Donnel Pumphrey

Eagles Injury Update: Rookie RB Donnel Pumphrey tears hamstring

Eagles Injury Update: Rookie RB Donnel Pumphrey tears hamstring

Rookie running back Donnel Pumphrey probably wasn't going to play anytime soon.

Now he won't even have the chance.

During Wednesday's practice, Pumphrey tore his right hamstring on running play with the scout team. His rough rookie season hit yet another rough patch.

On Friday, the Eagles placed him on injured reserve, possibly ending his season. The Eagles could bring Pumphrey back after eight weeks if he is healthy enough, but they can do that with only two players this season. Kicker Caleb Sturgis could be one of them. Pumphrey said the doctors told him it's a four to six week injury, but he'll be out for at least eight. 

"It didn't really pull or anything," Pumphrey said on Friday. "It just felt like it grabbed twice. I did it twice in the same practice. And I was able to walk off the field and not limping or nothing. I got the MRI and they said it was torn." 

During training camp, Pumphrey had injured the same hamstring and was out for a few days. On Friday, he said while his hamstring felt better after the initial injury, he never lost the tightness in it.  

"It's definitely disappointing," Pumphrey said. "Gotta deal with it." 

Even when he was healthy, Pumphrey wasn't very good. In fact, had he not been a fourth-round pick, he probably wouldn't have made the team. The Eagles did something very rare to keep him: they kept five running backs.

The hope was to develop the 5-foot-9, 176-pound running back while keeping him inactive on game days. That plan is now obviously on hold.  

"Well, it'll set him back because he won't be able to run and do all the things that we want him to do," Pederson said. "It's unfortunate. We know it's part of the game but we'll keep him plugged in, in the meeting rooms and around the team and keep him plugged in that way."

Pumphrey is one of three players who has already been ruled out for Sunday's game in Kansas City. The other two are Ronald Darby (ankle) and Destiny Vaeao (wrist). Darby is obviously out for a while with a dislocated ankle; Pederson said Darby is "week to week."

With Vaeao out, there's a chance rookie sixth-round pick Elijah Qualls might play. As the fourth-string defensive tackle, Vaeao got 12 snaps in the opener.  

"There's a chance," Pederson said about Vaeao's possibly playing. "We've worked him this week in practice. He definitely has an opportunity to play in this game, sure."

Thanks to the hip injury to Caleb Sturgis, who is on IR, this Sunday will be the debut of kicker Jake Elliott. Elliott was a fifth-round pick of the Bengals, but the Eagles signed him earlier this week.

Pederson said he has been impressed with the new kicker during the week of practice and having Elliott instead of Sturgis won't affect his decision-making.

"That's a great question because that's something we discussed during the week," Pederson said. "This place Arrowhead, the winds obviously can be, they can swirl around in this place. I just have to trust my gut and trust my instinct and trust the players. I've said that all along. I can't go in here second-guessing myself or a decision. I have to pull the trigger. If I feel like we're going to kick a field goal, then we'll kick it. It's not going to change my decision-making one way or the other."

Eagles Inactives: 4 draft picks to sit out season opener vs. Redskins

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Eagles Inactives: 4 draft picks to sit out season opener vs. Redskins

LANDOVER, Md. — The Eagles have four draft picks on their inactive list for the season opener. 

Rasul Douglas, Donnel Pumphrey, Shelton Gibson, Elijah Qualls, Chance Warmack, Dexter McDougle and Steven Means are all inactive for Sunday's game against Washington. 

The Eagles were completely healthy heading into Sunday's matchup in Washington. Every player on the 53-man roster practiced in full all week. 

Pumphrey expected to be inactive. After a terrible preseason where he averaged just 1.9 yards per rushing attempt, Pumphrey made the 53-man roster but said during the practice week that he would be inactive. He was right.

With Pumphrey, Gibson, Douglas and Qualls inactive, four of the Eagles' eight draft picks are on the inactive list Sunday. (Sidney Jones is on NFI and Nate Gerry is on the practice squad.) The only active draft picks are Derek Barnett and Mack Hollins. 

Undrafted rookie running back Corey Clement is active. 

McDougle might eventually have a role on the Eagles' defense, but for now, he's still the newcomer after the Eagles traded for him in late August. 

