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September 01, 2020

Doug Pederson isn't worried about Carson Wentz' Week 1 status

Plus, the Eagles head coach talks about injured wideouts Jalen Reagor and Alshon Jeffery

Eagles NFL
680922_Eagles_Lions_Carson_Wentz_Kate_Frese.jpg Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.

The injury list down at the NovaCare Complex continues to grow by the day.

But as it pertains to the Eagles' most important player — quarterback Carson Wentz, who sat out practice for the third straight day on Tuesday with a "lower-body" injury — head coach Doug Pederson offered up some positive news when it comes to Wentz' status moving forward.

"Well, obviously what Carson is working through right now is nothing major. It's minor. It's day-to-day," Pederson told reporters over Zoom prior to Tuesday's practice. "This is actually a good time for this week, to rest. As you know, if we played a game on Thursday, a pre-season game, he wouldn't play this week anyway. All the backups would go.

"This is really a good time for him to really rest, for the majority of our starters, to kind of rest and prepare themselves for next week. I have no issues of where Carson is, where he's headed. He'll be ready to go."

The Eagles also got a pair of pass catchers back on Tuesday, with tight end Dallas Goedert (thumb) and wide receiver Quez Watkins (upper body) both reportedly returning to the field after missing the past two practices with their respective injuries.

That being said, the Birds still have quite a few banged up players.

Aside from losing starting offensive linemen Brandon Brooks and Andre Dillard for the season, the Eagles are also currently missing players like Lane Johnson (lower body), Javon Hargrave (pectoral), Derek Barnett (ankle), Miles Sanders (lower body), Vinny Curry (lower body), and others. 

Thankfully, Sanders (who was week-to-week back when he first got hurt) is expected to return in time for Week 1. Hargrave, on the other hand, will likely miss some time. 

But what about some of the other players listed as day-to-day, such as Johnson and Curry? Does Pederson expect those players to potentially miss the opener?

"As I see it right now today, no," the Eagles coach said. "As you know, things can change obviously with anything that goes on. As of right now, no."

Not included in those day-to-day injuries is rookie wideout Jalen Reagor, who is currently (and officially) listed as week-to-week after partially tearing his labrum over the weekend. Reports are that he could miss as many as four weeks, which could keep him out for at least the first two weeks of the regular season. 

With Alshon Jeffery still working his way back from a season-ending foot injury last year, that would leave a spot in the starting lineup open opposite DeSean Jackson. Greg Ward will get the start in the slot, leaving that other outside receiver slot open for either second-year player J.J Arcega-Whiteside, the bigger option, or rookie fifth-round pick John Hightower, the speedy option

Either way, Pederson says they'll be ready to go on September 13. 

"I'm very comfortable with J.J.," Pederson said of the former third-round pick who struggled in Year 1 but, by all accounts, has had a nice camp. "He's played. He has some game experience. I think he's worked well with Carson. Carson is understanding him better this year, having worked now more I would say exclusively together.

"Hightower has had a good camp. The one thing with him right now is just game experience, right? He's a rookie, a first-year player. It doesn't seem to be too big for either one of those players right now. I'm looking forward to both of them competing and helping us as we start the season."

But there's a chance Jeffery — a player many thought this offseason would be playing elsewhere this year — could be back sooner rather than later. Jeffery has previously said there's a chance he could be back on the field soon, and Pederson was asked whether or not that could come as early as September.

"I mean, there's always a chance," Pederson said, before hedging even further. "I'm not going to put a timetable on Alshon. I want to make sure he's obviously 100% or 105%, if that's such a thing, before we put him out there. He's working extremely hard. He wants to be out there. He wants to practice and play in games. 

"But at the same time, we know it's a long season. We've got some guys that we need to make sure that are healthy for the entire season, not just the beginning of the year."

As every Eagles fan learned the hard way last season, keeping those starting wideouts healthy for a full season is not only important, but can often prove difficult. If they want to have any real success in 2020 (and perhaps into 2021), keeping Wentz' weapons on the field would go a long way.

As would keeping Wentz upright, which is going to be an extra challenge this year with all their offensive line issues. But that's another story for another day... 

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