Eagles

LeGarrette Blount 'on the same page' with Doug Pederson about his role

LeGarrette Blount 'on the same page' with Doug Pederson about his role

Make no mistake, LeGarrette Blount wants the football. At the same time, Blount isn’t stewing over the fact that he didn’t record a single carry in the Eagles’ loss to the Chiefs this past week.

“I’m not frustrated,” Blount said Wednesday after practice. “It’s Week 3. We have 14 games left. That’s a lot of time in this league.”

It’s only natural to assume Blount would be displeased on some level. The eighth-year veteran was only on the field for six snaps in Kansas City, finishing with one catch for no gain, and his only carry negated by a penalty. Last season, Blount racked up 299 rushing attempts for 1,161 yards and an NFL-best 18 touchdowns with the Patriots, so he’s used to getting the ball.

But Blount isn’t looking back. He insists his focus is on the task at hand.

“You can’t really dwell on the past, can’t really dwell on last week because we have the Giants,” Blount said. “We have a tough opponent coming up. I just have to continue to run and work, and whenever opportunities present themselves, I just have to take full advantage of them.”

So there you have it. Blount isn’t going to become a disgruntled employee just because he’s not a vital part of the game plan one week, which ought to provide some semblance of relief.

Yet, as far as Blount’s role with the Eagles is concerned, he offers little in the way of clarity.

“You just never know,” Blount said. “The flow of the game can dictate everything. A game plan could be one thing, and then the flow of the game can change in an instant.

“I just know that I come to work every day and I grind, so let the chips fall where they may. I can only control what I can control, and that’s how hard I work and how much I dedicate myself to making sure I can maximize my chances.”

How Blount was going to fit with the Eagles offense was a question mark from the moment he signed in May. He’s 30 years old. He’s almost strictly a between-the-tackles runner. He isn’t a huge threat as a receiver out of the backfield. Even Blount’s contract — a one-year deal worth $1.25 million — wasn’t indicative of a feature back.

Blount would be happy to carry the load all season if asked. As of now, that doesn’t appear to be the likely outcome most weeks.

“Every running back sees themselves as an every-down back,” Blount said. “There’s no running back in this league that’s going to be like, ‘I just want to play first down,” or, ‘I just want to play third down.’

“Obviously, as a running back, you want the football. It’s tough going through a full game and not getting any carries. You have to make sure that you know it’s a bigger task and we have a bigger goal than individual goals. We’re fighting to win this division and move further along than that, so whatever it takes to get that done, I’m all aboard for it.”

Outside the NovaCare Complex, everybody is wondering what the Eagles are doing with Blount. However, this doesn’t appear to be a situation where a high-profile free agent didn’t know what he was getting himself into when he signed.

“He and I talk all the time, quite honestly,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said Wednesday. Pederson previously revealed he had not approached Blount about the lack of playing time against the Chiefs, perhaps because such a conversation would be unnecessary.

“I think it's important that you define the role for guys, and here's my expectations for players,” Pederson said. “I think it's important. And even the position coach, to have that conversation with players at their position.

“Listen, we only have one football, and you try to get everybody involved when you can and if you can. He and I, we've had conversations defining the role.”

Blount seemed to confirm he understands what his role is, and did not express any issues with Pederson’s play-calling.

“We’re on the same page,” Blount said. “We’ve been on the same page. We’ve talked. We know how things work. We know that we have to get this running game going and off the ground if we want to be a good, balanced team.

“Whenever Doug calls my number, I just know I’m going to be ready.”

Ronald Darby returns to practice for Eagles, status for Monday uncertain

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Ronald Darby returns to practice for Eagles, status for Monday uncertain

There's some good news coming out of the NovaCare Complex on Thursday: Ronald Darby is back at practice. 

Head coach Doug Pederson said Darby, who has missed every game since the opener with a dislocated ankle, will practice this week, at least as a limited participant. 

"I can't commit at this time if he's going to be ready (to play on Monday night)," Pederson said, "but we're going to give him some reps this week and see where he's at but he's doing extremely well."

Darby will be practicing this week but it seems unlikely he'll play on Monday night at the Linc. Pederson said "stars (would) have to align" for that to happen. 

Still, practicing is a great sign.

Darby was carted off the field in the second quarter of the opener against Washington with a pretty gruesome-looking ankle injury. It looked like his season was over. But the Eagles put a "4-6 week" label on the injury and there's a reason they didn't put him on IR. 

The injury was a dislocated ankle that didn't need surgery. That last time he spoke to reporters, in mid-September, Darby was confident he'd return in 4-6 weeks. 

So what would Darby have to show to play this week? 

"Obviously with the time off, there's a lot of things that are involved, conditioning No. 1," Pederson said. "That's probably the most important thing. How sore does he get during the week? And by no means do I want to rush him back and just say 'hey, we said this is the week, let's go play.' There's a lot of factors that have to be sort of right, stars have to align for him to be ready to go. But this week will be good just to get back and begin that process of practice and getting that conditioning back."

Darby's return to practice isn't the only good news on Thursday. Jordan Hicks (ankle) and Wendell Smallwood (knee) will also practice. 

Hicks left last week's game early with that ankle injury but Pederson said Hicks is "fine " and there "should be no issues."  

Smallwood has missed the last two games with a knee injury he suffered in LA against the Chargers. Pederson said Smallwood will be limited to start the week but they'll ramp it up as the week goes on. 

Eagles place special teams ace Chris Maragos on injured reserve

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Eagles place special teams ace Chris Maragos on injured reserve

The Eagles will be without one of their best special teamers the rest of the way. 

The team officially placed special teams ace Chris Maragos (knee) on injured reserve on Thursday morning. 

Maragos went down on punt coverage in the fourth quarter last week against the Panthers. Maragos was in pain and was seen leaving the stadium with a huge brace on his right knee. 

To fill his roster spot, the Eagles have promoted linebacker and fifth-rounder Nate Gerry to the active roster. The Eagles also signed WR Rashard Davis to fill Gerry's spot on the practice squad. 

Gerry is converting from college safety to NFL linebacker but could play a role on special teams. 

Maragos, 30, needed to play on defense a few weeks ago because of injury but his main role with the team is as a special teams ace. He has played more special teams snaps (126) than any other player on the Eagles and is tied for the team lead with six special teams tackles.

He was also voted as one of the Eagles' five captains for the season. The Eagles have two offensive captains, two defensive captains and Maragos was their special teams captain. 

Last November, Maragos signed a three-year extension worth $6 million that goes through the 2019 season.