Eagles eager to refocus on football

Eagles eager to refocus on football

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — The Eagles have been in Minnesota since Sunday afternoon. They've toured the Mall of America, they've marveled at the indoor amusement park, they've answered silly questions at media night. 

Their real week starts on Wednesday. 

"I'm ready," defensive tackle Tim Jernigan said on Tuesday afternoon. "I'm ready to just get back to football and just get back to the X's and O's. We've been doing everything we gotta do just to stay focused and be ready for Sunday. It's going to be real good to be back." 

On Wednesday, the Eagles will get on buses and make the 20-minute drive from the Radisson Blu hotel in the Mall of America to the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis for their first real practice of Super Bowl week.

That's when the circus fades and the real work begins. By Friday, the Eagles will be finished with all their media availabilities and will be able to focus solely on football. 

Head coach Doug Pederson said on Tuesday that he hasn't decided whether or not the Eagles will practice in pads this week as they've done in recent weeks. The resumed padded practices came during the bye week to bring back some physicality to their workouts. It especially helped linemen. 

As far as the schedule of practice, things in Minnesota will be very similar to the way the Eagles did things back at the NovaCare Complex. They'll just be in a different location. 

"The setup over there is really nice," Pederson said. "The University of Minnesota has done a great job of allowing us to use their facility. That's going to be a great place to practice and get our work done this week. 

"The week itself, a lot of obligations, the guys get pulled in a lot of different directions. As we really kind of begin the work week and focus in again on the football game, we can't lose sight of that either. There is a game at the end of the week and my job is to make sure the guys stay mentally plugged in this week. That's why the routine will remain the same. We just adjust. We're flexible. Whatever we're asked to do, we do. At the same time, we stay focused on the task."

The Eagles will practice at the University of Minnesota this week, while the Patriots will use the Vikings' facilities. That will probably make many Vikings fans pretty happy, to not have the team that ousted them take over their building.  

"There really ain't much to do for fun," Jernigan said. "We didn't really come here for fun. We came here for business. It's cold outside. Staying in the hotel and focusing on ball." 

While this week and its distractions are pretty new for the Eagles, Bill Belichick's Patriots have been here plenty of times before, including last year. Belichick did quickly point out that his team has several new players who are experiencing this for the first time. But the majority have been through it all. 

"We talk to our players a lot about preparing for this game," Belichick said on Monday night, when asked if he talks to his players about avoiding distractions. "We try to prepare for the game as best we can, so that includes making good decisions with our time and knowing what's important this week. There will be time for plenty of other things starting Monday." 

The Eagles, obviously, have a similar mindset. This week is fun, sure, but starting Wednesday, football completely takes over. 

Like Jernigan, center Jason Kelce is looking forward to getting back on the practice field. 

"I think that we'll really start work tomorrow, where we'll get back into that standard type of week," Kelce said. "I think the coaches keep saying once we start the week of practice, going to meetings, going from this to this to this, it really kind of happens naturally."

Eagles QB Nick Foles reportedly OK after leaving game with shoulder injury

Eagles QB Nick Foles reportedly OK after leaving game with shoulder injury

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles will be OK after leaving Thursday’s preseason loss to the Patriots, according to a report Friday.

“After tests,” the Super Bowl LII MVP is not expected to be out long, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Foles, who left the game early in the second quarter after a strip sack, didn’t have a great outing: 3 of 9 for 44 yards. But more important than anything, he appears to be healthy after a scare.

After the game, Foles said he was “optimistic” about the injury.

“It’s just the shoulder,” Foles said. “It sort of got jarred in a funny way as I was following through. It feels good. We’ll check it out tomorrow more thoroughly.”

Foles didn’t return to the game, but he also never left the sideline, receiving treatment on what the team called a shoulder strain.

With the opener still weeks away, Foles didn’t want to speculate on his status for Week 1, but didn’t sound like a guy that planned to miss much time.

“I’m not even going to go there,” Foles said. “We’re just going to live in the moment and sort of go day to day. I’m going to do everything I can to get back on the field and hopefully practice the first day we get back practicing and be ready to roll.”

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Former Eagles first-round bust Marcus Smith released by Seahawks

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Former Eagles first-round bust Marcus Smith released by Seahawks

Marcus Smith, the Eagles’ first-round pick in 2014, was released by the Seahawks Friday, the second straight summer he’s been cut.

With just 6½ sacks in 51 career games over four seasons, Smith is among the biggest first-round busts in recent NFL history.

The Eagles released Smith last July 26, and he signed with the Seahawks two days later. He played in 14 games for Seattle a year ago, tying his career high with 2½ sacks.

Smith had missed practice the last two days with what coach Pete Carroll said was a personal issue.

In three years with the Eagles, the 26th pick in the 2014 draft recorded four sacks.

Some 174 players have recorded more sacks than Smith since opening day of 2014.

Smith is part of a remarkable trio of first-round defensive end busts the Eagles have drafted in the last couple decades.

Jon Harris, the 25th pick in 1997, had two career sacks. Jerome McDougle, the 15th pick in 2003, had three career sacks. And Smith has 6½.

Among defensive ends drafted in the first round during the 18-year span from 1997 through 2014, Harris, McDougle and Smith have the fourth, sixth and 16th-fewest sacks.

Smith, now 26, was due an $800,000 base salary this year if he made the Seahawks’ roster. They’re on the hook for a $400,000 signing bonus they gave him in March and will now have to carry that in dead money.

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