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Nick Foles names two young Eagles players to watch in the first preseason game

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Plus Doug Pederson talks his contract extension and what to expect on Thursday.

Tuesday’s practice was the last time the players would take the field before their first preseason game of 2018.

For their final media availability before Thursday’s game, head coach Doug Pederson and quarterbacks Nick Foles and Carson Wentz spoke to the media and talked about injuries and young guys to keep an eye on.

Here what they had to say:

Doug Pederson

  • For the first preseason game, the head coach mentioned they are going to try and get everyone some snaps. As the staff is still evaluating both personnel and different schemes, there’s going to be a lot of different looks throughout the preseason.
  • The starters on both offense and defense, who are healthy, will get some looks on Thursday as well, but Pederson is really looking forward to seeing some of the young guys. Later on he noted that if he can get some of the starters a full game’s worth of snaps during the first three weeks of the preseason, they would consider that a success.
  • Pederson was asked if he thought this year’s group of guys was even better than last year’s. The head coach noted that it’s a little too early to tell, but based on “the effort, the hard work” they’ve put in during the offseason, he’s impressed, but until they get into regular season games, it’s hard to say.
  • Aside from a win, Pederson would deem Thursday’s game a success if they make it out healthy (no major injuries) and to see all three phases successful in their execution. He noted there are a lot of young, talented players who are making a push for a roster spot, and that they’ve got some incredible depth at some positions.
  • On his contract extension, “I really wish no one brought it up,” he quipped, but continued that he’s very honored by the vote of confidence, but that ultimately he still sees this as a year-to-year opportunity, and he’s prepared to coach his butt of this season to earn it.
  • Joe Douglas was brought up and Pederson lauded his contributions to the team and coaching staff. The head coach is hoping that with another successful season, they might be able to keep Douglas in the building and moving forward with Pederson and Howie Rosmann.
  • Pederson was asked how he and Howie’s relationship has developed the past few years, and the head coach went beyond calling him a business partner, he admitted that they have a friendship, and that being on the same page can only help both of them throughout the duration of their new contracts.
  • The team was going to be pads on Tuesday, but with the heat and humidity, they wanted to ease things up a bit with 48 hours before they take the field.

Nick Foles

  • The No. 2 QB stepped up the mic and was immediately asked about the upper body soreness that has kept him out of practice this week, but he was quick to claim they were simple muscle spasms, “nothing crazy”. He said the soreness is in trap/neck area, but that it’s not a big deal.
  • Just as Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz have “that’s the plan” on repeat, Foles admitted he’d continue to answer “we’re being smart” when asked about why they’re holding him out of team activities right now. He hopes to be back on the field soon, and doesn’t rule out being ready for the first preseason game, but ultimately Foles and the training staff are trying to avoid re-aggravating the injury.
  • Foles might not make it back in time to take snaps on Thursday, but he did talk about the value of getting preseason opportunities. Not just for him, or for No. 3 QB Nate Sudfeld, but for the entire team to get back into the rhythm of game day, learn how to shake off the nerves, and get in front of the fans. (Something the Eagles had no problem with last weekend, with 40k fans in attendance for their first open practice.)
  • With the possibility of missing time during the first preseason game, Foles isn’t too concerned about trying to hit any sort of target in terms of snaps or minutes played heading into the regular season.
  • Foles was also asked who fans might enjoy watching as the preseason gets underway. The quarterback quickly noted tight end Dallas Goedert — who has been making impressive plays throughout camp — and receiver Rashard Davis, who Foles calls “a very talented player”.

Carson Wentz

  • For the time being, Wentz is repeating everything he’s said the past week or two about him sitting out of 11-on-11 drills and whether or not he’ll be ready for Week 1. We don’t know yet, and it’s all part of the plan. (Yadda, yadda, yadda.)
  • The QB was asked what he feels he needs to work on based off what he has been able to do the past few weeks in 7-on-7 drills. Wentz acknowledged you’ve got a lot of young guys and new guys, and you’re scheming a bit for the defense, so while it doesn’t always look pretty, that’s to be expected. He said it might not be perfect but he feels good physically, which is really the important part.
  • On how he’s affected by the rhythm breaking up between drills, but Wentz said that’s his challenge right now. He’s got to make the most of his time on the sideline, and just be ready once he’s able to go.
  • Wentz was asked about Pederson’s new contract, and after joking about looking forward to being a free agent, he spoke about how much the head coach (and Howie) deserved the new deals and how he looks forward to playing for Pederson for the foreseeable future.
  • The team still has a lot of their red zone targets from last season, and then to add in some big bodied guys like Dallas Goedert and Richard Rodgers, the offense should have some more options this season.