Eagles

Eagles notes, quotes and tidbits: Frank Reich praises WR group, competition is 'very tight'

Eagles notes, quotes and tidbits: Frank Reich praises WR group, competition is 'very tight'

If Howie Roseman's goal at the wide receiver position this offseason was to turn a weakness into a strength, he certainly achieved it. 

Even after the trade of Jordan Matthews. 

As the Eagles approach their final preseason game on Thursday night, there is an intense battle brewing for the final receiver spot or two. 

"This is, without a doubt, the best group that I've been around for a while," offensive coordinator Frank Reich said Monday. "I mean, from top to bottom, very competitive. They've all flashed. They all deserve to be here. I believe some of these guys, for a couple guys who might not be here, I think they're going to end up someplace else. That's how confident we feel in this group.

"I think, all in all, we're just very happy with the progress they've made and the chemistry in that room and the production that they've had in practice and in games."

It's unclear what the Eagles' receivers group will look like after final cuts. The Eagles kept just five wideouts after final cuts in 2016, but there seems to be a decent chance they'll carry six into 2017. 

Most folks seem to think these four players are locks for the roster: Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Nelson Agholor and Mack Hollins. 

That means the Eagles have these six players fighting it out for either one or two remaining spots: Marcus Johnson, Shelton Gibson, Bryce Treggs, Greg Ward, Paul Turner and Rashard Davis. 

Gibson was a fifth-round draft pick who played better later in the summer after a disastrous start, but he's not guaranteed a spot. Johnson has been very impressive and might be the front-runner. Treggs was on the team last year but didn't have much of an impact. Turner made the initial roster in 2016, but was cut shortly after to make room for Treggs; this summer he's dealt with a serious shoulder injury. Ward is a converted quarterback who has shown a lot of promise. And Davis is a latecomer but is a proven return man. 

There are decisions to be made and they might not be easy. 

So how tight is the competition for those last couple of spots? 

"It's tight. It's very tight. It's always tight," Reich said. "When it comes down to those last roster spots, Coach always emphasizes that it's not only what they do as a receiver, but what they do on special teams, and how they can contribute. Position versatility and special teams, all those things factor into the roster."

For a long time, Matthews was the fifth receiver who was guaranteed to make the roster. His departure in the Ronald Darby trade seemed to open up opportunity for another player. 

"If I'm in that room, and I'm one of those players, yeah, you have to believe that," Reich said. 

More snaps for Kendricks?
Mychal Kendricks has been having a pretty productive preseason. That might be putting it too lightly. 

"Yeah, well, I don't know if you could have any more production than him in the preseason," defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. "Good gracious. A little bit of it is being opportunistic, but he's been in the right spots."

Kendricks' production is hard to argue with. In three preseason games, he has three interceptions and returned one of them for a touchdown. 

But the real question surrounding Kendricks is if this is the beginning of more playing time. Last year, he was a part-time player despite being a starter in the team's base package. He was the odd linebacker out when the Eagles went to the nickel package, which happens about 70 percent of the time. It's possible that the Eagles could find ways to use Kendricks as a blitzer — a role in which he thrives — but Schwartz has been hesitant in the past because he didn't want to tip their hand in such situations. 

Schwartz, though, did reveal something interesting on Monday. Because Jordan Hicks has missed some time recently with a sore groin (he's expected to be fine for the opener), the Eagles worked their nickel package a little differently on Sunday. Nigel Bradham slid into the MIKE position and Kendricks replaced him in the two-linebacker nickel package. That's a look the Eagles will probably never use in the season when Hicks is healthy, but right now, they're trying to prepare for everything.

"If we had a game today, Jordan Hicks couldn't play," Schwartz said. "It's our responsibility to get the guys that can best produce on the field. He's certainly forced himself into that conversation."

Back and Beau than ever
Big ol' Beau Allen returned to the practice field on Sunday afternoon after passing his physical and being removed from the non-football injury list. Allen was pretty excited to get back on the field after working out privately throughout all of training camp. 

But apparently, those private workouts on separate fields kept him in good shape — "great shape," according to Schwartz. 

"Talking to him yesterday, he felt his timing was off a little bit, just timing of hands and steps," Schwartz said. "That will come back to him. He even said to me that this isn't his first rodeo. It will come back quick.

"Ideally, we'd like to get him some time in this game. He's fine. But just for, in my mind, and in his mind mentally, when we play the [Washington] Redskins, it's no longer, ‘How is it going to feel?’"

Eagle Eye Podcast: Who are the leaders on this team?

ap-carson_wentz_eagles_stats.jpg
AP Images

Eagle Eye Podcast: Who are the leaders on this team?

On this edition of Eagle Eye, Derrick Gunn and Dave Zangaro preview Eagles vs Saints. Good news; the Eagles appear to be getting healthier. Bad news; it's a daunting task they're facing.

What do they need to do to pull off an unlikely win? Is there a lack of leadership on this team? Gunner and Dave debate that.

Also, where will the guys visit while they work in New Orleans.

2:00 — Eagles are getting healthier.
6:30 — Taking a look at the secondary.
12:00 — That secondary has to go up against an incredible Saints offense.
16:00 — Eagles have to play a perfect game to win.
20:00 — Is there a lack of leadership with this team?
25:00 — Previewing the other NFC East games.
28:30 — Where will the guys hang out in New Orleans?

Subscribe to the Eagle Eye podcast: 
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19

Eagles activate tight end Richard Rodgers, place Josh Perkins on Injured Reserve

usa_richard_rodgers_eagles.jpg
USA Today Images

Eagles activate tight end Richard Rodgers, place Josh Perkins on Injured Reserve

Richard Rodgers is going to make his Eagles debut on Sunday in New Orleans. 

The Eagles on Friday afternoon activated Rodgers from Injured Reserve. Earlier in the week, they designated him to return as he began practicing after rehabbing from a knee injury he suffered in the preseason. 

To make room for Rodgers on the 53-man roster, the Eagles sent fellow tight end Josh Perkins (knee) to IR. 

The Eagles used one of their two designations to return from IR on Rodgers, which means they have just one left for either Mack Hollins or Mike Wallace later this season. They made the move to bring back Rodgers because Perkins, their third tight end, suffered what Doug Pederson called a “significant” knee injury. 

Rodgers, 26, signed with the Eagles as a free agent this offseason after spending the first four seasons with the Green Bay Packers. During those four seasons, Rodgers caught 120 passes for 1,166 yards and 13 touchdowns. 

It’s unclear what kind of role Rodgers will have with the Eagles down the stretch, but we know he won’t be taking any time from Zach Ertz, who has been the best tight end in the NFL this season. He also shouldn’t take time from rookie second-round pick Dallas Goedert. 

Still no word about Tim Jernigan, who remains on the Non-football Injury list. Like Rodgers, he was not on the injury report because he wasn’t on the roster during the week of practice. The Eagles have until 4 p.m. on Saturday to add Jernigan to the active roster if he’s going to play this weekend. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles