Wentz Shut Down, Pederson Gives Agholor Vote of Confidence
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Rookie quarterback Carson Wentz will not return to action Thursday night for the Eagles’ preseason finale against the New York Jets at Lincoln Financial Field.
Philadelphia had hoped to have Wentz, the No. 2 overall pick in April’s draft, back on the field but he’s still not completely healed from the fractured ribs he suffered against Tampa Bay in the exhibition opener.
"He got a CT scan done and ... he had the the two [fractured] ribs, the 10th one came back 100 percent healed. The 11th one was 60 percent healed, so there is still some injury there with him,'' Pederson explained before Monday's practice at the NovaCare Complex.
The rookie is expected to continue to work in practice but once the regular season starts he will have limited reps as the third QB behind Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel.
"Where we are, this late in the process, this late in training camp it hurts a young quarterback's progress,'' Pederson admitted. "But from what I've seen, though, from his work ethic and his work in the classroom ... I'm not as concerned.''
As for Thursday’s game, Pederson has not announced any rotation yet but Bradford is not expected to play and it’s unlikely Daniel does, meaning you well see a heavy dose of McLeod Bethel-Thompson.
“It’s frustrating as all injuries are,” Wentz said at his locker. “Obviously I was hoping to get out there and get more time in the preseason but it’s kind of it is what it is and I’m still trying to learn as much as I can and get ready for Cleveland (in Week 1).”
A day after wide receivers Rueben Randle and Chris Givens were shown the door in Philadelphia, Pederson offered up a vote of confidence to struggling second-year wideout Nelson Agholor.
In fact the coach also took a page out of Chip Kelly’s book with the “Riley Cooper defense” in an effort to shield the former first-round pick after he misplayed a perfect Bradford pass over the weekend, which turned into an interception.
Pederson even claimed that Agholor is “right on track” for the regular season and will not play to play him in the preseason finale against the Jets despite the fact that both Josh Huff and Dorial Green-Beckham, who outperformed Agholor against the Colts, are expected to get at least some work.
"Nelson, probably not," Pederson said, when asked if Agholor would play against the Jets. "That's just my decision.”
“Because I don't want to risk an injury,” the coach continued. “Two, he's right on track where he needs to be. I'm not concerned with Nelson. ...Every day he comes out here and he puts in a quality day's work and I've seen what he can do in practice.“Is there the occasional drop here or there? Yeah. But what he did after the drop, you probably didn't notice, the blocking down the field. The things he did away from the ball.”
People didn’t buy that when Kelly used that to defend Cooper, who was actually a top-tier blocker thanks to his imposing size, and they’re certainly not going to believe it with Agholor, who is expected to be a starting receiver on the outside this season.
“I have a responsibility because I will be guy who is out there (outside the numbers),” Agholor said Monday. “So in my mind, my number is going to be called multiple times and I have to answer the phone. That’s how I look at it.”
MONDAY NOVACARE NOTES:
-WR Jordan Matthews returned to practice Monday and is on track to start Week 1 despite missing the entire preseson with a bone bruise in his knee suffered during a live period early in camp when rookie corner Jalen Mills tackled him low.
Pederson said Matthews would participate in individual work and group install before gtiing a “a rep or two’’ in 7-on-7 work.
“He’s on track and doing a great job with his recovery and should be ready to go next week (for the preparation in advance of he season-opener against Cleveland)," Pederson said.
-Rookie left guard Isaac Seumalo, who missed Saturday’s game against the Colts with a pec strain, didn’t practice on Monday and remains day-to-day. Pederson, meanwgile, spoke highly of the job Stefen Wisniewski did in place of Seumalo.
“Wiz played great,’’ Pederson said. “He got all of the reps during the week. I thought the whole offensive line played extremely well. He’s a veteran guy who’s played a lot of games in this league. He fit in really well."
-Defensive linemen Vinny Curry and Taylor Hart, who each suffered knee injuries against the Colts, also didn’t practice Monday, but Pederson expects both to be ready for the Browns in Week 1.
-With rookie running back Wendell Smallwood remaining in concussion protocol, the Eagles brought back Cedric O’Neal, who was originally released back on Aug. 21.
-Rookie defensive end Alex McCalister, who was placed on injured reserve with a calf injury Sunday confirmed he did not need surgery. The 240-pound McCalister needs a redshirt year, however, to add significant weight if he ever plans to hold up on the edge in the NFL.
To give you an idea of how slight McCalister is, he held court in front of Dorial Green-Beckham’s locker and plenty of television people assembled assumed it was the king-sized receiver.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen