Coach Pederson Provides Updates on Injuries, Position Battles
Eagles coach Doug Pederson confirmed on Wednesday that wide receiver Jordan Matthews won’t play Saturday against Indianapolis, though Matthews assured reporters Saturday that he will "for sure" be ready for Week 1.
Matthews, has been dealing with a bone bruise on his knee, coach Pederson said he hoped Matthews would be back for the third preseason game, but that will not be the case and the coach admitted its been tough not having him out there on the practice field.
"It is," Pederson admitted.
"It's hard. Any time a good player is not in your offensive or defensive structure, it's difficult because you're working on some timing things and different routes and combinations during the course of the week. But, these guys have played together now the last year and really sort of have a good understanding with one another."
"So, when we get to that regular season game, they'll get a lot of work during that first week and try to catch themselves up."
One other big name that will miss the game on Saturday night is rookie third-round pick Isaac Seumalo. Seumalo will sit out a strained pec muscle that he sustained during practice this week during a blocking drill. He also missed time during OTAs because of Oregon State's academic schedule, he is now battling with Stefen Wisniewski, who will start the game, for the left guard position.
"I'm not saying he can't win it," Pederson said when asked if Wisniewski can win the starting guard spot. "I'm saying right now I'm not going to let an injury keep Isaac out of the starting rotation."
While it won't be his first action with the Eagles, new wide out Dorial Green-Beckham will get plenty of reps with the first team this week after getting just two targets last week against the Steelers.
"We put a couple plays in for him this week, expanded his role from a week ago," Pederson explained. "Full week of practice. He's comfortable with what we're doing with him. Can't tell you how many [or] the number of snaps he'll get, but he'll definitely play and play with the first group."
The Eagles seemed to be determined to see if Green-Beckham can be a starter at a very inconsistent wide receiver position. He will be battling guys like Chris Givens, Ruben Randle, Josh Huff and Nelson Agholor for playing time.
“Well both of them really have come on," Pederson said about Givens and Randle. "I think with Chris' skill set, a speed guy, he's done a nice job catching the ball this week – as all of them have done. Ruben is kind of the veteran, the savvy guy, the smooth, more of the silky runner. And [they are] really two veteran guys that lead that young receiver group.
"And the other one too is [WR] Nelson [Agholor]. Nelson's really stood out these last couple of practices. Both of those -- having that veteran leadership -- are good for that room.”
Others who won't play Saturday include Aaron Grymes, [DE] Alex McCalister, [LB] Joe Walker and [DT] Mike Martin. Martin, who is missing his third preseason game, is a guy who Pederson seems to like.
"He's a veteran guy that understands how to play [and] how to get himself ready to play," Pederson stated. "He's also in a position where you're probably not going to lean on him for more than 15, 20, 25 snaps a game. And that's what you want out of him. Just getting him to the gate on Sundays is obviously where you want to be and what you want to do."
"But, yeah, we've seen enough and he's done enough in his past, for us as coaches, to feel comfortable with that."
Carson Wentz is out, but he will travel.
Asked if Wentz has a shot to play in the preseason finale next week, Pederson noted that next week is a short week, with the Eagles playing the Jets on Thursday night to close out the preseason.
"We'll see," Pederson said about the chances Wentz plays next week. "We'll evaluate him through the weekend. [We’ll] take him on this trip and work him out a little bit when we get to Indy [Indianapolis], and then again next Monday and Tuesday. We've got to at least get a day's work with him in order for him to go in the game next Thursday."