Uncertainty Surrounds Eagles’ Kicking Situation
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — The Eagles found a way without concussed kicker Jake Elliott for much of a 37-9 win in Dallas on Sunday night and the situation at the position remains in flux as the NFL's best team looks forward to Chicago next weekend.
Elliott remained in the NFL's concussion protocol on Monday and injured kicker Caleb Sturgis is now eligible to come off of injured reserve after missing the last nine games due to a hip-flexor injury.
How the Eagles proceed remains up in the air but it certainly will not be emergency option Kamu Grugier-Hill again. The special teams star, typically a linebacker, did a solid job on kickoffs in the win against the Cowboys but the Eagles were forced to eschew field goals and extra points without Elliott.
"He's in our [concussion] protocol obviously, so we'll evaluate him more," head coach Doug Pederson said at his Monday press conference when discussing Elliott. "We haven't made any decisions yet about this week – we still have a couple of days before we have to make any decisions on kickers."
When asked about the possibility of Sturgis re-entering the picture, Pederson claimed the veteran is close.
"He's continuing to rehab," Pederson said. "He's begun a kicking regimen so he's getting himself back to where he was prior to the injury. He's close."
Obviously, activating Sturgis or signing another kicker off the street would require a corresponding roster move so the best-case scenario here is for Elliott to clear the cobwebs in time for the Bears next weekend.
"You're talking about roster spots and making moves and we're not there yet," Pederson admitted. "So we're going to continue these discussions the next couple of days."
In other words, all options remain on the table, well except for KGH. He gets a pat on the back and a job well done.
"I think moving forward as we continue to evaluate this week, obviously we'll find out more in the next couple of days with Jake," Pederson said. "I don't want to put myself in a box, so we'll keep all the options open for now."
Long-term, however, this remains Elliott's job despite the rookie's inconsistency recently.
"If he's healthy and can play, you'd hate to disrupt that right now," Pederson said when asked if this is Elliott's job moving forward. "So, I'd have to say yes to that."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen