was about accountability understanding the foibles that could be in play with so many left to their own devices in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that has left so many sheltered in place.
“We can still reach out, we can FaceTime, we can communicate electronically through the computers or the phone. It’s just where we’re at,” said Pederson. “We embrace it. We don’t make excuses for it.”
Sean Payton of the New Orleans was the one coach to essentially dismiss his team from a virtual offseason telling his players to be ready for summer work.
Pederson sees an opportunity, however, in a three-week virtual offseason in lieu of on-field OTAs.
“This is the times that we’re in and we understand it. And we’re taking advantage of the opportunity to,” said the coach.
NBCSports Philadelphia’s John Clark, meanwhile, was able to obtain part of Pederson’s address to the team which was told to “stay ready.”
“Approach everything with a winning attitude,” said Pederson. “This is the time to improve and build. Don’t let yourself, a teammate, or this city down by not doing your part.
“Create trust in one another. Connect with teammates to develop the chemistry to be successful.”
John McMullen covers the Eagles for SI.com and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John every day on SIRIUSXM’s Tony Bruno Show with Harry Mayes, Every Tuesday and Thursday with Eytan Shander on SBNation Radio, and every weekday on ESPN 97.3 in South Jersey. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen