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Pederson Denies Reduced Role for Matthews

Jordan Matthews speaks with reporters at the NovaCare Complex Thursday. (Photo: John McMullen/973espn.com)
Doug Pederson doesn’t expect a reduced role for Jordan Matthews this season. (Photo: John McMullen/973espn.com)

PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) – A strong spring and summer for Nelson Agholor has many speculating that the former first-round pick will cut into the playing time of Jordan Matthews, a lame-duck player entering the final year of his rookie deal.

Frank Reich didn’t exactly dispel a potentially increased role for Agholor on Monday.

“Every spot’s up for competition,” the offensive coordinator admitted. “The way we roll things, we’re always looking for guys who make plays. Nelson’s had a real strong spring and camp, so the way we do it is kind of by play. Sometimes we’ll switch guys up.”

Head coach Doug Pederson had a different take 24 hours later, however, saying he doesn’t see a reduced role for Matthews this season.

The disconnect comes with the Eagles’ using 11 personnel (three receivers) as their base offense, meaning there is going to be plenty of opportunities for the teams top four wideouts: Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith as well as Matthews and Agholor.

Agholor’s versatility to play inside or outside will likely mean he will be spelling each of the starters at times.

DAY 14 NOVACARE NOTES

The Eagles finished up their final full-scale practice before Thursday’s preseason opener in Green Bay, a scaled back 10/10/10 format which focuses on execution in all three phases.

Offensively, tight end Zach Ertz made the play of the day with a one-handed stab of a Matt McGloin pass on the far sideline. With Jeffery continuing to be limited to individual drills, Marcus Johnson returned from a maintenance day stemming from a tight hamstring to handle the first-team reps with Smith and Matthews.

The Eagles actually opened up with Agholor on the outside. He then went in motion on an end-around play.

The halfback option pass from Darren Sproles was also dusted off for the third time this summer.

Undrafted rookie Greg Ward continues to excel as a backup slot receiver while Chance Warmack was the starting right guard in place of Brandon Brooks, who sprained his ankle during Monday’s indoor practice.

Carson Wentz continues to throw the deep ball well but his underneath stuff has been hit and miss. After practice, Pederson confirmed that Wentz will start against the Packers but expect only a cameo appearance.

Fletcher Cox was back for the defense after a veteran’s day off while Jordan Hicks was a full-go after taking a helmet to the side in practice Monday.

Rookie first-round pick Derek Barnett was back at right defensive end with the second team after spending a lot of time on the left side recently.

On special teams, the top kickoff coverage guys (playing the L1 and R1) positions were Chris Maragos and Najee Goode.

-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

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