Eagles Take Falcons Prep Inside
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The Eagles took their preparation inside Friday in advance of what figures to be a loud atmosphere at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Sunday night in Atlanta.
Philadelphia will arrive to take on the 0-1 Falcons relatively healthy.
Nate Sudfeld is back practicing in a limited fashion but will be inactive Sunday with Josh McCown handling the backup duties between Carson Wentz. Linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill will miss his second consecutive game with a sprained MCL and backup tackle Jordan Mailata will again sit with a balky back.
Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, who is coming off offseason foot surgery, played 66 percent of the defensive snaps in the season-opening win over Washington, down from the 80 percent clip he has in 2018. He looked a little ginger at times Friday in the very limited portion of practice open to the media but indicated everything is fine in the locker room after.
On the injury report with a toe injury, coach Doug Pederson admitted that everything stems from the original foot issue suffered in the divisional round of the playoffs last season but that there is no concern.
"Nothing serious," the coach assured.
As for the Falcons Pederson noted that the defense had melded its traditional single-high, cover-3 looks with some more aggressive-minded tactics now that Bob Sutton has joined Dan Quinn's coaching staff.
"There is still a lot of one-high defense," Pederson explained. "[Falcons Senior Assistant] Bob Sutton is there, as well, as a senior advisor. You can see a little influence of Bob Sutton a little bit, with some of the man-to-man stuff that he did in Kansas City. But yeah, still a lot of the single highs. The issues you have is, there's a lot of vision on the quarterback, obviously, and eyes are back on him, and reading where the quarterback is looking. We've got to be very disciplined in our route running. The quarterback has got to be on point with progressions and getting through those fastly, and then of course trying to beat the rush."
As far as the Philadelphia defense, the concern starts with former MVP quarterback Matt Ryan and his impressive receiving corps, led by All-Pro Julio Jones.
"This is a dynamic player, and we've faced guys like this before, and it takes -- on defense, it takes all 11 on every play," Pederson said when asked about handing Jones. "Obviously, you've got to know where he lines up, and then you just have to do your job, do your assignment, be focused on the details of that defense, that particular down. Obviously, if we can disrupt the quarterback, it helps, but we know he's going to get his. He's a great player. We'll just try to do our best to corral him and keep him out of the end zone."
-Former Eagles receiver Torrey Smith retired from the NFL this morning and Pederson gave the speedy wideout a nice send-off at the start of his press conference.
"I just want to start by saying that I saw Torrey Smith is stepping away from the game, and I just want to congratulate him and his family," the coach said. "It's a great opportunity for him in his next chapter of his life. He helped us win a championship, and he's a great man."
-Pederson talked about breaking out 21 personnel with both Darren Sproles and Miles Sanders on the field at the same time.
"I like having Sproles, and whether it be Miles or Sproles and Corey [Clement] or Jordan [Howard] out there, and utilize their strengths," Pederson explained. "It can sometimes cause match-ups defensively, but in our case, utilizing both Darren's route-running ability with say Miles' running ability at the same time."
-McCown confirmed he will be heading back to Charlotte tonight to coach some high school football.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen