Will Alshon Jeffery make his Eagles debut this Thursday night at Lincoln Financial against the Bills?
Jeffery was among the list of a handful of Eagles who did not play in last Thursday’s preseason opener against the Packers. After Monday’s practice, Jeffery provided some positive sentiments for Eagles fans.
“I feel pretty good. I mean just getting back into the swing of things, but I feel pretty good,” Jeffery said.
The outstanding pass-catcher has been tending to a shoulder injury for the past two weeks which has limited him from participating in the majority of team drills. His absence during the drills are precautionary, but his availability for Thursday’s matchup remains tentative.
“We’ll see. I mean talk to Coach Doug (Pederson) and the trainers,” Jeffery said. “I would like to, but at the same time we’ll see.”
Although the preseason is a good opportunity to develop the chemistry between Jeffery and quarterback Carson Wentz, Pederson eyes having a healthy Jeffery come the regular season.
“I just want to make sure he's healthy,” Pederson said. “We're not playing for a while. Just want to give him plenty of rest. He's getting a lot of work with Carson (Wentz) in 7-on-7s and individual work, getting everything he needs to get done leading up to the season.”
Second-year receiver Marcus Johnson could be dubbed the sleeper among the group. He has arguably been one of the most surprising standouts on the Eagles’ 90-man roster until he suffered a hamstring injury which kept him out of action at Lambeau Field. Johnson, who spent time on the Eagles' practice squad last season, returned to action Monday during team drills.
“You get frustrated because you feel like you’re taking care of yourself and you’re doing everything that you need to do in order to be out there on the field and to not miss any significant time but it is what it is," Johnson said. "It’s a part of the game."
Running back Wendell Smallwood was everything but - wait for it - small during LeGarrette Blount’s absence due to personal matters earlier in Training Camp. Like Johnson, however, Smallwood experienced issues with his hamstring that sidelined him in Green Bay. He returned to practice Monday in a limited capacity.
“It’s frustrating, just not being able to be out there and get better with each and every rep and definitely with how I felt I was coming into this camp and how I was working,” Smallwood said. “It’s kind of frustrating me a lot, but I'm paying attention, being more dialed in mentally, and seeing what those guys are doing. I’m getting more time to study, more time to see things happen. So there's a disadvantage and an advantage to it.”
Smallwood said that he's "working to play this week" against the Bills. Head coach Doug Pederson will provide updates when he addresses the media following Tuesday's practice.