The biggest name on Wednesday’s injury report for the Eagles was Fletcher Cox. Don’t be alarmed. The All-Pro defensive tackle took off for a maintenance day, something all veterans can take advantage of during the week. Cox will be fine and so will left tackle Jason Peters who sat out the session.
However, six key players were listed as limited participants: T Jack Driscoll (ankle), G Nate Herbig (finger), DT Malik Jackson (quadricep), T Lane Johnson (ankle), RB Miles Sanders (knee). The practice was closed to reporters since rain forced the session indoors and the team didn’t want to invite outsiders (see: risk) into their bubble due to two recent positive COVID-19 tests.
They did live-steam practice and it looked like left guard Isaac Seumalo (knee) and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (calf) were in pads as full participants. Good news comes in bunches as cornerbacks Cre’Von LeBlanc (quadricep) and Craig James (hamstring) were also on the field.
Jeffery’s return could be a huge boost to the Eagles’ offense. With no disrespect to breakout practice-squad stars like Greg Ward and Travis Fulgham, along with rookies Jalen Reagor and John Hightower, the one-time Pro Bowl receiver has legit experiene. He’s been part of a Super Bowl championship in Philly. He also has a long-standing (sometimes rocky, if reports are true) relationship with Carson Wentz.
“We have a lot of reps banked,” Wentz said about Jeffery. “I think we have a lot of confidence in each other and however much he is out there and utilized, I’m confident in him.”
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Updates on Johnson, Sanders, Seumalo
Head coach Doug Pederson always says he waits to see how players respond to Friday’s practice before making any ruling on their status. Wednesday is the start of the workweek and it’s a gradual “ramp up” throughout the week. Saturday brings the walk-through — more important reps, without the contact — which is crucial to predicting if a player is out versus questionable.
Johnson, of course, has been a game-time decision all year so don’t read too much into his “limited” status this early in the week. The All-Pro right tackle was wearing pads on Wednesday and he’ll do everything in his power to get out there on Sunday.
“In Lane’s case, Lane is doing good. We’ll get him out there today and just see where he’s at health-wise,” Pederson said before practice. “He’s doing really well. He’s in a good frame of mind and the time off was really good for him to get treatment and to rest and be prepared for this week.”
Ditto for Sanders and Seumalo. Sanders is the team’s leading rusher with 434 yards on 71 carries, plus three touchdowns. Seumalo — called one of the “premier guards in the NFL” by Jason Kelce — has been out since Week 2. The Eagles have been surviving without him but his presence looms large.
“As it pertains to Isaac and Miles really, number one we got to be smart with how much of a workload we give them during weeks like this,” Pederson said. “We do want to see them practice and get some snaps and some reps with the offense, but we also got to see how much of a workload, how much can the stress on their body take during the week.”
Relying on Virtual Meetings Due to COVID-19
Safety Marcus Epps tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 5 and remains in the NFL’s “intense protocol.” So did a member of their coaching staff, according to ESPN. The league has prioritized restricting access and guarding against the spread of the novel coronavirus in team facilities.
The Eagles have gone above and beyond in their own safety protocols, something several players have referenced as a reason why they don’t lose sleep at night. Still, those players and coaches are out of the building and that affects practice schedules. Or does it? The Eagles have been working “virtually” since training camp.
“The only thing that it really affects is meeting time,” Pederson said. “We had a really good session this morning virtually, which we leaned on our experiences from the spring, in the summer and training camp with the virtual stuff. We had a really good session with the players and their meetings, and now we get them over here to test and practice on the field.”
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