August 08, 2016
The Eagles are in the process of going through a more physical training camp than in past years, and either as a result or coincidence (take your pick), some of their best players will miss the preseason opener on Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
According to Doug Pederson, Jason Peters (quad) and Malcolm Jenkins (hamstring) are both day-to day and expected to come back for the Eagles’ second preseason game in Pittsburgh 10 days from now. Jordan Matthews, on the other hand, is looking at a longer and more uncertain timetable for his return from injury.
“Jordan Matthews is still a couple weeks away from being back,” Pederson said. “We want to make sure he’s completely healthy with that knee. Hopefully, tentatively, you get into that Colts, that third preseason [game]. If not, then the regular season.”
The injury is important because along with tight end Zach Ertz, Matthews is far and away the Eagles’ most reliable receiver. In 2015, the Vanderbilt product led the team in receptions by catching 85 balls for 997 yards despite dealing with some drop issues early in the season.
Matthews left last Friday’s “live” practice period with a strained left knee after taking a hit from rookie cornerback Jalen Mills. Pederson doesn’t expect the third-year receiver’s injury to linger into the regular season.
“There was no structural damage to the knee, it’s just sore,” Pederson said. “We just got to make sure it’s healthy and he’s feeling good when he gets out here.”
Mychal Kendricks also left Monday’s practice with a sore hamstring that Pederson said “should be fine.”
The physical nature of the practices has been a major talking point at the NovaCare Complex, which is to be expected because of the obvious dichotomy between Pederson and Chip Kelly’s workouts.
The Eagles head coach said on Monday that the live tackling drills are probably done with, but the team will still continue to practice with pads on.
“These last six days have been tough, and I wanted it to be tough on them,” Pederson said. “By no means are we where want to be as a football team, but at the same time, I think we’ve made some big strides in the past week.”
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann