Advertisement

Eagles have fresh legs, thanks to Pederson; Hicks to make return Sunday

Keeping players fresh in December is always a delicate balancing act, especially for Eagles coach Doug Pederson this year.

Advertisement

Not only did his team suffer a crushing overtime defeat at Dallas on Dec. 9, but it had to turn around and fly to Los Angeles the following weekend to face the Rams.

How would he get them ready physically and emotionally for that game and for the rest of the season?

Despite having to turn to backup quarterback Nick Foles after Carson Wentz was shelved indefinitely because of a broken bone in his back, the coach was still convinced that a reduced workload was the way to go.

“I kind of leaned on that experience a little bit, plus the fact that he had all of training camp with them,” Pederson said. “So it's only been 13 weeks or whatever, but then he had a full complement last week going into the Rams game. So I did take that into consideration, because I know what I did last year at the end of the year.”

Pederson believes keeping his players fresh is more important than getting a veteran like Foles extra reps, which is why they came back after the win over the Rams and had only a walk-through on Wednesday, followed by a regular practice on Thursday that he and the players described as productive and “spirited.”

“Guys were really flying around,” he said. “I felt like their legs were kind of coming back for this time of the year. They’ve done a good job of taking care of themselves individually, collectively as a group. That's what you want at this point.”

Pederson also was optimistic about the potential availability of certain players like LB Jordan Hicks (calf), DT Timmy Jernigan (back), P Cameron Johnston (back), K Jake Elliott (illness) and WR Alshon Jeffery (illness).

“We’ll get through today,” he said. “We’ll increase their reps, see where they are at and make a determination, but we’re hopeful.”

Pederson won’t be available again until after the Eagles host the Houston Texans on Sunday afternoon.

On their final injury report after practice, the Eagles listed CB Sidney Jones (hamstring), G Isaac Seumalo (pectoral) and Wentz (back) as out. No real surprises there.

But they also listed LB D.J. Alexander (hamstring), DE Michael Bennett (foot), Jernigan and CB Cre’von LeBlanc (hamstring) as questionable — LeBlanc’s name being new to the list this week following his third consecutive start at the nickel spot last Sunday against the Rams.

However, the absence of Hicks, Jeffery, Elliott, TE Zach Ertz and G Stefen Wisniewski means they’re all expected to play on Sunday.

Of all the injuries, LeBlanc’s is the most worrisome. The Eagles already have starters Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby on IR and Jones out indefinitely.

If LeBlanc can’t go, it could mean more time for De’Vante Bausby and Chandon Sullivan.

Advertisement

Another item of note from Pederson’s press conference: He reiterated that Wentz will be the starter again as soon as he’s deemed medically ready.

“I think No. 1, I can stand here and say that Carson is our quarterback,” Pederson said. “He’s our quarterback in the future. That’s why we drafted him. It’s also why we have Nick here as a backup, as a veteran player to — I don't want to say bail us out, but to come in and execute the offense. I think we just continue to reconfirm that with Carson and let him know that, continue to say, ‘Hey, listen you're going to be here for a long time, have a long career.’

“We just have to commit to that and communicate that to him and let that kind of sink in.”

Advertisement
Advertisement