It seems that Eagles kicker Jake Elliott has made his way through much of the NFL's concussion protocol and that the Eagles expect Elliott to be ready when they host the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
Doug Pederson answered the first question at his Wednesday news conference by saying Elliott remains in the protocol, after smacking heads with Dallas returner Ryan Switzer on the opening kickoff of Sunday night's Eagles victory. The Eagles didn't try any field goals after Elliott left the game, following his miss of a 34-yarder in the first quarter. Special-teams linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill stepped in for kickoffs They went for two points after each of their four subsequent touchdowns, converting three times.
To follow-up questions, however, Pederson made it clear he thinks Elliott is well along the road to recovery.
"Everything is looking good for him, where he's at right now," Pederson said.
He added that Elliott is attending meetings. Elliott was listed as a partial practice participant, something that would not be permitted if his baseline neurological testing hadn't returned to normal. The rest of the five-step process involves gradually increasing physical activity until a player is cleared by an independent neurologist.
Pederson said Caleb Sturgis, the kicker whose job Elliott took after Sturgis suffered a hip flexor tear in the season opener, "is obviously around" and is close to being able to play. But someone would have to be dropped from the roster for Sturgis to come off injured reserve, for what does not seem likely to be a long-term absence for Elliott.
Coaches have indicated that the team intends to move forward with Elliott. Sturgis is set to become a free agent in the offseason. Elliott has converted a franchise-record five 50-yard-plus field goals this season.
Fans have speculated that the Eagles, favored by about two touchdowns against Chicago, could just do what they did last week after Elliott went down. Pederson said that will not happen.
"You definitely want somebody — a professional kicker," he said. "I do believe that, and I feel in the bottom of my heart, that Jake will be ready."
Fletcher Cox was upset after Sunday night's game over the penalty he was assessed for a crackback block, while Malcolm Jenkins was darting around the end zone, before Jenkins decided a touchback was the most prudent way to end his interception return.
"Nothing happened," Cox said Wednesday. "The [opposing player] ducked when he saw me coming, and they thought I threw a crackback block."
Cox said he wasn't fined, something that would have occurred if the league office had found the penalty legit.
Defensive tackle Beau Allen, suffering from what a source close to the situation described as knee tendinitis, was the only Eagle who missed Wednesday's practice. Trey Burton (back), Rodney McLeod (oblique) and Jake Elliott (concussion) were listed as limited.
Allen left Sunday night's game in Dallas after feeling knee pain.