The Eagles kept just seven of their eight offensive linemen active, which makes Warmack the odd man out. Their backup offensive linemen are Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Stefen Wisniewski. 

The Eagles technically have just three cornerbacks active: Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby and Patrick Robinson. But Jaylen Watkins, while technically listed as a safety, has been playing corner and Corey Graham can play corner as well. 

Washington's inactives: Mack Brown, Joshua Holsey, Tyler Catalina, TJ Clemmings, Anthony Lanier, Jeremy Sprinkle and Josh Harvey-Clemons.

With no feature back, game-planning will determine Eagles' RB rotation

With no feature back, game-planning will determine Eagles' RB rotation

Donnel Pumphrey received a phone call from a Pennsylvania number Saturday and feared the worst. 

After all, the fourth-round pick was coming off an extremely disappointing preseason, in which he had trouble holding the ball and averaged a paltry 1.9 yards per attempt. When he answered the phone and heard Eagles de facto GM Howie Roseman on the other line, those fears didn't go away. 

Roseman, though, called with some good news and words of encouragement. He told Pumphrey he knew the transition from college had been tough, but they still believed in him. Roseman called to tell Pumphrey he made the 53-man roster. 

The most surprising part of final cuts wasn't that the Eagles kept Pumphrey; it was that they kept five running backs on the roster, which is highly unusual. Pumphrey, LeGarrette Blount, Wendell Smallwood, Darren Sproles and rookie Corey Clement all made the roster. 

"Yeah, I didn't think we were keeping five," Smallwood said. "I don't know no team that's done that before. I'm glad everyone's still in the room. I'm glad we didn't lose anybody. It's good to have everybody in the room." 

How the heck are the Eagles going to use five running backs this season? 

"I'm not 100 percent sure," Blount said. "I just know they kept all of us for a reason. We're all excited about it. None of us wanted any of the guys to leave. They kept us all together." 

Pederson stressed game-planning when asked if Blount will be the Eagles' featured back. It seems like he isn't ready to give any one running back that title. He did, however, mention he wants to get all three (meaning Blount, Smallwood and Sproles) involved each week. 

"It goes back to the game plan, quite honestly," Pederson said. "We understand that LeGarrette might be a little different runner even than Sproles or Wendell. I think it's game plan specific. It's hard to go into a game saying, ‘LeGarrette, you're going to get X number of touches,’ because you never know what the game, what circumstances might be posed during the game."

Pederson said the Eagles obviously won't take five running backs into each game; either one or two will be inactive each week. And it'll all be based on game plan and injury status (not merit) when he decides who will play in each game. 

Going into Week 1, Pumphrey said he's sure he'll be inactive, which shouldn't be much of a surprise after the preseason he just had. But he plans on working with the scout team, which means plenty of reps against the Eagles' first-team defense. He just has to prepare like he's going to play, even if he knows he isn't. 

Because if something ever happens to Sproles during the season, the Eagles will probably call on Pumphrey to take his role. 

"That’s probably one of the reasons they drafted me, to fit his role," Pumphrey said, after knocking on his wooden locker when he thought about the possibility of Sproles' getting injured. "I’m just going to continue to progress each day and keep my head in that film and be ready for it if they do call my number."

With Pumphrey inactive, that means Clement might either have a small role or might be pulling up a seat next to his fellow rookie on many game days. 

Clement clearly outplayed Pumphrey during the preseason and it seems safe to say if roles were reversed and Clement was the draft pick, Pumphrey would be gone. But after investing a fourth-round pick in the small back from San Diego State, the Eagles don't want to give up on him just yet. 

"I feel like they know the potential I do have," Pumphrey said. "I'm not going to say they're taking their time but they want to continue to develop me."

Developing Pumphrey means keeping him on the roster but not using him on game days. With just 53 roster spots available, that's a risky idea. It's also a risky idea to keep five running backs, especially because the Eagles elected to roll with just eight offensive linemen. It's all a little unorthodox. 

Smallwood was one of many who was surprised to see the Eagles keep five running backs, but he's confident there was a reason.

"I think with them doing that, they have a plan for this team, they have a plan for the running back position," Smallwood said. "Whatever they're throwing at us, I believe we're going to be ready for it. I believe us keeping five running backs, they think there's an element to our room and everyone can contribute in some way."