Eagles Coach Gives ‘Perfect Storm’ Update on Javon Hargrave

Javon Hargrave

Getty Javon Hargrave, shown here taking down Tom Brady, will reportedly join the Eagles in 2020.

Javon Hargrave’s pectoral strain has kept him “off the grass” since camp opened. Is that a setback?

From a certain standpoint, yes, according to Jim Schwartz. The Eagles defensive coordinator wasn’t scared to admit that a lack of practice time might limit his ability to just plug Hargrave in and go. The 27-year-old defensive tackle was still introducing himself to the locker room when the upper-body injury shut him down.

No live scrimmages. No thud practices. Nothing. Luckily, Hargrave is a chiseled veteran with four years and 63 games under his well-fitted pads. If any player can make up lost ground in a hurry, it’s him.

“He’s not a rookie. He has experience under him,” Schwartz told reporters on Wednesday. “There’s a lot of things that we do that are different than other people, but there’s also a lot of things that we do that have some carryover for him. When he’s healthy, he’ll be up to speed pretty quickly. I’m excited about him.”

The initial timetable for the former Steelers standout was a Week 1 return. The Eagles were reportedly being extra cautious about rushing him back too soon. It’s the same language the team has used to describe injuries to Carson Wentz and Miles Sanders. True or not, there is certainly a trace amount of concern on getting Hargrave up to speed as he adjusts to a completely new scheme.

“I mean, it’s set him back from a standpoint of time on the grass,” Schwartz said. “It’s just been a perfect storm or an imperfect storm, however, you want to put it. If we would have had a complete offseason and he would have missed the time in camp, you’d feel real good about just plugging him in. But you combine no offseason, new to the scheme, new to the team … I mean, he was introducing himself to the locker room in the beginning of training camp.”

Hargrave (upper body) and defensive end Derek Barnett (lower body) both went out on the same day, on Aug. 17. Barnett’s injury is considered more serious.

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Fletcher Cox vs. Jason Peters, Fun to Watch

When Schwartz was asked a simple question about the play of Fletcher Cox, he quickly turned it into a referendum on Jason Peters.

The Eagles defensive coordinator talked about watching Cox battle Brandon Brooks over the years in some epic camp battles. Now, those heavyweight fights have been between Cox and Peters, the new right guard (or old left tackle).

“You just talk about two supreme players at their position, two of the best players at their position in the National Football League,” Schwartz said, “and get a chance to watch that every day in practice. That was just great. Now you have a guy that has had a Hall of Fame career as a left tackle that now moves in there. You see that same kind of thing.”

Perhaps it was a little bit of PR spin considering the rumors around Peters. Either way, it’s not exactly a shocking statement. Remember, the Eagles consistently boasts one of the best offensive lines in football (No. 1 in back-to-back years, per Pro Football Focus). Of course, Cox is no slouch, a five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle who ranks in the top three at his position.

Schwartz pointed to competition in the trenches, on the interiors of both the offensive and defensive lines, being intense this summer. He highlighted the battle between Malik Jackson and Isaac Seumalo, plus the steady hurdle of Jason Kelce in the middle.

“I’d say our competition, mainly Malik against Isaac on the other side, has been outstanding,” Schwartz said. “Those are top players at that position also. Then having an experienced center like Kelce in there that adds a completely different dynamic. Those interior guys, that has been outstanding competition for us. It’s made us better. I hope it’s made the offense better.”

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