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5 Things: Smallwood Eyes Preseason Debut


1. Expect RB Smallwood To Make His Debut In Indy

The Eagles have remained very high on rookie running back Wendell Smallwood despite the fact that he has not played in the first two preseason games due to a quad injury.

Smallwood said on Saturday that he "was trying to force myself to have a good week" so that he could suit up last Thursday against the Steelers. Smallwood was limited in practice leading up to the game, and still couldn't hit top speed so he was given more time to rest.

"It's been very frustrating not being able to be out there with the guys, especially this one, watching the guys get pumped up and beating up on the Steelers," Smallwood said. "I just missed it. It felt weird not being with the guys, competing, just showing what I can do for the coaches and for the fans."

Smallwood said that he will not be limited in practice and is expected to make his preseason debut in Indianapolis next Saturday. Head coach Doug Pederson wanted Smallwood to take his time so that the injury will not linger throughout the course of the season.

2. Cherry Ready To Step In After Walker's ACL Injury

Rookie linebacker Joe Walker endured the most significant injury to come out of Thursday night's 17-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. After Cody Parkey hit a 40-yard field goal to put the Eagles up by 10 points with three seconds to go in the first half, Walker, the seventh-round pick out of Oregon, suffered an ACL injury while covering the ensuing kickoff. There was no contact on the play, but Walker says he had a pretty good idea about what the injury was as soon as it happened.

Now, Walker's rookie season has come to an end before it every really began.

"I'm frustrated with myself but there's nothing I can really do," Walker said. "It felt good to be out there for at least one preseason game, so I'm trying to take the positive out of it.

"It's difficult being out here and trying to compete and having something like this happen, but I'm just trying to take the positive and keep moving forward."

According to Walker, he and the medical staff are still working out the details of surgery, but in the meantime, the old cliché of 'next man up' is in effect for the Eagles. That next man is Don Cherry, an undrafted rookie out of Villanova. After a brief stint with the Chicago Bears following April's draft, Cherry earned a workout with the Eagles and ended up signing with the team on July 24th, just one day before the first rookie practice of Training Camp.

A three-time All-CAA selection with the Wildcats, Cherry has had to adjust quickly to the Eagles' defensive scheme, but he believes the players around him have put him in a good spot to handle more playing time.

"Obviously you don't wish injuries on anyone and Joe's a good friend of mine, but I just have to step up wherever I'm needed, whether it's special teams or defense, and do the best that I can," Cherry said.

"(Walker) was doing an awesome job. I learned a lot from watching Jordan (Hicks) obviously and from watching Joe, just being here for a month. They've taught me a lot. Wherever they need me, I'm ready to play."

The jump from the FCS level to the NFL can be a steep one, but Cherry explained that he feels up to speed with the NFL game, though there are still some kinks that need to be worked out.

"The concepts aren't the hard parts," Cherry said. "It's the little things – where you have to be if this happens or playing with this leverage, that's been the biggest thing so far. But now I think I'm very adjusted to the speed. I'm acclimated so I'm ready to go play fast."

3. The Education Of Isaac Seumalo

Center Jason Kelce understands what is being asked of rookie left guard Isaac Seumalo.

Kelce, a sixth-round pick in 2011, did not have the benefit of spring workouts due to the NFL lockout. He was able to win over the coaching staff during Training Camp and opened the season as the starter. He's never looked back earning Pro Bowl honors and a long-term contract extension along the way.

Seumalo was a third-round pick this year who had to miss nearly the entire spring because of the NCAA graduation rules. With the Eagles preparing for Lane Johnson's potential 10-game suspension, Allen Barbre was moved from left guard to Johnson's right tackle post and Seumalo is now with the first-team offense.

"The biggest thing that I've tried to tell him that I've seen with guys who have handled that situation well and guys who haven't handled that situation well is that you don't want to let you thinking about the situation slow down your aggressiveness or the speed at which you play," Kelce said.

"He's improved very well from the first game that he was out there against Tampa Bay to the Steelers. He played a lot better in this last game. I think you're just looking for that constant improvement every week, and that will hopefully come with repetition and everything like that."

Head coach Doug Pederson said that Seumalo has put himself in a position to be an instant impact addition for the Eagles.

"I'm not going to crown him the starter at this point, but at the same time, he hasn't done anything to not be the starter," Pederson said.

Seumalo shared the one thing that the coaching staff is trying to help him with the most.

"I'm almost doing too much, moving too much," Seumalo said. "I think a big thing, that even Brandon Brooks told me too, is it's all about efficiency, no wasted movement. I think I'm just doing too much. It was better than last week but it still needs to get cleaned up."

4. Can Eagles Establish Support System For Green-Beckham?

When the Eagles acquired Dorial Green-Beckham on Tuesday from the Tennessee Titans, Howie Roseman detailed the vetting process that the team did behind the scenes to decide whether or not the former second-round pick would fit in Philadelphia. Green-Beckham was kicked out of Missouri and spent his final year of college football on the scout team at Oklahoma. The Titans were willing to move the receiver after using the 40th overall pick on him in 2015.

To help ease Green-Beckham's transition to Philadelphia, he will have the help of two familiar faces in Nelson Agholor and Ronald Darby. Agholor and Green-Beckham share the same agent, while Matthews trained with the new Eagle this past offseason.

"The best part about it obviously is him being a young guy, we can bring him into this culture and say, 'This is how we do things here,'" Matthews said. "We can get him acclimated to the way you play as a Philadelphia Eagle, get him acclimated to this city and this locker room and what it means to wear the Eagle wings on your helmet."

5. The North Dakota Connection

Philadelphia Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol attended Saturday's practice at the NovaCare Complex. Hakstol chatted with head coach Doug Pederson and asked defensive tackle Bennie Logan if he can skate before meeting with quarterback Carson Wentz, the product of North Dakota State. Before taking the Flyers to the playoffs last year, Hakstol guided the University of North Dakota to the NCAA Frozen Four seven times.

The Eagles were back at the NovaCare Complex on Saturday after their win in Pittsburgh. Flyers Head Coach Dave Hakstol also stopped by to meet the team.

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