The Eagles are 12 days from playing Washington in the season opener and Fletcher Cox is still not practicing.
The All-Pro defensive tackle, who is recovering from offseason foot surgery, hasn’t practiced in full all spring or summer and has now missed all the Eagles’ scheduled practices this week.
On Sunday, Pederson said he was confident Cox would be ready for Week 1, but his body language suggested he wasn’t totally confident.
On Tuesday, Pederson doubled down on the message.
“As I said the other day, I fully expect these guys to be ready for Week 1,” Pederson said Tuesday morning. “They’re getting themselves prepared for Week 1. That’s reasonable. [Cox] has been working, he’s still getting his workouts in. He’s been going through all our walkthroughs and been getting the mental side of it. And so it leads me to believe he’ll be ready. Fletcher is a guy that knows how to prepare, knows how to get himself ready. I would have no concern if that was the case.”
The “guys” Pederson was talking about, at least on defense, are presumably Cox (foot), Nigel Bradham (toe), Derek Barnett (shoulder), Ronald Darby (ACL) and Rodney McLeod (ACL).
All five starters have handled different workloads this summer:
• Cox has done some individual work, but hasn’t even been on the field with his teammates much over the past few weeks. The last time we talked to Cox, he seemed optimistic about his return but wouldn’t name a date.
• Bradham is working through recovery from a toe surgery for an injury from the Saints playoff game. He’s at least participated in some individual drills and defensive install. And before that, he had been working on a side field. A couple weeks ago, he was being fitted for a new insert for his shoe to help his comfort level.
• Barnett returned to 11-on-11 drills during training camp as he recovers from a torn rotator cuff surgery that ended his 2018 early. He did not play in any of the preseason games and isn’t expected to play Thursday. But at least he was a full-go in practice.
• Darby returned to 11-on-11 drills and even got some good work against the Ravens in practice when they were in town. Like Barnett, he hasn’t played in a game since his injury last season.
• McLeod has been the most encouraging recovery of the bunch, but he’s also had the longest time to heal. He played 14 snaps against the Ravens last Thursday night and even made a couple plays. He should be full-go for the opener.
Even if all five of these guys are back for Week 1, there has to be a serious question about whether or not they’ll be able to handle their normal workload as starters. Those conversations have already been happening with the coaching staff.
“That’s something we’ve discussed,” Pederson said. “Those are things you plan for. You gotta plan for all of that. We had great experience at that last year with the amount of injuries. Some of these guys you’ve mentioned have been practicing with us and have been looking good in practice. Some even got in the game last week. And so, again, it’s reasonable that everybody will be ready next week.”
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