Eagles Scale Back Wednesday Practice
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - In a somewhat surprising development, the Eagles are so banged-up early in the season that they've shifted to late-season mode and canceled their Wednesday practice, typically the most extensive of the week, instead instituting a scaled-back walkthrough which is closed to the media.
Coach Doug Pederson instituted a similar schedule late last season in Weeks 16 and 17 and Philadelphia was successful with it.
"When you have sort of a veteran football team, guys that -- I challenged the team this morning this way and my leadership council to really take it upon themselves to one, stay mentally focused and mentally sharp. If they have to get any conditioning in-between or after practice, they do their own conditioning today and tomorrow and the rest of this week," Pederson explained. "But having a little bit of a veteran group that can handle it does make it a little bit easier to adjust the schedule this way."
With the calendar working against the Eagles, Pederson is expected to be without his top two receivers, Alshon Jeffery (calf) and DeSean Jackson (abdomen), for Sunday's game against Detroit and the trip a week from tomorrow to Green Bay for Week 4.
Defensive tackle Tim Jernigan (foot) and running back Corey Clement (shoulder) were also lost for some time in Atlanta on Sunday night and tight end Dallas Goedert aggravated a preseason calf injury and could also be sidelined against the Lions.
“I mean it’s a couple things,” Pederson said when discussing the rare early-season practice-schedule shift. “With the guys that are a little nicked up that have a chance to play in this football game I want them to get them the reps in practice. Then two, we have some young guys who might have to play and they’re also servicing the defense or the offense, so this way allows everybody to still practice and maintain their focus and get the work done that we need to get done today.”
Anything something out of the ordinary happens in Philadelphia, the conspiracy theories start swirling around Carson Wentz because of the quarterback's injury history.
Pederson insisted the change had nothing to do with Wentz, who took some hellacious hits against the Falcons and was grimacing while holding his ribs at one point and also briefly checked for a head injury at another.
When asked if Wentz would’ve been able to practice without the change, Pederson was either generally surprised or went over the top protecting his star.
“Carson? Yeah,” Pederson said, agreeing with the assessment that Wentz is fine.
Another issue could be Zach Ertz, who also took a huge shot to the ribs in Atlanta and was briefly seen walking somewhat gingerly at the NovaCare Complex on Tuesday.
Officially, Pederson said Jackson, Jeffery, and Goedert are “day-to-day,” a designation that typically indicates at least one week off, something further bolstered by the fact the coach acknowledged that rookie receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside would be seeing some first-team reps.
"He'll obviously get the reps with the ones," Pederson said of Arcega-Whiteside. "But when I say walk-through, it's not like walking in the building. It's a little bit more than that. And listen, we're going to do some other things that -- we'll do some full-speed stuff today with those guys, so we'll be fine."
Philadelphia, meanwhile, has already promoted tight end Alex Ellis from the practice squad on Monday.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen