Good morning, Eagles fans. As long as you’re staying warm, I’m sure it’s a good one, too. The Eagles’ hardest — and coldest — practice day is behind them. They’re back in the full swing of things after the bye week and are getting ready for the New England Patriots and the challenges that come when facing Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. But something happened Wednesday that hasn’t happened in a while: The Eagles’ injury list got shorter. More on that later.
The Eagles hit the practice field this afternoon, and some players will be available afterward in the locker room.
— EJ Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The harsh, blustery reality of the seasons changing has hit the Eagles’ practice field this week. Wednesday’s windchill forced some players to bundle up during the training session, while others like Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor braved the elements without sleeves.
But even with the chilly conditions, Nate Herbig was burning hot in the locker room after the team’s practice.
The rookie offensive lineman had just done the “one-chip challenge," eating a very spicy chip for the rest of the team’s viewing enjoyment. The players encouraged the impressionable 21-year-old by chanting “Herby, Herby!” and Herbig took a bite, then sprinted out of the locker room.
The moment was indicative of the general mood of the Eagles’ players. They’re rested, refreshed, and in agreement that the team’s bye week came at the perfect time.
The team had four players on the injury report Wednesday, much shorter than the average list released after each practice. On Oct. 30, the last time the Eagles issued an injury report, they had 10 players listed.
Even some of those who either missed or were limited in practice are tracking a return in the near future. Jason Peters and Jordan Howard were limited, but Peters may be ready to go by Sunday, and Howard downplayed his shoulder injury after the Bears game.
Alshon Jeffery missed practice with an ankle injury that Doug Pederson said was “day-to-day," and Nigel Bradham’s return is inching closer as he started running.
“We’re getting guys back, we’re healthy,” Eagles safety Rodney McLeod said. “We’re feeling good, and we’re at home [on Sunday].”
The players benefited from the time away. Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox missed most of the offseason and training camp while recovering from a foot injury that required surgery. He had a slow start to the season, but has been getting back to his All-Pro form the last few games.
“I feel great, I feel like I needed that bye week,” Cox said. “I was sore, and going however many weeks it was, for me, I feel like the bye week was at the perfect time. I’m feeling good, everybody was flying around [at practice], so we just have to carry that to Sunday.”
After watching Clowney and Gordon the other night, if they could do over would they trade a 3 n 5 and sign Gordon for nothing? — From Dean (@Dean41373708) via Twitter.
Good question, Dean. I don’t have a direct line of communication with Howie Roseman, so I can’t say for certain. But I can speculate! Roseman essentially said the reason the Eagles passed on Jadeveon Clowney was because they needed to let young players develop. Derek Barnett is the young defensive end who has benefited from Clowney’s not being here, and, while his numbers aren’t eye-popping, I’d imagine the Eagles are still happy they bet on the former first-round pick. But, at the same time, they traded a fourth-round pick for Genard Avery, who is a situational rusher. Clowney, who is a free agent after this season, will be making significantly more money than Avery over the next two seasons, but will also be much more productive. I’d imagine the Eagles would still pass on Clowney, although they could use more depth at defensive end.