Good morning, Eagles fans! Happy Wentzday. We've missed saying that. It's a big day at the NovaCare Complex as the team returns to practice at 1 p.m. Sunday's starting quarterback Carson Wentz will speak to the media at 11:45 this morning after head coach Doug Pederson speaks at 10:30. We will carry both press conferences as well as practice live. The rest of the team will meet with the media following practice at 3:15. Here's what you need to know in today's Morning Roundup presented by Microsoft.
1. JMatt Is Back
Start adjusting your ties, Eagles fans.
As Wentz gets set for his return Sunday, the Eagles announced the signing of wide receiver Jordan Matthews, Wentz's favorite target and celebration partner from his rookie year. The move corresponds with the addition of wide receiver Mike Wallace to the Injured Reserve list.
The return of Matthew comes one day after the Eagles waived wide receiver DeAndre Carter and promoted running back Josh Adams to the active roster. Chris McPherson has more on an old friend rejoining the Birds:
Matthews was the recipient of Wentz's first career touchdown pass in the 2016 season opener against the Cleveland Browns on a 19-yard pass that came on the game's opening drive. The quarterback-wide receiver duo had a touchdown celebration where they pretended to straighten their ties to signal that they're all business. Matthews and Wentz are very close friends. The two traveled together in the 2017 offseason to Haiti on a mission trip.
A second-round pick of the team in 2014, Matthews brings size (6-3, 212 pounds), production, and experience to the table for a wide receiver corps that has been plagued by injury. With Alshon Jeffery "week to week" with his shoulder, and Mack Hollins and Wallace on Injured Reserve, the Eagles had just three healthy players on the depth chart at wide receiver in Nelson Agholor, Kamar Aiken, and Shelton Gibson before adding Matthews.
2. 'Just Be Carson Wentz'
As Eagles players returned to the NovaCare Complex yesterday, some had time to reflect on what Wentz's return brings to the team. Teammates of Wentz are excited to have their leader back. However, there is also a shared responsibility to work hard so Wentz's return to live game action is as smooth as possible. Here's more on what the Eagles are looking forward to on Sunday:
"I think he's had a lot of reps, a lot of things done with the team," Jason Kelce said. "I think obviously the biggest thing is, getting those first couple hits out of the way is going to be a big part of that first game. So hopefully we can keep things as clean as possible in front, make life as easy as we can. He's a special player and a special leader, so we're excited."
3. Great Wentzpectations
Carson Wentz will be the starting quarterback on Sunday. That's still is exciting to read. But as Eagles fans prepare to wear their No. 11 jerseys to the Linc this weekend, they may want to exhibit caution in their expectations. Returns are never easy and with a banged-up offense, it may take a few plays or drives to get Wentz acclimated to game speed once again. Eagles' Insider Dave Spadaro has more on what the team expects from Wentz is his return:
The team's Franchise Quarterback made September 6, the date of the opening-night game against Atlanta, his return-to-the-lineup goal. While Wentz didn't play in that win over Atlanta, or in the loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday, he is slated to start on Sunday in Week 3 when the Indianapolis Colts come to town. His recovery has been impressive, marked by hard work and dedication not only from Wentz but from the team's athletic training department, the strength and conditioning staff, the coaches, the players who have worked for so many cumulative hours on the side, and everyone who has supported Wentz in his personal life.
"We're really excited that Carson is back, and I know that he's worked extremely hard with his medical team and on his own in a lot of solitary hours trying to get himself ready and prepared to play, so it's exciting to have him back. I know he's anxious to get out there, and we just want to get him back in the game first," offensive coordinator Mike Groh said. "Wouldn't want to talk about any kind of expectation level for the way we expect he's going to play right now."
4. The Evolution Of Nelson Agholor
Nelson Agholor has been all over the place to start the 2018 season. He caught a back-corner touchdown pass in his hometown against the Buccaneers that gave the Eagles a chance late in the game as part of an eight-reception, 88-yard day. In Week 1, he completed a 15-yard "Philly Philly" trick play pass that extended an eventual touchdown-scoring drive. Agholor has worn a lot of hats as he continues to improve serves as the role as the Eagles' No. 1 receiver. His evolution headlines Fran Duffy's most recent Eagle Eye column:
One big bright spot, however, was the play of Nelson Agholor. The former first-round pick has continued to shine in this Eagles offense. He had to shoulder the load for the receiving corps once again with the other three of the top four wideouts out of the lineup for most of this game. Agholor has been used inside and outside, as a runner and as a receiver as well as a decoy.
5. Goedert's Time Is Coming
After a remarkable preseason, there were high hopes for tight end Dallas Goedert's potential for an immediate impact. He was expected to be the second part of a powerful 1-2 punch with Zach Ertz. But through the first two games of the regular season, Goedert has just one reception for 4 yards. Despite his lack of production and targets, Goedert is not discouraged. Dave Spadaro has more on how the offense will use him going forward:
Said offensive coordinator Mike Groh on Tuesday: "We have a talented player in Dallas, and we need to find more ways to get him involved. We need to get him involved more. We had some extenuating circumstances the other day, for a variety of reasons. He just wasn't in there in the spots where we were getting the ball to. We're going to continue to try to monitor that and make sure that he is going to help us win games here."
6. Getting The Gang Back Together
Clyde Simmons and Seth Joyner, two defensive powerhouses that did everything together in their playing days, will be together again Sunday as they are inducted into the Eagles Hall of Fame. As Simmons' and Joyner's names are enshrined in Eagles history forever, they will join their teammates that made up the Eagles' notorious Gang Green defense of the late 80s and early 90s. Ray Didinger has more on the honor for Simmons, Joyner, and an entire era of Eagles football:
Seth and Clyde certainly left their mark and it will be celebrated when the Eagles meet the Indianapolis Colts at Lincoln Financial Field. When they are enshrined in the Eagles Hall of Fame, they will take their place alongside White, Brown, Allen, and Randall Cunningham from that colorful Buddy Ryan team of the late 1980s. Although they never made it to a Super Bowl, they are beloved in Philadelphia.
"The fans in this town are different," Joyner says. "They love defense and we brought it every week."