Good morning, Eagles fans! The Birds kick off a pivotal week today as they prepare to battle the New York Jets on Thursday in the final preseason game of 2018 and cut down the roster from 89 players to 53 by Saturday. We will be streaming live today as defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and offensive coordinator Mike Groh meet with the media at noon ahead of the team's 1:30 p.m. practice at the NovaCare Complex.
We will also have a 1-on-1 interview with rookie tight end Dallas Goedert and the latest episode of Audible featuring linebacker Jordan Hicks. Here's what you need to know in today's Morning Roundup presented by Microsoft.
1. Not Even Peter King Can Get The QB Answer
In his latest Football Morning in America column for NBC, Peter King reported from Cleveland on Thursday to try and see who the Eagles' starting quarterback will be September 6 when the Atlanta Falcons come to Lincoln Financial Field.
"We'll find out," head coach Doug Pederson said to him. "Stay tuned, as they say in the business. As I've said, it's going to be a medical decision. We are going to do the right thing for the team, and for Carson (Wentz)."
Pederson did address the struggles of the first-team offense in the preseason.
"We have time to fix it before opening night," he said. "Our team's gonna look different. People have to understand that. But I look at what we've done, and the mistakes we've made, and I see it as totally fixable.
"We promise our fans - I can promise our fans - we're gonna get this fixed. We're gonna get it right. And we hope to see them all September 6."
That won't be an issue.
2. Get Caught Up On The Latest Roster Moves
3. Crunch Time Approaches
The Eagles host the New York Jets in the fourth and final game of the preseason on Thursday at 7 p.m. The fourth preseason game is one in which starters usually sit out but there are still plenty of roster spots at stake. And a week from Thursday, the eyes of the NFL world will be on Philadelphia as the Eagles kick off the NFL season at home against the Atlanta Falcons.
Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro has all you need to know about what this week means for the Birds:
"It's a different kind of week," tight end Zach Ertz said. "We go from 90 players to 53. Just one cut this year, so that means 37 players are going to lose jobs. You can feel there is more tension in the locker room. It's a big week for a lot of guys."
4. Pederson Not Looking Ahead
Head coach Doug Pederson spoke to the media yesterday and was relatively reserved in his answers. There were no new updates on quarterback Carson Wentz or wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. He wanted to focus on the fourth preseason game against the Jets instead of the regular-season opener against the Falcons:
"We're not into next week, we're into the Jets, so I'm not worried about that yet right now," said Pederson on which starters are expected to play Week 1. "We're still in Training Camp, so we're practicing today and getting guys ready for the game."
Take a look at the Eagles that come from Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, and Division III football programs.
5. Hackenberg's Chance For Revenge
Pederson confirmed Sunday that quarterback Christian Hackenberg will play Thursday night against the New York Jets in the Eagles' fourth preseason game. Hackenberg was signed by the Eagles on August 12 as a free agent.
The 23-year-old was drafted by the Jets in the 2nd round (51st overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Penn State. He played in the preseason but never saw regular-season action with the Jets. On Thursday, he will have a chance to show his former team what strides he has made. Dave Spadaro has more:
"It's been a blast. I'm developing. If I get the chance to play on Thursday, I'm looking forward to seeing how it all translates to the field. Being here, it's been good for my game and for me.
"I don't know what the plan is for me. I just want to play my best every chance I get."
6. Pumphrey's Last Opportunity?
Thursday's game will be especially important for running back Donnel Pumphrey who has missed practice time and all three preseason games with a hamstring injury. It's the same injury that kept Pumphrey sidelined last season after making the 53-man roster as a rookie.
Pumphrey was cleared to practice this weekend and is set to play against the Jets Thursday with everything on the line. As the battle for the fourth running back spot with Wendell Smallwood, Josh Adams, and Matt Jones heats up, Pumphrey will have to do all that he can in one game to prove he belongs. Dave Spadaro caught up with Pumphrey on Sunday:
"It's been frustrating because I felt I was in great shape and ready to play my best football this year," Pumphrey said on Sunday at his NovaCare Complex locker. "I felt like my legs were back, I knew the offense, and I was playing good football. Then I hurt my hamstring again and here I am."
7. Lawlor: Positive Answers To Preseason Questions
This preseason was different for the Eagles. There was no change at head coach, not many significant roster changes, and the team comes back from celebrating a Super Bowl title instead of a facing another disappointing ending. The Eagles don't need to figure out how to become a contender. They are one now. The objective of this preseason was to answer questions at several important position battles. Tommy Lawlor writes about which of those questions have been answered.