Eagles Injury Update: 'A big step' for Corey Clement

Eagles Injury Update: 'A big step' for Corey Clement

The last time Corey Clement was healthy?

“I’m not too sure,” he said. “I’m only worried about right now.”

When you can’t even remember the last time you were healthy, it’s been a long while.

Clement, the third-year running back and 2017 Super Bowl hero, is finally healthy and on Thursday for the first time participated in 7-on-7 drills at Eagles training camp practice.

He even showed flashes of the old Corey Clement when he took a short pass, juked a couple defenders and found his way into the end zone during a red-zone drill.

The Glassboro, New Jersey, native said he expects to be cleared for team drills — the final hurdle — as early as next week.

A big step,” said Clement, the only rookie in Super Bowl history with a 100-yard receiving game. “Realizing that I haven’t been playing for like 10 months so it’s a big step to just get back in the feel of things, catching, running, picking up blitz calls, hearing the quarterback’s cadence. Good time to get back out there on the field, get some of the play calls and get back to the grand scheme of things. Hopefully, by next week, I’ll be back in the whole thing.

Clement tore his ACL last December in the overtime loss in Dallas, but he didn’t look quite right even before that.

But he didn’t want to look back on what happened last year, and that’s understandable. His full focus has been on rehab since December, and that work he’s put in is finally paying off.

He said the trainers told him if things go well in 7-on-7 the next few days, he’ll graduate to full participation.

That’s what they’ve been saying,” he said. “I know what I can do, I know how comfortable I feel right now. They just want to be smart about it. We’ve got a lot of time left so why not be smart and utilize the days we do have. Team reps is really my biggest next step. Today was 7-on-7 and just getting more comfortable, getting my legs back.

It was only practice, but it was sure good to see Clement get in the end zone during the second extended goal-line session of practice.

Little short route, I think Coach did a great job of just scheming it up, getting me back into little flare routes and just making sure I don’t jump too soon, because as football players you want to do everything possible you can,” he said. “Jump out there first play, ‘Let me do a streak route.’ But no, slowly progressing, that’s what I like about it.

Clement returns to a crowded running back field, with newcomers Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders, recently re-signed Darren Sproles, 2018 Eagles rushing leader Josh Adams and third-year pro Wendell Smallwood, along with Boston Scott and Donnel Pumphrey. 

But competing for a roster spot is the last thing on his mind.

“My focus is getting back on the field,” he said. “Everybody has their competition within every group, so I’m looking for the best fight possible from anybody.”

One thing Clement said was that this long layoff taught him a new appreciation of football. Clement went from making two of the biggest plays in Super Bowl LII to hobbling through a difficult second year.

Every day I get a chance to even stretch with the team, that means a lot,” he said. “I do so much on the side with rehab, I miss being in the huddle, I miss being part of a scheme. Now I’m really not taking anything for granted because your time is really limited in the league so you’ve really got to make the most of your opportunity.

Miles Sanders

The rookie running back left late in practice and was checked out in the trainers’ tent for a few minutes before returning to the sideline with his helmet. Practice was almost over at that point and he didn’t take any more reps. Sanders suffered a foot injury but said he's fine.

Mack Hollins

The third-year wide receiver missed a third straight day with an undisclosed “lower-body” injury.

Paul Worrilow

The veteran linebacker remains out. Doug Pederson said he hasn’t had a setback but Worrilow has missed most of camp so far.

Jalen Mills

Mills was out watching practice but he remains on the PUP list and isn’t practicing.

Cre'Von LeBlanc

He remains out with what looks to be an extended foot or ankle injury.

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How the NFL’s perception of Carson Wentz has changed

How the NFL’s perception of Carson Wentz has changed

Two years ago, Carson Wentz came in at No. 3 on NFL Network’s list of the top 100 players in the league.

All he’s done since then is throw 48 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, complete 66 percent of his passes and fashion a 96.7 passer rating.

And drop out of the top 100.

It’s stupid, of course. We all understand Wentz should be in the top 100. He’s a really good player. But instead of complaining about it, let’s consider what it means.

Because it didn’t just happen. Nobody was out to get Carson. His fall out of the top-100 may be ridiculous, but it happened for a very real reason and represents a very real national perspective.

When he got hurt in L.A. late in the 2017 season, Wentz was 24 years old and the best young quarterback in football. Pat Mahomes and Deshaun Watson were rookies and Lamar Jackson was still at Louisville. 

Now Wentz is 27 and going into Year 5, and he’s just as talented as ever. His numbers considering his lack of receivers are crazy. That 96.7 passer rating throwing to Nelly, Mack Hollins and Alshon is 9th-highest in the NFL over the last two years. Yet he’s dropped from No. 3 entirely off the list.

It's all about perception.

Carson is no longer seen as this hot young quarterback taking the league by storm. He’s now perceived as injury prone and incapable of carrying a football team from opening day through a deep playoff run.

It’s amazing how perception can change so quickly, but that’s what happens. This year’s Next Biggest Thing is next year’s Washed-Up Has-Been.

The reality for Wentz is somewhere in between. When he’s been healthy, he’s been really good. But he’s going into Year 5 and the sum total of his postseason career is a 3-yard completion to Boston Scott.

So it’s really hard to fairly rank Wentz because he’s 27 and hasn’t won a playoff game. Hasn’t even finished one.

And this is a fickle business. 

Kyler Murray had a nice rookie year and I think he’s going to be really good, but he has no business being ranked ahead of Wentz. Josh Allen did some exciting things last year, but he has no business being ranked ahead of Wentz.

But people look at those guys now the same way they looked at Wentz two years ago. Young, exciting, improving, full of potential. Part of a new wave of NFL quarterbacks.

And when you look at the big picture, there’s a sense that young QBs are leaving Wentz by the wayside.

Mahomes and Watson are three years younger than Wentz. Jackson is four years younger. 

They’re now the hot young QBs. Now they're the future.  

That’s just natural.  Maybe it’s not fair that while you’re out there throwing 48 TDs and 14 INTs your reputation takes a hit, but that’s life.

I liked Carson’s answer when I asked him last week about not being in the top 100

“You can always use anything and everything as just a little bit of extra motivation,” he said. “I'm not going to let that cause me to lose any sleep or anything, but I do look forward to going out this year and showing what I can do.”

I’m glad he’s pissed. Or as close to pissed as Carson gets. I want angry Carson. 

Because you can hang your head and feel bad about being snubbed by somebody’s list or you can shrug it off and go do something about it and win some games and get to the playoffs and prove you really are one of the 100 best players in the league or maybe one of the 10 best.

In the end, only Carson truly controls how he's perceived. In the end, Carson's vote is the only one that counts. 

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Fletcher Cox spills details from Eagles D-line getaway at his ranch

Fletcher Cox spills details from Eagles D-line getaway at his ranch

Eagles defensive tackle Bruce Hector grew up in Tampa, Florida, and went to college at South Florida. Bruce Hector is 6-foot-2, 296 pounds. 

Bruce Hector had never ridden a horse. Of course he hadn’t. 

That changed in May when Fletcher Cox hosted most of his defensive line teammates at his ranch in Texas. 

Hector and Derek Barnett rode horses for the first time. The guy shot skeet — “everybody sucked at first until about 20 minutes into it,” Cox said — and Malik Jackson, whom Cox affectionately referred to as a “Cali Kid” got to spend some quality time with mosquitos and flies. 

It was one of those things, it was very important to me that I did that, to let those guys know ‘hey, I’m here for you, let’s all get together and get it done,’” Cox said. “Once the guys got there, we had everything laid out, food, places to stay. And guys enjoyed it.

In addition to all the activities Cox’s ranch has to offer, the Eagles’ defensive linemen also worked out together while trying to stay safe during COVID-19. 

Aside from the horses who had to support 300-pound linemen, the real MVPs of the getaway were Stephanie and Sue, two women who work on Cox’s ranch and were in charge of making sure everything was clean for the Eagles as they got together during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Eagles’ Pro Bowl defensive lineman said Stephanie and Sue “really stayed on top of it.” 

“I asked them, ‘hey when guys wake up go in their room, make sure you’re spraying everything down, make sure you’re washing the bedspread, making sure that everything is getting sprayed every day,’” Cox said. 

And they did. 

Aside from that, the only people working out on the fields were Cox and his teammates. In an offseason where the Eagles lost all of OTAs and minicamps, Cox felt like he had to step up and get the group together. Without those workouts, the Eagles’ defensive line wouldn’t have been together until training camp this month.  

“I knew I had the place to get all the guys down to my place in Texas,” Cox said. “I reached out to all the guys. I told the guys, ‘hey if you feel safe coming down, let’s all get together as a group, as a D-line unit and try to knock some things out.’ Let’s get a couple days where we can get some work in and just kind of hang out and be around each other.”

Cox, 29, has really grown into his role as a leader on the team, similarly to Carson Wentz, who got a group of receivers together this offseason in Houston. 

On Wednesday, Cox said the defensive line will need to lead the Eagles in 2020 and he’s probably right. That makes his role even more important. He’s the leader of the group that has to lead the team. 

Give him a lot of credit for getting his teammates together during a difficult and unusual offseason. Give that horse a ton of credit too. 

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