Several Key Veterans Set to Miss Offseason Work for Eagles
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Coaches around the NFL will tell you that the offseason if for teaching and training camp is for evaluation before things slowly ramp up for real come September.
That's a good thing for the reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles with on-field workouts set to commence on Tuesday at the NovaCare Complex.
Many of the team's key veterans will miss the spring work as they continue to rehab from injuries suffered last season. That group has been added to after several "maintenance surgeries" earlier this offseason, and one procedure far more serious than that, the herniated disc operation that will keep starting defensive tackle Tim Jernigan on the shelf from four to six months.
The headliner on the Eagles OTAs MASH list is of course quarterback Carson Wentz, who is still in the middle of rehabbing the torn ACL and LCL he suffered against the Los Angeles Rams back on Dec. 10 of last year, an injury that derailed what looked like it could be an MVP season.
Others still working their way back from injuries suffered last season and expected to be watching when practices start include left tackle Jason Peters (torn ACL), running back Darren Sproles (torn ACL), Mike linebacker Jordan Hicks (torn Achilles) and special teams stalwart Chris Maragos (knee surgery).
That already lengthy list has been bloated by offseason surgeries to star defensive lineman Brandon Graham (ankle), second-year defensive end Derek Barnett (sports hernia), wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) and Jernigan. Meanwhile, a couple of free-agent pickups -- defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and linebacker Corey Nelson -- are coming off torn biceps and may not be ready yet as well.
Pro Bowl safety Malcolm Jenkins also underwent thumb surgery earlier this offseason but seemed OK when he spoke with reporters a few weeks ago.
Then you have the "voluntary" aspect of OTAs and the fact that at least some veterans skip at least a part of the workouts, which will take place over the next three weeks before the mandatory minicamp from June 12-14.
The silver lining to all of this is that a lot of young players will get extra reps as the veterans continue to work their way back.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
Want more NFL? Check out John's piece on why the comparison between Jared Goff and Mitchell Trubisky needs a little more nuance at GetMoreSports.com.