Eagles

Romo misses meetings, still getting treatment

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Romo misses meetings, still getting treatment

Tony Romo has not participated in team meetings this week, according to Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, and that may be the strongest signal yet that the veteran quarterback won’t be facing the Eagles Sunday.

Garrett told the Philly media in a conference call Thursday afternoon that Romo has been getting treatment for his injured back while the Cowboys’ other quarterbacks, Kyle Orton and Jon Kitna, prepare for the Eagles.

Orton is expected to make his first start since 2011 in the unofficial NFC East championship game Sunday night, when the Eagles and Cowboys meet with a playoff berth at stake.

It’s hard to imagine that Romo would entirely skip position meetings for rehab if he had a realistic chance to play.

“Like a lot of injured players, they spend their time getting the treatment, and they try to learn the football as they go,” Garrett said. “Sometimes it’s not quite as important for them to be in the meeting as it is for them to do everything they can to get themselves healthy and ready for the game. Then you pick up what’s going on as best you can as the week goes on.”

Despite published and broadcast reports that Romo is out for the year and faces surgery to repair a herniated disc, Garrett on Thursday afternoon maintained that no decision has been made about who will start against the Eagles.

“Kyle Orton has taken the reps the last couple days,” Garrett said. “Tony Romo has not practiced. John Kitna has been taking the scout-team reps. We’ll see what Tony’s status is over the next couple days and what his availability is and proceed accordingly.”

Asked whether Romo is improving, Garrett danced around the question.

“I think he’s still trying to get better each and every day,” he said. “I think you’ll have to ask him specifically. It probably comes and goes a little bit. But he’s been in the facility the last couple days getting treatment and again, hopefully, it gets better as the week goes on.”

The Cowboys have one more major practice day -- Friday -- before kickoff Sunday night.

Garrett said generally guys who haven’t practiced all week don’t play on Sunday, but he said he could make an exception for Romo.

“Tony is a guy who is experienced, he knows our offense, he’s played in this system for a long time and his comfort level of playing without practicing I think would be maybe as good as anybody’s,” he said. “Certainly our objective is to have our guys practice to get ready.”

Romo, 33, is now in his 11th season with the Cowboys. He’s 8-5 all-time vs. the Eagles as a starter, including a wild-card playoff win after the 2009 season -- his only career postseason win.

Orton is 1-1 vs. the Eagles, with a win in 2008 while with the Bears and a loss a year later as a Bronco.

Cowboys tight end Jason Witten said if Romo can possibly find a way to play, he’ll play.

“I know for a fact if there’s any way physically possible that he could do it, he’ll do it,” Witten said. “He’s shown it throughout his career. Just the ultimate competitor, and I’ve never seen anything like it, the way he just continues to fight and find ways …

“If he’s able at all, if he has a chance, then I know he would be out there.”

Romo hasn’t missed a start since 2010, when Kitna -- who re-signed with the Cowboys this week -- went 4-5 in nine starts.

The last Cowboys QB other than Romo to beat the Eagles in a meaningful game was Drew Bledsoe in 2005.

“Tony is an elite quarterback in the National Football League,” Witten said. “He can make all the throws, he extends plays, really played at a high level this year. The reason we’re in this game playing for the division is because of how well he’s played. In my opinion, he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and he’s shown it week in and week out over the course of the season.

“Kyle, he understands the system, he’s smart, he’s tough, he can throw the ball, he understands what he’s being asked to do as a quarterback, and he’s got great confidence and believes he can go out there and give us a chance to win this game. Great opportunity. Obviously, you would hope everybody’s healthy and ready to go, but you’ve got to be able to handle those circumstances.”

Clayton Thorson keeps improving, but what happens next?

Clayton Thorson keeps improving, but what happens next?

There was a sequence at Eagles practice Monday in which rookie Clayton Thorson on back-to-back snaps fired touchdown passes against the Ravens in the near right corner of the end zone.

The first was to JJ Arcega-Whiteside, covered by Cyrus Jones of the Ravens, the second to Marken Michel, who was covered by Terrell Bonds.

I think at that point everybody at practice kind of did a double take.

Was that really No. 8?

It really was, and when Thorson spoke Thursday night about building on a promising performance against the Jaguars, this is exactly what he meant.

Thorson followed a bounce-back performance in his second preseason game with — by far — his best practice of the summer on Monday.

The improvement the rookie fifth-round pick from Northwestern has made just in the past week is really encouraging.

I think any game experience you get makes you more confident, so every week I’m getting more and more confident and the game helped out even more,” Thorson said after practice Monday. “It’s fun to come out here and play someone new. It’s a lot of fun to play against these guys, such a good defense like this. You just have to see it and really trust your reads and make efficient decisions.

Thorson looked overmatched the first couple weeks of camp and the first preseason game.

But that’s totally normal for a rookie quarterback. The adjustment from college is enormous, and you have so much thrown at you, it just takes a while to process it all to the point where you can go out and make plays.

Obviously, it took him a couple games to really get comfortable, but I knew he had it in him the whole time, we all did,” Arcega-Whiteside said. “That’s why none of us are really surprised. He’s a baller.

Thorson has come so far it’s easy to forget that he’s only been doing this for a few weeks now.

But for him to go out against another team — granted it was the Ravens’ third team, but their corners are all talented — and show confidence and poise and the ability to make plays is a great sign.

“It’s my first training camp, so just learning so much, just about being in the NFL, going against NFL defenses and just knowing what I’ve got to work on,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing. Just getting more comfortable. Getting out and trusting yourself and just ripping it.”

Arcega-Whiteside rooms with Thorson and said he’s been impressed with him since Day 1.

I see the same thing that I’ve seen from him since we started rooming together when we got here,” he said. “Confident, puts in a lot of hard work. You walk in our room and he’s studying the playbook, he’s got headphones on studying the calls, studying how people talk. He’s very detail-oriented.

All that said, nothing is guaranteed for Thorson, especially now that Josh McCown is here.

There are five quarterbacks on the roster, and Thorson could make the team, he could wind up on the practice squad, he could wind up getting claimed somewhere else.

There are a lot of moving parts in the Eagles’ quarterback picture right now, and Thorson is doing his best not to think about any of that.

“Coach talks about it a lot, just stacking days,” he said. “That’s what you’ve got to do and just get better and better and better. That’s the only thing you can control. You can’t control anything else and that’s what I’m trying to do now.”

And if he was disappointed when the Eagles brought in the 40-year-old McCown, he sure didn’t show it.

When you get new teammates, it’s an opportunity to learn from them, so having Josh here is awesome,” he said. “For me to come in as a rookie and have Carson (Wentz), Nate (Sudfeld) and Cody (Kessler), who’ve played a lot of ball, and then to have Josh come here? An 18-year veteran? I couldn’t ask for anything better than to have that.

Nobody knows what’s going to happen next with Thorson, but it’s safe to say he’s making the Eagles’ decision a lot harder.

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Healed from knee injury, Corey Clement looks like himself again

Healed from knee injury, Corey Clement looks like himself again

Corey Clement looks like himself again. If you didn’t know the third-year running back tore up his knee last December, watching practice on Monday against the Ravens, you certainly wouldn’t have been able to tell. 

Getting first-team reps for the first time this summer, the 23-year-old running back looked strong, explosive, smooth. Clement looked way less like a guy coming off knee rehab and way more like the guy who carved out a relatively significant offensive role as a rookie in 2017. 

He’s not even wearing that bulky brace anymore. 

“I’m out here naked,” said a smiling Clement, looking down at his bare right knee. “I’m fine.”

And he’s pretty happy to be done with that brace. 

I hate it,” he said with a laugh. “It feels like I got a little guy on my leg. 

“Realizing that if my mobility is fine without it, it’s the mental part I gotta get over. I’m like, ‘I don’t need the brace, I don’t need the brace, I don’t need the brace.’ I have had good practice reps without it and that boosts my morale without it to show I can do it.

While Clement is starting to look like himself to the rest of us, he started to feel like himself during the first week of training camp. That’s when he took a rep and somebody bumped into him and his rehabilitated knee. It’s a physical game, Clement said, so it was nice to get that out of the way. In fact, he wanted it to happen to see how he’d react. It was fine. 

Now, Clement claims there’s nothing to worry about. 

On Monday, Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh was asked if Clement is where he needs to be coming off the injury: 

Well, he's cleared, but he hasn't played a whole lot. I wouldn't say he's where he needs to be because he just needs to get more time out here. We're trying to accelerate that process here with two weeks to go. Trying to catch him up, if that's fair to say. Physically, he feels really good, and we just want to work him back in as quickly as possible.

The Eagles have brought Clement back in steps, ramping up his workload as the summer has progressed. First individual drills, then 7-on-7s, then 11-on-11s. On Monday, he took 11-on-11 reps with the first team against a foreign defense. 

And he’s looked good in all of it. 

This week, Clement said, they actually prepared for the Ravens a bit; they are trying to treat this a little bit like a normal game week. And this is a Ravens team that boasted one of the best overall defenses in the league last season, so it’s a good test. Clement passed the test on Day 1. 

Clement would like to play in Thursday’s third preseason game, but he isn’t sure if he’ll be given the go-ahead. He probably won’t know until Wednesday. 

“I want to play. I want to play football,” Clement said. “Just like B.G. (Brandon Graham) likes playing in preseason, I like playing in preseason. I don’t want to shy away from football. Football’s fun.”

It’s even more fun when you’re back to being yourself.

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