August 15, 2017
With the Eagles set to play their second preseason game on Thursday at The Linc against the Buffalo Bills, Birds fans will likely get to see the debut of two very important players on the outside.
Alshon Jeffery missed the preseason opener in Green Bay as the Eagles brought him back slowly from a shoulder strain, but Carson Wentz’s top target has been practicing more over the past few days. And judging from Doug Pederson’s remarks on Tuesday at the NovaCare Complex, it sounds like Jeffery will be good to go.
“I’m still working through that, I am leaning towards him playing, yes,” Pederson said. “He feels comfortable, we’ve talked about it, so I’m comfortable with him going.”
Jeffery was the team’s most important free-agent acquisition, but the Eagles brought in Ronald Darby from Buffalo just a few days ago to shore up the cornerback spot. The third-year pro only has a few weeks to learn an Eagles system that is far different from what he was playing in Buffalo.
Darby, who described the prospect of facing his former team just a week after being traded “a little weird,” also sounds like he’ll play on Thursday night.
“Same thing, give him an opportunity to play, and [it will] be exciting to watch him in live action,” Pederson said.
Here are some more Eagles updates heading into the Bills game two nights from today:
• Wentz’s workload will likely be similar to last week’s in Green Bay, which means the Eagles starter gets only one or two series of work depending on how the offense looks.
“Again, the bullets don’t really fly for real for another couple of weeks,” Pederson said. “The other thing you guard against [is] a hit, something in the game that might take him out. And so I guard against that a little bit, but at the same time, I want to make sure he’s mentally in the right frame of mind to go in and start.”
Nick Foles (elbow soreness) indicated on Monday that he won’t play Thursday against the Bills, but Pederson doesn’t sound too worried about the health of Wentz’s backup.
“Hopefully we can get him in some of these games these next couple of weeks, but he’s a veteran guy, smart guy, understands our scheme,” Pederson said. “So I’m not overly concerned.”
• Jason Peters was excused from Tuesday’s practice for personal reasons, which led to a question if he’ll play on Thursday night. Pederson described the situation as day-to-day, and Lane Johnson will get the left tackle reps if the veteran can’t play.
“If it happens, Lane obviously worked at left tackle all spring,” Pederson said. “Big V obviously at the time was working right tackle, but this will be a good opportunity if something were to happen and they have to do that at least this Thursday.”
• Ryan Mathews has passed his physical and will be released. No surprise there.
• Wendell Smallwood (hamstring) and Brandon Brooks (ankle), who have both been practicing, are game-time decisions.
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann
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