Eagles

Eagles Mailbag: Doug Pederson's calls, Corey Clement, Carson Wentz's attempts

Eagles Mailbag: Doug Pederson's calls, Corey Clement, Carson Wentz's attempts

I never know what to write at the top of these mailbags, so here it goes. 

I answered some of your questions yesterday (see story)

I'll answer more now:

I think Pederson will continue to be aggressive. I guess the real question is, how much? At times last season, Pederson pretty much admitted he was being so aggressive because the Eagles weren't really playing for much, so maybe he'll reel it in a little bit this season. But I think if Pederson really is aggressive by nature, he's going to continue that. 

It's funny you ask this now because I actually thought about some of those gutsy play calls when the team signed LeGarrette Blount last week. The Eagles weren't great in short-yardage situations in 2016, but Blount is very good in those same spots. Maybe Blount will be able to bail out his head coach this season. 

This is a tough question to answer because there are so many factors that go into it. For instance: If a team is down early in a game, the quarterback is gonna throw a ton of passes. And even though the Eagles signed Blount, will Pederson abandon his pass-run ratio? That seems unlikely. And how much of a difference-maker is Blount at this point in his career? Probably not enough to make the Eagles a run-first team. 

Let's start with the numbers. Last year, on his way to setting a rookie record for pass attempts, Wentz threw 40-plus passes in seven games. The same number of games as Matthew Stafford and Carson Palmer. Only Joe Flacco (11) and Drew Brews (10) had more. 

Guess what? I think that's just going to be Wentz's game under Pederson. Wentz is the Eagles' biggest weapon and they're going to live or die by his arm. He keeps airing it out in 2017. 

The Blount signing might have been good news for the Eagles, but it was terrible news for Corey Clement. The big back from Glassboro, New Jersey, might have actually had a chance to make the Eagles' 53-man roster, but that chance pretty much evaporated when Blount's pen hit paper. 

So, yeah, the practice squad would probably make sense. After all, Blount is on a one-year deal, so maybe Clement can be that big-bodied running back of the future. I'd say Clement has a pretty good shot of landing on the 10-man practice squad. 

As for the running backs on the roster, I'd expect four: Blount, Wendell Smallwood, Darren Sproles and Donnel Pumphrey. 

https://twitter.com/_primetime27/status/865566012976099330

Well, I haven't even seen the team practice together in shorts yet, so this is a bit early. But I'll play along. 

I think there's a good shot the Eagles win anywhere from seven to 10 games. Is it possible they win fewer games than they did in 2016? Sure. But I think it's unlikely as Wentz and Pederson enter Year 2 with some actual weapons. 

For the most part, I think the Eagles have improved this offseason, but there are still notable question marks, starting with their corners. That's a huge worry. The offense should be better in 2016, but what about the defense? Even though Jim Schwartz's unit was actually the strength of the team during most of last season, that's where many of my question marks are. 

Doug Pederson hoping to mix new face Jay Ajayi into Eagles' running attack

Doug Pederson hoping to mix new face Jay Ajayi into Eagles' running attack

Doug Pederson said he hopes to get recently re-acquired running back Jay Ajayi more involved in the offense as the Eagles head into the stretch run.

Ajayi has eight carries for 25 yards and a 3.1 average in two games since returning to the Eagles following a year layoff. 

A Pro Bowler in 2016 with the Dolphins and a stud down the stretch during the Super Bowl season, Ajayi suffered a torn ACL in Week 5 last year and didn’t play from Oct. 7, 2018, until Nov. 24, 2019, when he made his 2019 debut against the Seahawks.

Ajayi didn't have OTAs or a training camp and didn't even practice until the Wednesday before the Seattle game. 

It's a process with him, but we understand who he is and the injury that he's coming off of, so we're careful with that,” Pederson said. “But at the same time, he's a bigger, powerful guy that we can use in spots.

With Jordan Howard missing the last three games with nerve damage in his shoulder, rookie Miles Sanders has essentially been the entire running attack. But the Eagles are so hesitant to increase his workload significantly that it’s created a situation in which the Eagles just haven’t run the ball very much during their three-game losing streak because they haven’t had a viable second option.

During these last three games, Sanders has 40 carries, Ajayi eight and Boston Scott seven.

This is the first time the Eagles have leaned this heavily on one back in a three-game stretch since 2012. 

During a late-season three-game stretch in which LeSean McCoy was hurt, Bryce Brown got 52 carries and Dion Lewis had four.

The Eagles ran 45 percent of the time in the nine games Howard played and 31 percent since he got hurt. They’re 0-3 without him.

Miles has done a great job,” Pederson said Saturday. “I’d love to get Jay a few more touches and get Boston in the mix so we're not obviously wearing Miles down here this last month of the season.

The current stretch is the first in franchise history that the Eagles have thrown at least 40 times and run the ball 23 or fewer times in three straight games.

Howard hasn’t played since before the bye week and is out for the Eagles’ game Monday night against the Giants. 

Pederson said earlier in the week he doesn’t expect this to be a season-ending injury, but will Howard be able to pick up where he left off after such a long layoff even if he does return?

The Eagles began the season with Howard, Sanders, Corey Clement and Darren Sproles in what looked to be a deep running back rotation. 

Sanders is the only one of that group left. Can Ajayi make a difference after such a long layoff? Sounds like Pederson wants to find out.

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Eagles Injury Update: Latest on Derek Barnett, Nelson Agholor, Jordan Howard

Eagles Injury Update: Latest on Derek Barnett, Nelson Agholor, Jordan Howard

Updated: 3:39 p.m.

Derek Barnett and Nelson Agholor will likely be game-time decisions for Monday Night Football, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said on Saturday morning. 

Barnett (ankle) and Agholor (knee) both missed all three days of practice this week and are listed as questionable.

Meanwhile, linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill is still in the NFL’s concussion protocol. He was just placed in protocol on Thursday and won't play Monday night. 

And Jordan Howard (shoulder) has still not been cleared for contact; he can’t play until he is and that’s not happening before Monday. He's officially questionable. 

Lane Johnson also missed practice on Friday and Saturday for a non-injury reason but is expected to play on Monday. 

If Agholor is unable to play, the Eagles would be left with just three healthy receivers on the roster: Alshon Jeffery, JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Greg Ward. 

“We’re very comfortable, obviously, with the guys we have,” Pederson said. “So if it’s three, it’s three. We brought up [Josh Perkins] a week ago to help us there, so it’s an addition there. We go and we go play. We’ll discuss those over the next couple of days leading up to the game. If we have to make a decision we will. We feel good with the guys we have in that receiver role.” 

If the Eagles do decide to make a roster move, they have three wide receivers on their practice squad: Robert Davis, Marcus Green and Marken Michel. 

While Agholor had his knee injury before last week’s game, Barnett got hurt during the loss in Miami, but was still able to play through the injury and play 50 snaps. Barnett has played the third-most defensive snaps on the team this year, so losing him for this game wouldn’t be insignificant. 

If Barnett can’t play, expect Josh Sweat and Vinny Curry to get more reps. After that, Genard Avery, Daeshon Hall and even Shareef Miller could see a few snaps. 

For the Giants: 

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