Reading Doug Pederson’s Tea Leaves on Jordan Hicks
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Contrary to popular belief Doug Pederson is not under oath at his three weekly press conferences with the media and just because he might say something on the podium, he's got the right to change his mind very quickly.
That said you can read the tea leaves at times and kind of figure out where the Eagles coach is when it comes to personnel and if Wednesday is any indication, things are trending up for Darren Sproles while Jordan Hicks needs some more work to do.
The 35-year-old Sproles has intimated retirement for two consecutive years.
A torn ACL and broken forearm in Week 3 during the 2017 season made the veteran revisit his original plan in an attempt to go out on his own terms but 2018 was marred by persistent hamstring issues that have cost Sproles three-quarters of the season, a decreased workload that has the aging third-down back wondering if the next phase of his life should be put off again.
If that's the case Pederson at least would be interested.
“I think Darren Sproles would be a great addition” for 2019," the coach said. “He’s a great leader. he works hard, he’s a great mentor to a lot of young players. I think anybody would love to have a Darren Sproles. I mean, I would.”
Ultimately Sproles has to decide he wants to come back and from there it's a Howie Roseman decision if that's going to be in Philadelphia but Pederson lobbied hard for that exact end game last spring and could do it again.
Hicks, meanwhile, is in a different stage of his career, ready to finish off his rookie contract with the Eagles, a span in which three of his four professional campaigns were interrupted by injury. As a rookie, it was a torn pec and last season it was an Achilles that sat Hicks down for half the campaign while this time around Hicks lost four games to a calf injury before returning against Houston last weekend.
“Jordan’s been a big part of our success here and he helped us win the game last week and he’ll help us win another on Sunday,” Pederson said.
Hicks is obviously a starting mike linebacker in this league who is going to play in 2019 but it's fair to question what kind of contract he's going to generate after missing 21 games over his first four seasons, an average of over five per year.
If big money is offered elsewhere the Eagles will have to look long and hard about whether they want to marry themselves to Hicks as the QB of the defense and when Pederson was asked about his future, it was hardly the same kind of unequivocal love offered to Sproles.
“Well I think right now we’re focused on the Redskins and I’ll worry about the roster in the spring when I get to the spring,” Pederson said.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen