Eagles

Eagles camp notes, quotes and tidbits: Big guys field punts; Alshon Jeffery out 4th straight day

Eagles camp notes, quotes and tidbits: Big guys field punts; Alshon Jeffery out 4th straight day

The Eagles tried out two new punt returners on Friday: Jason Peters and Fletcher Cox. 

Toward the end of Friday's light 10/10/10 practice, head coach Doug Pederson sent Peters and Cox back to field two punts. Peters represented the offense and Cox represented the defense. 

What were the stakes? 

"I don't know if I'm supposed to discuss those things," Carson Wentz said. 

First, Peters needed to go to a knee to catch his ball, but he reeled it in. He estimated it was the first time he fielded a punt in over 10 years. 

Then, the pressure was on Cox. 

"Nah, there wasn't no pressure," Cox said. "No pressure at all. Just had to relax and catch the ball."

And he did. Thanks to Peters and Cox, the Eagles will get out of meetings earlier on Friday, heading into the off day on Saturday. 

A little earlier in practice, Pederson gathered the entire team around kicker Caleb Sturgis as he tried two 55-yard field goals. The stakes for that one were to extend team curfew. Maybe the pressure got to the kicker. He clanked the first off the right upright and sailed the second one wide right. 

"It makes it fun," Cox said. "It makes guys want to be here and be a part of what we're doing. At the same time, we have to work. The last three days have been a grind, with two of those days take-down-to-the-ground days. And yesterday was really a long grind day. I think it was the longest practice we've had with the muggy weather. It was good for us." 

"That's what I love about Coach Pederson," Wentz said. "He's a former player, so he kind of knows the dog days of camp, knows how to break up the monotony a little bit. That was cool today and I'm thankful JP made that catch. That's what Coach Pederson brings: the happy balance of work and keeping it light at times for the players."

Cox said he never questioned whether or not he would catch the punt. "I'm an athlete," he said. "You know that."  

Although, Darren Sproles' job is likely safe. 

"It was really good to see the athleticism," Pederson said. "Maybe if we get in a pinch, we'll stick them back there." 

Jeffery misses practice again
While LeGarrette Blount returned to the team after missing three days for personal reasons, Alshon Jeffery missed his fourth straight day of practice on Friday.

A shoulder injury has kept Jeffery out of practice this week, but Pederson said Jeffery is past the injury and Friday was just a rest day. He hasn't yet decided if Jeffery will play in the first preseason game in Green Bay next Thursday. 

"It's just a matter of keeping him rested," Pederson said. "We're not playing a game. I've seen a lot from him, probably more so than you guys have seen. I'm comfortable with where he's at in our offense. We're going to make sure he's healthy going into the season."

Jeffery hasn't practiced since Sunday. He missed Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week, which meant he missed the two days that featured tackling to the ground. 

Has Wentz had enough time to work with his new weapon? 

"I think the first week of training camp with Alshon, the throwing in Fargo, the spring stuff," Wentz said. "Obviously, I wish he would have been out there, but things happen. I'm excited to get him back, hopefully as soon as possible."

Nick Foles (elbow), Paul Turner (shoulder), Donnel Pumphrey (hamstring), Chris Long (rest), Josh Andrews (hand), Adam Zaruba (concussion) and Mychal Kendricks (groin) also missed practice. 

Corner or safety? 
Veteran defensive back Corey Graham didn't make it to Philly in time to practice on Friday, the day after he agreed to terms of a one-year deal

When the Eagles announced the deal, they listed Graham as a safety, which is important to note. While Graham has played safety for the past two seasons, he has played cornerback in the past. He actually played cornerback for Jim Schwartz in Buffalo in 2014. 

On Friday, Pederson said the Eagles will start the 32-year-old out as a safety but didn't rule out the possibility of his playing corner. 

"We've got to see," Pederson said. "It's been three years since he played (corner). We've got to see that when he gets here." 

The Eagles are clearly in more desperate need of cornerbacks than safeties. 

Next open practice
The Eagles will be back at practice on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. Practice starts at 10:05 a.m. 

It's free to come out and watch (parking is free too). Seats are first-come, first-serve. 

Film Review: Eagles go back to same play with Nick Foles

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Film Review: Eagles go back to same play with Nick Foles

Arguably the best and worst play in the Eagles' 43-35 win Sunday over the Rams came on the same call from Doug Pederson. 

The interception in the first quarter and the key 3rd-and-8 conversion late in the fourth were nearly identical. Carson Wentz was the quarterback for the first one, Nick Foles ran the second. 

Give credit to Pederson. The play clearly didn't work the first time, but he went back to it at a pivotal moment in the game. That's trusting the play and trusting the backup quarterback. 

Let's first take a look at that early interception: 

 

It's 3rd-and-5 from the Eagles' 30-yard line. Wentz is in shotgun with LeGarrette Blount flanking him. One tight end on the same side. Alshon Jeffery at the top of the screen, Torrey Smith at the bottom. Nelson Agholor (circled) is being given a cushion by Rams cornerback Nickell Roby-Coleman. The aptly named cornerback is the Rams' slot corner in their nickel package. 


The running back and tight end stay in to block, which creates a lot of room in the middle of the field for Agholor vs. Roby-Coleman. Wentz is locked in. The Eagles need to get to the 35-yard line for a first down, so Agholor reaches the top of his route at the 39, before cutting back. 

You can see there's not much of a window here, but this is a back shoulder throw that has to be perfect. 

It's a tight window, and although Wentz hits Agholor in the hands, Roby-Coleman is able to get a paw in there to deflect it to Kayvon Webster, who broke toward the play. Webster picked off the ball on the deflection and the Rams took over in Eagles' territory and scored a few plays later. 

So the play didn't work the first time. Had the throw been absolutely perfect and if Agholor could have made a great catch, it would have. But this is a play that has to be perfect to work. 

The next time, it was. 

This probably looks pretty familiar. It's 3rd-and-8 from the Eagles' 23-yard line. With 1:52 left in a two-point game, they know if they pick up this first down, they can pretty much run down the clock and escape Los Angeles with a win. This is huge. 

Same play. This time, Foles is in shotgun with Blount next to him. The tight end on the same side; both will block again. Jeffery and Smith are the wideouts. But we'll focus on Agholor (circled). He's against Roby-Coleman again and has that cushion. 


Foles is locked on Agholor, just like Wentz was in the first quarter, but there's just not much separation. Really, there's no separation. Roby-Coleman plays this really well. 

Foles needs his pass to be absolutely perfect. He needs to put it in a spot where only Agholor can catch it. 

How's this for perfect? 

On this particular play, Foles actually threw a better pass than Wentz did in the first quarter. Now, Foles obviously isn't going to be Wentz, but this pass should at least give fans some confidence. 

And confidence isn't lacking. At an absolutely pivotal moment of the game, Pederson went back to a play that produced an interception the first time. And he went back to it with his backup quarterback who hasn't really played much all season. It was gutsy, it worked out and it shows the head coach's confidence in his new QB.

On Wednesday, Pederson pointed out Foles and Agholor were able to complete this pass after not working together all week or all season. All those reps have been going to Wentz. Now, Foles will get the chance to work with Agholor and the other starters the rest of the way. 

Report: Carson Wentz has surgery on torn left ACL

Report: Carson Wentz has surgery on torn left ACL

Carson Wentz underwent surgery Wednesday on his torn left ACL, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.

The surgery was performed by Dr. James Bradley, a Pittsburgh-based orthopedic knee specialist, per Mortensen.

The typical recovery timetable for an NFL player with a torn ACL is 9-12 months. 

Two days after Wentz suffered the depressing injury in Los Angeles, he was at the Eagles’ practice facility Tuesday helping Nick Foles game plan for the Giants, even though it was the players’ day off (see story).

While Wentz recovers, the Eagles anticipate he’ll put on his “coaching hat” and do what he can to assist the offense.