No Miles Sanders at Minicamp for Eagles
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — Rookie running back Miles Sanders' return from a hamstring injury was pushed back to training camp by Doug Pederson on Tuesday.
Speaking before the first of three days of practice at mandatory minicamp Pederson confirmed he had his full complement of players, including Pro Bowl safety Malcolm Jenkins, who had been a no show during voluntary work. However, there are plenty of players in the rehab stage and unavailable to practice.
Among them is Sanders, the team's second-round pick in April's draft, who missed all nine on-field OTA practices and was ruled out of all of minicamp by Pederson.
“Obviously it hurts a little bit that he’s not getting the physical reps,” the coach admitted. “But I don’t want to risk him any further. We’ll wait until [training] camp and get him out there. He’s getting a lot of mental reps, [RB coach] Duce [Staley] is grilling him and drilling him in the classroom.”
Joining Sanders on the sideline is third-year back Corey Clement, who is still rehabbing a knee injury. In their absence, Jordan Howard has gotten all the first-team reps in OTAs, with Wendell Smallwood, Boston Scott and Donnel Pumphrey working in from there. Josh Adams is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and has done some individual work at times.
On Monday, Staley said Sanders has been progressing well despite the injury.
"He knows the playbook," Staley asserted. "We get a chance to have extra meeting time, which I enjoy with him. With a rookie, he’s able to come in, I’m able to quiz him, take him through different games, film so that part of it."
MINICAMP PRACTICE NOTES:
-Malcolm Jenkins, Lane Johnson, Jason Peters and Alshon Jeffery were all back and mixed into practice at times. Jenkins was with the first team with Andrew Sendejo at safety while Peters made a cameo before being replaced by first-round pick Andre Dillard. Johnson knocked Jordan Mailata back to the second-team at RT while Halapoulivaati Vaitai continues to be the starter at right guard in place of the rehabbing Brandon Brooks.
-Brooks and Fletcher Cox were working on a separate field with other injured players, including Nigel Bradham and Rodney McLeod. Mack Hollins made a step forward by working during individual drills.
-Dillard struggled a bit today as you can see Jeff Stoutland is trying to teach the exaggerated kick-step technique that Peters and Johnson have been so successful with, Both Josh Sweat and Vinny Curry got the jump on Dillard on a couple of occasions when Dillard seemed to be thinking about the technique.
-Doug Pederson unveiled a couple offensive wrinkles, including a flea-flicker where Jordan Howard pitched it back to Carson Wentz, who completed the football down the field about 30 yards to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. There was also an option play where ex-Houston QB turned slot receiver Greg Ward tried to connect with Marken Michel but was unsuccessful.
-Michel, the brother of Patriots' star RB Sony Michel, continued to stand out and is even getting some work in the slot with the first-team now with Nelson Agholor unavailable due to an unspecified injury. Ward started in the slot for Agholor.
-Paul Worrilow was back at LB and even got some reps with the first-team base defense as the SAM option with Nate Gerry playing MIKE and Kamu Grugier-Hill at WILL. L.J. Fort and Zach Brown got second-team work as the nickel LBs. In the base, by the way, Avonte Maddox was outside at left corner and moved inside to the slot in the nickel with Sidney Jones coming in outside.
-Some Northwestern on Northwestern crime when safety Godwin Igwebuike ended practice by intercepting rookie QB Clayton Thorson to end the session. Thorson also ended the final OTA practice as well by being picked by Sidney Jones.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen