So, the list continues to build. One day it's defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, out for "multiple weeks" with an upper-body injury, and defensive end Derek Barnett, termed "week to week" with a lower-body injury. Another day, it's running back Miles Sanders, listed as "week to week" with a lower-body injury.
And with that, a phone call from the great Merrill Reese.
"I didn't know Miles was injured," Merrill said to me, some alarm in his perfect voice.
"Yes, Merrill, but I think the word is that he's going to be OK for the regular season," I said.
That's the truth and nothing but the truth, so help me Merrill.
The Eagles have some injuries, and they are dealing with that fact of life in an NFL Training Camp. They're also encouraged that they are where they are at this point and that all of those players listed above will be ready for or very soon thereafter, the regular-season opener at Washington on September 13. Circle that date. September 13. That's the one that really matters.
Because while nobody wants to see a player hobbling, it's going to happen. There are soft-tissue injuries every day in this league. There are more significant bumps and bruises. And there are ones that end a season before it starts, like the one that Dallas defensive tackle Gerald McCoy suffered earlier this week and the ones that have sidelined Giants wide receiver/special teams standout Cody Core and 49ers wide receiver Jalen Hurd. There are going to be more of those kinds of injuries ahead, and you just hope and pray and knock on wood and keep your fingers crossed that it doesn't happen to the Eagles, who already suffered a huge blow when Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks suffered a torn Achilles tendon in June.
Injuries suck. And they're also inevitable.
"It's always why we have the next-man-up mentality," Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson says time and time again, and there are few coaches who know better how to overcome injuries, because the Eagles have had more than their share these last few seasons. "Injuries are part of the game. Sometimes you get lucky and you don't have too many of them during the course of the season and sometimes you just have to deal with a lot of them. You always have to be ready and adjust on the fly."
Much of what the Eagles – and I imagine the rest of the league too – are doing this August is "managing" their way through Training Camp. Pederson is strategically giving some of his veterans a "maintenance day" to rest the legs and body, with an eye on September 13. Do you really think that defensive tackle Fletcher Cox needs to be on the field for a slightly-upper-tempo walkthrough like the Eagles had on Wednesday at the NovaCare Complex? No, is the answer. That's why Cox was on the sidelines watching his teammates.
As much as this camp is about "making up for lost time" after the entire offseason went virtual, it's really about this: The Eagles probably know they've penciled in 50 or so roster spots, so they're really looking for that final handful as well as preparing a practice squad of up to 16 players. It's about knocking off the rust for quarterback Carson Wentz, sure, but how long is that going to take? He's ready to go right now, honestly. And so is Cox and so is Brandon Graham and so are all of the veterans who have been at the NovaCare Complex the last three weeks brushing up on the X's and O's and fine-tuning their strength and conditioning.
This, folks, is about getting to the regular season as healthy as possible and preparing for the marathon of the season.
"It's a long year, man," safety Jalen Mills said. "You want to start fast and finish strong. That's how it works in this NFL."
The point here is this: Yeah, injury news is not ever good stuff, but let's keep it in perspective. The Eagles have zero players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. They think they're going to be very healthy for Washington on September 13. They're building chemistry. They're working hard. They look fast and confident.
In a matter of a few days, the Eagles are going to have "live" sessions just so that last bit of rust is knocked off. Maybe Pederson plays his vets a decent amount in those practices, but more than likely he will give the young Eagles and the new Eagles time to prove they deserve to make the roster. Those are the sessions that, more than any other on-field work being done in Training Camp, will determine the last few spots on the active roster and the majority of the practice squad.
And after that? The tide turns again toward Washington and preparing to beat the Football Team. Stay healthy, Eagles. And for the fans, don't overreact at the news of injuries. You've been around long enough to know it's going to happen now and through the season.