The Philadelphia Eagles made a curious move this morning by cancelling their regularly scheduled Wednesday practice ahead of their Week 3 game against the Detroit Lions.
Wednesday is typically the team’s toughest and most important practice ahead of Sunday games but the Eagles are opting to do a walk-through instead. Doug Pederson explained his thought process behind that decision during his presser:
“It’s just a couple of things. Number one, with the guys that are a little nicked up who have a chance to play in this football game, I want them to get the rep in practice. Normally we go a padded day. And then, two, we’ve got some young guys who have to play, and they’re also servicing the defense or the offense [on the scout team], so this way it allows everybody to still practice and maintain their focus and get out work done that we need to get done today.”
It’s not unprecedented for Pederson to shift Wednesday’s practice to a walk-through. He’s typically done this in the closing weeks of the regular season over the past two years. But the timing here is obviously different since it’s only Week 3. Pederson did say the Eagles play on Thursday Night Football in Week 4 also factored into the practice change.
“Yeah, that’s another reason to kind of pull back just a touch. I want these guys fresh as possible for these next two weeks. I’ve got to think of the big picture here and obviously keeping guys — it’s early in our season — keeping guys as fresh as possible now so we can make a push later in the season. So that’s also a factor in the decision.”
“I’ve done this before, typically with a Thurdsay game the following week, to adjust the schedule this way, to keep guys fresh. And I’ve done it too later in the year but, Week 3, to have a Thursday game Week 4, it’s just a unique situation.”
Pederson was asked abut the specific players — Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Dallas Goedert, Timmy Jernigan, and Corey Clement — he referred to as “a little nicked up” earlier. He didn’t give much information on their statuses, other than that Jernigan will definitely be out this week.
“Well, we know Tim’s going to be a little bit longer. The other guys are day-to-day, more day-to-day. They’re doing well and we’ll have an update at the end of the week. But right now, that’s why we’re doing this type of a practice today. So we can get them out there.”
It’s really tough to know exactly what “day-to-day” means given how nebulous that term has been in Pederson’s past usage. Based on media reports, it sounds like the Eagles could be without all of these players this Sunday. Jeffery and Goedert might be the only two from that group with any kind of chance to play.
With Jackson reportedly expected to be out, Pederson was asked about how the Eagles can possibly replace him. His answer wasn’t overly inspiring. He joked that a reporter could do it, threw Nelson Agholor’s name out there, and then said the team would have to “get creative” to scheme up big plays.
“Well, um ... (three second pause) ... you (referring to Zach Berman, who asked the question). I mean, Nelson, we saw Nelson the other night be able to stretch the defense. He obviously can do that. And if that’s the case then we have to get creative and find some ways to get these guys down the field. This is a good defense we’re playing, it’s a good pass rush, it’s a lot of man coverage as we know. Lot of the New England Patriot type of schemes, what you see on tape with Coach [Matt] Patricia there. We’ve just got to find unique ways and creative ways to push the ball down the field. It changes a little bit of what we do but we’ve just got to get our guys prepared and go play.”
Pederson was also asked about Carson Wentz since there was thought the Eagles’ starting quarterback was banged up coming out of Sunday night’s game against the Falcons. Pederson was asked if Wentz could participate in a normal practice today and the head coach, looking and sounding totally bewildered by the question, responded:
“Carson? Yeah. Yeah. (laughs) He’s fine. Yeah.”
Wentz’s regularly scheduled Wednesday presser was also cancelled. His media availability was instead moved to the Eagles’ locker room, which is another unusual occurrence.
So, kind of an interesting day at the NovaCare Complex.
UPDATE: The Packers — whom the Eagles play in Week 4 — are also cancelling today’s practice.
Matt LaFleur is not putting the Packers through a regular practice today, rare for a Wednesday leading into a Sunday game, but he said the team is "a little banged up right now" and he has an eye on the Thursday game next week... https://t.co/nMveSqt2yy pic.twitter.com/UCdkq7SvBo— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) September 18, 2019
Pederson’s former offensive coordinator Frank Reich is putting the Colts through a walk-through today as well. So it’s not just the Eagles cancelling their Wednesday practice.
Colts HC Frank Reich: Today modified practice. Up-tempo walk-through. Good chance for players to get up to speed with game plan.— Mike Chappell (@mchappell51) September 18, 2019
Keep everyone fresh.
Darius Leonard still in protocol.