Pederson Insists Foles is OK
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Eagles quarterback Nick Foles still hasn't taken a live rep during the preseason due to persistent elbow soreness but Doug Pederson continued to downplay the seriousness of the issue Sunday before practice.
"Still day-to-day with him," the coach said when discussing Carson Wentz's backup. "Obviously it's getting better. We'll get him throwing again this week. We don't want to rush him back."
Foles was one of 11 players nor practicing due to injuries in the session, but Pederson claimed all but rookie cornerback Sidney Jones, who remains on the NFI list as he continues to a rehabilitate a torn Achilles, would all be ready to go by Week 1 of the regular season.
Others held out of the session today included cornerback Ron Brooks, tight end Brent Celek, linebackers Jordan Hicks, Najee Goode and Nate Gerry, defensive end Brandon Graham, cornerback Jalen Mills, wide receiver Paul Turner and defensive tackle Destiny Vaeao.
Offensive lineman Josh Andrews returned to practice after a lengthy absence due to a hand injury as did defensive tackle Beau Allen, who was activated from the NFI list and is healthy enough to practice after recovering from a torn pec in the spring.
Foles, meanwhile, briefly returned to practice for two days before the soreness returned last week, leaving some questioning the Eagles' plan at backup QB.
Pederson, however, assured that Foles would be ready to go Week 1 at Washington even if he's unable to play in the final preseason game at the New York Jets on Thursday.
"I am," Pederson answered when asked if he was confident that Foles would be able to go in the regular season. "These are obviously sensitive elbow issues. When it happens in the throwing arm like that, we just want to make sure that he's getting the proper amount of throws, that's why we're going to ease him back into things this week."
-Rookie cornerback Rasul Douglas and first-year receiver Marcus Johnson were both moved off temporary row in the Eagles locker room. While Douglas was always going to make this team as a third-round pick that's a very positive tea leaf for Johnson.
-When asked what roster battles had yet to be determined in advance of Thursday's final preseason game with the Jets Pederson mentioned four areas, starting with the most obvious, the slot corner position.
"Well, I think the corner nickel position is going to be an interesting battle this week," Pederson said before pivoting. "Even the running backs. It's exciting. I thought they all did a great job the other night [against Miami] so it'll be interesting to see how that plays out. We have a couple young tight ends that'll be interesting to see in this last preseason game.
"And then when you look on offense again, there's a couple young offensive linemen, Dillon Gordon, Taylor Hart, guys like that that are competing for spots."
Since the trade for Ronald Darby, the Eagles have moved Patrick Robinson into the slot to compete with Ron Brooks, who has been injury prone. Now the newly acquired Dexter McDougle is also in the mix.
As for RB Pederson was alluding to the surprising competition the undrafted Corey Clement has given fourth-round pick Donnel Pumphrey, who has had a disappointing preseason.
Pumphrey will obviously be around but the team could stash him on injured reserve if they feel Clement deserves a spot.
As for the young tight ends, it's hard to imagine either undrafted rookie Billy Brown or Anthony Denham pushing out any of the top three at the position so perhaps the Eagles are considering keeping four and tight ends coach Justin Peelle did rave about Brown's athleticism to 973espn.com recently.
Finally, Hart is making enough progress in his switch from defensive tackle to offensive tackle to be mentioned by Pederson but Gordon's versatility still gives him a leg up.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen