Eagles

Both major doubts about Doug Pederson have been erased

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USA Today Images

Both major doubts about Doug Pederson have been erased

MVP candidate quarterback. Future Hall of Fame left tackle. Starting middle linebacker. The ultimate, all-purpose swiss-army knife. The captain of your special teams. The starting kicker. That's the short but long list of impactful Eagles players that have been lost to injury this season. 

Yet, here we stand on the brink of their meaningless season finale. The Eagles won the regular season — there is nothing else they could have accomplished short of going undefeated. Division title, bye week, home-field advantage throughout the postseason.

You don't overcome the depth and scope of those types of losses to achieve what they have without serious leadership from the top. Credit to Howie Roseman, Joe Douglas and the Eagles' front office for having enough depth to survive the subtractions. And props to the players — this is a determined group who play for one another. But the lion's share of the praise goes to the head coach. Doug Pederson has done a masterful job all season scheming and game-planning. The Birds are second in the NFL in scoring and rushing and fourth in total yards per game. That doesn't happen by accident. They've scored 30 points or more nine times.

But beyond the X's and O's is where you see the true brilliance of the job Pederson has done this year. Coaching is more about adapting and overcoming during the course of a long season than it is dialing up the right plays. Watch enough NFL games each week and you see plenty of teams that do not show up. You could make an argument the Eagles have had two ugly games in the 15 they've played. Maybe three if you count Seattle (I don't). Both of those games — Giants and Raiders — they still managed to win. And there is a big difference between an ugly game and not coming to play altogether. The Eagles have not had one of the latter all season. That's all Doug.

From the comeback in a hostile environment in L.A after losing Carson Wentz, to Kamu Grugier-Hill kicking off, to losing your blindside tackle, there was never a "woe is us," feel-sorry-for-yourself mentality. The next-man-up mantra is clichéd in sports but it's apt for this team. So if you're rightfully concerned about Nick Foles and the Eagles' corners in their pursuit of that elusive Super Bowl title, look no further than the club's ability to conquer the high mountains that have been placed in from of them all year, to buoy your spirits.     

Heading into this season, the jury was out on Pederson both from a strategical standpoint and as a motivator. He's delivered a knockout blow to both of those doubts. Does this ensure a parade or even a playoff win? No. The Eagles enter the postseason tournament with a lot of questions, and you wonder if Wentz injury wasn't the one that broke the bow. But one thing that is assured: The head coach will have them ready to play regardless of the circumstances.

Roob (and Ray Didinger) Knows Podcast - Why Jordan Matthews over Josh Gordon

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AP Images

Roob (and Ray Didinger) Knows Podcast - Why Jordan Matthews over Josh Gordon

On the latest edition of Roob Knows, Reuben Frank discusses why bringing back Jordan Matthews was the right move over a player like Josh Gordon.

Fans need to take it easy on Jalen Mills. He's a good cornerback that had a bad game.

Roob gets into the unique, almost unprecedented, relationship between Nick Foles and Carson Wentz.

Also, Ray Didinger joins the podcast and Roob and Ray answer your questions about the Eagles.

1:00 -  Jordan Matthews was the correct signing.
6:30 - Take it easy on Jalen Mills.
9:00 - Unique relationship between Nick Foles and Carson Wentz.
12:00 - Ray Didinger and Roob answer your questions.
25:00 - Roob Knows stats.
27:30 - Eagles running back situation.
30:30 - Eagles/Colts prediction.

Subscribe and rate Roob Knows: 
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Eagles injury update: Jay Ajayi, Darren Sproles miss practice again

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NBCSP

Eagles injury update: Jay Ajayi, Darren Sproles miss practice again

For the second straight day, Eagles running backs Jay Ajayi (back) and Darren Sproles (hamstring) were not practicing. 

That means they will have missed the two most important practices of the week and their availability for Sunday’s game is very much in question. 

Sproles injured his hamstring in practice before the last game and Ajayi took a hit on his lower back during Sunday’s game in Tampa. Ajayi toughed it out to come back in that one, but was in pain after the game. 

If Ajayi and Sproles can’t play vs. the Colts, the Eagles will be down to three running backs: Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood and Josh Adams, who was just brought up from the practice squad this week. 

The Eagles will likely be light at running back and receiver this week for Carson Wentz’s return. 

Wentz, who was a full participant for the first time this season Wednesday, was back on the field Thursday. He looked good in the small portion of practice reporters are allowed to watch. 

Linebackers Nate Gerry (groin) and D.J. Alexander (knee) were both back practicing after missing Wednesday’s session. That’s a good sign for the Eagles’ special teams. 

For the Colts, receiver T.Y. Hilton, running back Marlon Mack, tight end Jack Doyle and offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo all did not practice Thursday, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.

The Eagles will release an official injury report later this afternoon and game statuses will be released Friday. 

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