Eagles

Greg Ward waits patiently for his chance to play

Greg Ward waits patiently for his chance to play

If the Eagles are planning to activate Greg Ward from the practice squad, nobody’s told him.

Not that it matters.

Ward’s job doesn’t change whether he’s on the 53 or the practice squad.

Honestly, I stay ready every week because you never know. I’m just staying ready. Whenever my name is called, it’s called. If it’s not this week, if it’s not next week, I’m still going to prepare like I’m playing  every single week. It doesn’t really matter to me.

With DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery banged up, the Eagles have only three healthy receivers on the roster — veteran Nelson Agholor, rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and rarely used Mack Hollins.

Even though Doug Pederson left the door open for Jeffery and Jackson to possibly play Sunday against the Lions, it’s hard to imagine the Eagles would go into the game with only three healthy receivers.

And since they haven’t gone out and signed anybody, the logical assumption is that Greg Ward, who had a terrific training camp, will be promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster.

Why hasn’t that happened yet? 

Probably because Howie Roseman doesn’t want to tip his hand. Whoever the Eagles release to make room for Ward is someone the Eagles don’t want to lose. And the later in the week the Eagles release someone, the less likely it is that another team will claim that player.

None of this matters to Ward. 

You attack practice like you do any other day,” Ward said. “If they need you to take reps and you already know you’re not active that week, you still take every single practice like you’re going to play. Stay ready, stay positive. Just prepare mentally and physically.

Ward, a quarterback at Houston, first joined the Eagles in 2017 and spent the season on the practice squad. He was in camp again in 2018, then spent this past winter with the San Antonio Commanders of the Alliance of American Football, catching 22 passes for 214 yards in eight games. When the AAF folded, he rejoined the Eagles.

During training camp and the preseason, Ward showed excellence in running routes, getting open and catching the football. He caught six passes for 87 yards and a 38-yard touchdown from Clayton Thorson in the preseason.

It’s very exciting,” he said of the possibility. “It’s something me and my family have talked about ever since I got into the league. Whenever God is ready for me to play, that’s when I’ll play. Right now I’m doing whatever I can to help the team and just stay ready.

Ward, 24, has never played in an NFL game and hasn’t yet been on a 53-man roster.

It’s going to happen. Just a matter of when.



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Alshon Jeffery misses 2nd straight day of Eagles practice

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Alshon Jeffery misses 2nd straight day of Eagles practice

Alshon Jeffery missed practice for the second straight day with an ankle injury on Thursday, putting his status for Sunday’s game against the Patriots very much in question. 

It’s rare for an Eagles player to miss the first two days of practice in a week and play that weekend. 

On Wednesday, head coach Doug Pederson said Jeffery was “day to day” with the ankle injury he suffered in the Bears game before the bye week. He left that game early, but then had an extra week to rest. 

Earlier in the season, Jeffery suffered a calf injury early in the game against Atlanta. It’s possible he’s been playing through injury for most of the season, which would help to explain his drop in production. 

In eight games this season, the 29-year-old receiver has just 34 catches for 353 yards and three touchdowns. He’s on pace for his worst statistical season since his rookie year in 2012. 

On Wednesday, I asked Pederson about Jeffery’s dip in production. 

“Well, I think with having Dallas [Goedert] a little more involved in the offense, the ball gets spread around a little bit more. The times we have gone to Alshon, he's made plays,” Pederson said. 

It’s worth noting that Jeffery is tied for the team lead in drops with three. He’s one of five Eagles with three drops this season. 

“His value to the offense has been very good,” Pederson continued. “The ball's going to find the open guy. Sometimes he's the primary, sometimes he's not. He might be the secondary or the third guy in the progression. He's a guy that gives of himself to the team. That's who Alshon is. He doesn't gripe or complain. He does battle through injury. He's battled through it his whole career. He's battled through it here. He's a tough kid.

“We continue to game plan. We game plan for him every week. Again, it's my job to try to dial up as many plays as I can for him.”

If Jeffery doesn't play on Sunday, look for J.J. Arcega-Whiteside or Jordan Matthews to have a big role. 

The only other notable player missing at Thursday’s practice was Nigel Bradham, who will likely miss his fourth straight game this Sunday with an ankle injury of his own. 

Jason Peters (knee) and Jordan Howard (shoulder) were both practicing Thursday after being listed as limited on Wednesday. 

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Eagle Eye podcast: Is running the recipe?

Eagle Eye podcast: Is running the recipe?

On the latest Eagle Eye podcast presented by Nissan, Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro take a look at the Eagles’ final seven games and try to figure out if they can win with a run-first mentality. 

Plus, they go over the wacky transcript from receivers coach Carson Walch. Alshon Jeffery might be a big problem. 

Phil Perry from NBC Sports Boston joins the pod to talk about this matchup against the Patriots and how much New England is looking back at Super Bowl LII. 

• Looking at the final seven games
• Is running really the recipe? 
• Carson Walch didn’t produce either
• Alshon Jeffery might be a problem 
• Phil Perry joins the pod 
• A closer look at Eagles-Patriots matchups
• Watching the Super Bowl objectively 

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