Eagles

Eagles Injury Update: Zach Ertz (hamstring) will play vs. Broncos

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NBC Sports Philadelphia

Eagles Injury Update: Zach Ertz (hamstring) will play vs. Broncos

Zach Ertz will be good to play on Sunday, head coach Doug Pederson said. 

He wasn't ready to definitely say Jay Ajayi will. 

Ertz, who popped up on the Eagles' injury report on Thursday, simply had some tightness in his hamstring, so they "backed him down." Pederson said his star tight end should be good to practice on Friday and play Sunday. 

Meanwhile, Pederson wouldn't commit to playing new running back Ajayi, who was acquired in a trade with the Dolphins earlier this week. 

"I haven't (made a decision) yet," Pederson said. "I have to get through today. It's a big day. Red zone obviously. There's a lot of things, moving parts down there. I want to make sure we get through today first before we make that decision."

Pederson said the Eagles have limited Ajayi's exposure to the playbook this week. They have given him just 10 to 15 plays, but Pederson said those plays are a good sampling of everything they do on offense. It seems likely Ajayi might have at least a limited role if he's active on Sunday. What might help is that many of the runs the Dolphins use are similar to what the Eagles run. 

Broncos head coach Vance Joseph said it's "tough" for a team to bring in a player like this and expect him to play right away. He anticipates that if Ajayi plays, it'll just be run plays and he won't be asked to do anything else.   

"He's done a nice job," Pederson said. "He's a smart guy. He comes from an offense that uses very similar terminology so he's familiar with that. He's picked it up. He's had some extra meetings with Duce this week. We're trying to get him up to speed as fast as he can and we can. He's done a nice job."

Cornerback Ronald Darby (ankle) will be listed as questionable for the third straight week. 

But don't bet on Darby playing, especially with the bye week looming. The Eagles can let him rest for two more weeks before bringing him back at Dallas on Nov. 19.

When do players know their football days are over?

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USA Today Images

When do players know their football days are over?

In the latest edition of Eagle Eye, Derrick Gunn and Barrett Brooks discuss Father's Day weekend. What kind of basketball parent is Barrett? The guys give their 53-man roster after spring practices. Tom Brady says he can feel his playing days are getting numbered. When do players first start realizing that the end is near and what makes that reality most difficult? Also, how should the Giants handle Odell Beckham Jr.'s contract situation?

"I think that Saquon [Barkley] is going to be better than [Ezekiel] Elliott." — Barrett Brooks.

1:00 - What kind of basketball parent is Barrett?
3:00 - Father's Day weekend recap.
5:00 - Eagles' 53-man roster after spring practices.
15:30 - Tom Brady tells Oprah the end is near ... when do players start seeing that reality?
20:00 - The hardest part about having to say goodbye to football.
23:00 - Odell Beckham Jr.'s contract situation.

Press Taylor was right choice for Eagles' QBs coach

Press Taylor was right choice for Eagles' QBs coach

The Eagles were just a few days away from the Super Bowl and there was a clear indication of just how loose the team really was. 

On Feb. 1, Carson Wentz tweeted out a photo proving it. 

So, what’s the point of this? Why show a photo that Wentz sent out from an escape room well over four months ago?

Well, because it was a little glimpse into the future. Because the five guys in that photo are going to be the five guys in the Eagles’ quarterback room this season. 

Along with Wentz, Nick Foles and Nate Sudfeld, the other two are Press Taylor (sitting) and Spencer Phillips. This offseason, after John DeFilippo left Philadelphia to take the offensive coordinator job in Minnesota, the Eagles promoted Taylor to take his position as quarterbacks coach and then promoted Phillips to take Taylor’s spot as the assistant quarterbacks coach. 

It was probably a no-brainer. 

And it’s crazy to think, but just a year after the Eagles blocked DeFilippo from leaving the organization, DeFilippo has left … and the Eagles are going to be just fine. 

At the time, before the 2017 season, it made sense to block DeFilippo. He was seemingly integral to the development of a young Wentz and he certainly deserves plenty of credit for the big jump in Wentz’s play last season. But now, without him, the Eagles are going to keep a finely-tuned machine running. And they’re going to do it with a very young and very promising coach. 

Taylor is just 30 years old, which seems incredibly young for a coach who is supposed to lead the most important position room for the Eagles and possibly the most important position room in the entire league. He’s just one year older than Foles. 

He might be young, but Taylor is uniquely positioned to handle this responsibility. And aside from his football acumen — which has been touted by his superiors — it’s his relationship with the players in the room that made him such a no-brainer replacement for DeFilippo. 

“I feel really close (to Wentz, Foles and Sudfeld),” Taylor said last week. “I know what makes them tick going into it. And then we all had our own relationships. Obviously, I wasn’t their quarterbacks coach at the time, but I was in the room, sat through those conversations, had my own conversations out on the practice field. I feel like I know the things they like, the things they didn’t like. And then was able to learn from the other guys, the other coaches in the room.”

After the Super Bowl, Taylor is probably best known in the city for bringing the Philly Special to the Eagles. In his position last year, it was his job to mine gadget plays from around the league and found that play being used by the Bears the season before (see story). And that’s great. But all the stuff we don’t know about last year is what’s going to make the most difference for the Eagles this season. 

Taylor has been with the Eagles since 2013, when Chip Kelly brought him to town. And then Doug Pederson was smart enough (and without ego) to keep Taylor in 2016. The brother of Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor, Press has quickly worked his way up the ladder. 

Last week, Wentz was asked if the team wanted his opinion before promoting Taylor. 

“I think it was pretty much known how we felt about Press beforehand,” Wentz said. “We’ve seen Press behind the scenes the last couple years and how hard he works. A lot of guys have a ton of respect for him as a person and as a coach. I know that’s where I sit. So far, it’s been great. He understands the game extremely well. We’re very like-minded, both on and off the field. The relationship I have with him personally and the relationship he has with all the quarterbacks has been tremendous so far.”

The relationship between Taylor and the QBs is so important. Relationships for this entire coaching staff are so important. Really, that’s what has made Pederson so special. He has that “emotional intelligence” and understands how to deal with his players. 

Taylor seems to have that too. And really, that’s why the Eagles’ QB room won’t miss a beat. 

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