At this time of the preseason, what happens on the scoreboard takes a back seat to the activity in the athletic training room. The Eagles have some players there, and on Tuesday head coach Doug Pederson took time to answer questions about three key Eagles injuries.
- Middle linebacker Jordan Hicks and defensive end Brandon Graham left practice on Monday with injuries that make them, Pederson said, “day to day.” Hicks has a quad injury and Graham has an elbow injury. While it’s unlikely that they will play the rest of the preseason, it sounds like the injuries will be healed in plenty of time for the players to be on the field on September 10 when the regular season opens at Washington.
- No. 2 quarterback Nick Foles did not practice on Tuesday against Miami, raising questions about the elbow injury that sidelined him for much of the early part of Training Camp. However, Pederson said keeping Foles out of action on Tuesday was strictly “precautionary.”
“Just precautionary. Just giving him another rest,” Pederson said. “Nothing serious, nothing major. Just keep resting that thing. He got a lot of throws in these last couple days, so we just wanted to take a little off him today.”
Pederson said that if this were the regular season, Foles would be in uniform and ready to play. Pederson has not yet determined if Foles will play in the Miami game on Thursday night.
- On playing time for the starters on Thursday, Pederson said he wasn’t quite sure. “I haven't decided. We got a lot of good work the last couple of days. I want to see where they're at health-wise,” he said. “Typically in this game, as you know, two quarters in a half, (and) a little bit into the third. But I haven't made that decision yet. I'm going to wait and see how the guys are after these couple of days.”
- Pederson said that, despite media speculation to the contrary, running back LeGarrette Blount is going to be a very important factor in the offense this season. A report surfaced on Monday that Blount was not a lock to make the 53-man roster. Pederson shot that down on Tuesday. “I mean, the guy is a beast of a runner. I don't know what else to tell you. Eighteen touchdowns; 15 in the red zone last year. That's the production you saw yesterday (and) the style of running that he can do,” he said. “And the other thing is, listen, we're not game-planning these games. So it's really hard to go into a game saying, ‘This is best against this team.’ We're trying to execute our plays. As coaches, we might be doing our players an injustice by putting them in bad situations. I'm just going to be honest with you. But you saw what he's done these last couple of days. I'm excited that he's here, and he's going to be a big part of our offense.”
- The first-team offense hasn’t played much – one drive and a touchdown in Green Bay and the first quarter last week against Buffalo – and Pederson said he wants to see more consistency with the group against Miami.
“I think the first unit, overall, just a little bit better execution,” he said. “We need to start a little bit better, start the game a little bit better. You'd love to see points, obviously, and score maybe a couple of times. But we just need to clean up - we had too many penalties last week. The turnovers are - even though maybe not the first unit, but the execution, the turnovers, the penalties, we need to come out and play a clean football game.”