Wildfires Remain an Issue as Eagles-Rams Game Approaches
(973espn.com) - Nothing is normal about this week for the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles.
To start, Doug Pederson's 10-2 team is coming off a rare loss and preparing in the hopes of avoiding its first losing streak over 2,700 miles away from the NovaCare Complex in Angel Stadium of Anaheim, the home of two-time AL MVP, South Jersey native and noted-Eagle fan Mike Trout.
And just to throw another curve ball into the mix, the wildfires raging in the Los Angeles area could affect Sunday's scheduled game with the Rams.
For now, the Eagles are safely tucked away from the devastation at the team hotel in Costa Mesa as well as their temporary practice digs in Anaheim. However, L.A. itself is less than 20 miles away from the infernos and the air quality is a potential issue if the Santa Ana winds don't behave in the coming days.
The Rams, who practice in Oxnard, were forced inside on Wednesday due to issues with the air and there are many road closures in and around the area as the fires rage.
“The air quality isn’t quite what you’d like it to be to be able to go outside," Rams first-year coach Sean McVay admitted. "But fortunately, because we are right next to Cal Lutheran’s campus, we were able to go over to their gym, have a good walkthrough, kind of use both of their basketball gyms. That was kind of the approach we were going to take anyway."
While it's still far too early to speculate about Sunday's game, the NFL is obviously monitoring the situation. To this point, however, the Eagles haven't been clued in on any potential contingency plans.
“It is obviously a serious issue with what’s going on, and our thoughts and prayers are obviously with the people that are affected,” Pederson said.
On the football side of things for Philadelphia Zach Ertz remains in the concussion protocol and missed Wednesday's practice, although the star tight end has been able to attend team meetings, an indication he is progressing.
“The sense is that he’s doing well,” Pederson said. “... He’s in the protocol. We just have to monitor it.”
Meanwhile, defensive tackle Destiny Vaeao also missed practice with a shoulder injury while mike linebacker Joe Walker, who missed the loss in Seattle after a stringer suffered against Chicago, was back at practice and a full participant.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen