PHILADELPHIA ( - With Hurricane Florence pounding the coast of North Carolina and moving very slowly inland the Eagles believe the usual quick jaunt to Tampa could take a bit longer this time.

Unless the forecasts change the Eagles are planning to fly further inland and avoid the damaging storm en route to Central Florida, according to Doug Pederson.

“It’s flying around it more than anything,” the Eagles coach said. “Obviously it’s a wide storm and it’s pretty high, pretty tall. So you can’t go over it so we’re going to have to go a little further west, I believe, and then come back around. Just safety for everybody, making sure that everybody arrives there safely.”

Pederson also took the time to tell traveling Eagles fans to stay safe.

"I wish everyone that is traveling safety," Pederson said.

As for the actual game against the 1-0 Buccaneers, the news Friday centered around the Eagles' banged-up returners, Darren Sproles and Shelton Gibson.

Sproles tweaked his hamstring at practice on Wednesday, and Gibson is dealing with a quad injury, dominoes that may or may not increase the role of Corey Clement on Sunday.

Eagles coach Doug Pederson said he was going to wait until after the session to determine whether or not his top two returners will be in the mix against Tampa Bay.

Gibson was at the very small portion of the practice open to the media and was moving well but Sproles was not on the field, likely leaving both his punt return duties as well as his contributions in the running back by committee to Clement.

Clement is listed as the top backup at both kickoff and punt returner while Wendell Smallwood has also returned kicks extensively in the past while Pederson mentioned receivers Nelson Agholor and DeAndre Carter as possibilities.

Smallwood would also be more involved in the RB mix without Sproles available.

-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for You can reach him at or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

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