Eagles Still Expect Fletcher Cox in Week 1
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — The sand through any hourglass is persistent and the NFL's regular season is growing ever closer for the Philadelphia Eagles.
The preseason finale against old friend Joe Douglas and the New York Jets is Thursday, the cut to 53 has to be done by Saturday at 4 p.m., and then preparation will begin in earnest for the Washington Redskins on Sept. 8.
Many of the Eagles' key defenders, however, will be 0-for-4 when it comes to preseason games with the goal being Week 1 for Club Rehab members like Fletcher Cox (foot), Derek Barnett (shoulder), Nigel Bradham (toe) and Ronald Darby (knee).
“Well, as I said the other day, I fully expect these guys to be ready for Week 1," Doug Pederson insisted on Tuesday. "They’re getting themselves prepared for Week 1. That’s reasonable. [Cox] has been working. He’s still getting his workouts in, and he’s been going through all our walkthroughs and getting the mental side of it, and so it leads me to believe that he’ll be ready. Fletcher’s a guy that knows how to prepare, knows how to get himself ready, and I would have no concern if that was the case.”
Cox wasn't out at the beginning of practice Tuesday and has said he needs one week to ramp up for the 'Skins.
Pederson is cognizant, however, that even if everyone does make it back for Washington, at least some of the aforementioned players will not be able to handle a typical workload.
“Yeah, that’s something we’ve discussed," Pederson admitted. "Those are things you plan for. You got to plan for all of that. We had experience at that last year with the amount of injuries, but some of these guys you mentioned have been practicing with us, and they’ve been looking good in practice. Some even got in the game last week, and so again, it’s reasonable that everybody will be ready next week.”
As for second-year offensive tackle Jordan Mailata, who has played more preseason snaps than any other Eagles player, the workload has irritated a balky back which shut down his rookie campaign in December.
“Low back with him, just resting him," the coach explained. "We're going to get more evaluation today and have an answer, but [he] should be fine. We just got to see after we get more results.”
Mailata, who has been starting at right tackle while Lane Johnson works his way back from a knee injury, missed his second consecutive practice on Tuesday, which likely points to a heavy workload for Brett Toth against the Jets.
Toth, a West Point product who was recently signed, missed out on playing time last week due to the Week 3 preseason loss against Baltimore being shortened due to lightning near the bowl of Lincoln Financial Field.
The final preseason game is still very important for players like Toth, who are fighting for a roster spot.
“From a philosophical standpoint, it hasn’t changed for me," Pederson said of the preseason finale. "Obviously, you go in, you rest your guys. You rest your starters, so-called starters. This is a valuable time for a lot of these young players because a lot of times it comes down to those special teams reps that we talked about, the guys that [are] your 51st, 52nd and 53rd guy that are possibly starters on special teams, and so it’s important to them, it’s important to them as coaches, as evaluators to see these guys perform, put them in as good of a successful situation as we can, so that they can succeed on the football field.
"This last game is important. As a player, I’ve been a part of these games, so I know what it’s about. For me, this was my season, my whole season, possibly came down to one game, so it’s big for a lot of players.”
-The Eagles made a roster move at linebacker, bringing in Hayes Pullard, once a seventh-round pick of Cleveland in 2015. To make room for him on the roster Philadelphia waived LB Asantay Brown, who wasn't able to practice on Monday. Pullard, a Southern Cal product, is most comfortable as a Mike LB.
“I haven’t watched a ton of tape on him, but I know this just talking to even some of our players. I know he played with [wide receiver Nelson Agholor at USC] and all that, and this guy’s a thumper," Pederson said. "He’s a good player, he’s athletic. It’s going to be — it’s hard, obviously, trying to learn a defense in 24, 48 hours, but he’ll do the best he can to come in and learn and be in a position to help us Thursday.”
-Veteran receiver Charles Johnson was working on a side field, not ideal for a bubble player.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen