Fires should not affect Eagles-Rams on Sunday
The Rams' practice was moved indoors, while the Eagles are a long way from the affected areas.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Eagles were unaffected by the Southern California wildfires; they practiced as scheduled on Wednesday. The Los Angeles Rams canceled their practice and instead held a walkthrough because of air quality concerns.
There is no indication that Sunday afternoon's game will be changed or affected. The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is across the city from the areas most affected.
"It is obviously a serious issue with what's going on, and our thoughts and prayers are obviously with the people that are affected," Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. "I know the Rams were affected these last couple of days and it makes it a little uncomforting and unsettling."
Rams coach Sean McVay said his team held a walkthrough in a Cal Lutheran gym Wednesday, something he said works just as well this late in the season, when players are battered and "above the neck" preparation is paramount.
The Eagles are practicing in Anaheim, more than an hour's drive south of the areas most affected. There were no signs of smoke or air quality problems from the Eagles' team hotel or Angel Stadium, where they're practicing.
The Rams practice in Thousand Oaks, Calif., much closer to the affected areas.
Ertz remains sidelined
Eagles tight end Zach Ertz remains in the league-mandated concussion protocol, and missed Wednesday's practice session.
"The sense is he's doing well," Pederson said. "I don't want to get into too many details about it. He's still in the protocol, and we've just got to monitor him day-by-day."
Ertz is in meetings, which means he's in at least the second stage of the concussion protocol.
His recovery is out of the team's hands, and he cannot return to practice until he has been cleared by an independent neurologist. If that happens before Sunday, it could be late in the week, after most practicing is complete. Pederson said Ertz could miss practices this week and still play Sunday.
"In his case, he's had a lot of reps with Carson; he's had a lot of reps with some of the plays we have in the game plan," Pederson said. "I'm not concerned with something like that. Maybe if it was an offensive or defensive lineman or a linebacker who has to see a lot of things. We do play with multiple tight ends."
Ertz missed one game this season with a hamstring injury, but he's still on pace to have a career season. Trey Burton would have a bigger role if Ertz cannot play. Pederson said it affects the Eagles' play decisions but not their game plan.
Eagles in the outfield
When the Eagles took the field Wednesday, the only evidence of Angel Stadium's baseball diamond was the home plate cutout. The lined football field, complete with NFL goalposts, looked perfect, but it still seemed odd to see the Eagles running drills in the shade of the right-field foul pole, or underneath the sign commemorating the Angels' 2002 World Series Championship.
Down the left-field line, where running backs gathered to drill under position coach Duce Staley, Eagles chairman Jeffrey Lurie watched the proceedings. A little ways away stood Darren Sproles, recovering from knee surgery, who drove up from the San Diego area to check in with teammates.
Before the team headed up through the dugout and onto the field, Carson Wentz was asked about whether being on the West Coast has been disruptive.
"It hasn't really affected me too much. I've been pretty much consistent with the same approach, as far as watching film and getting extra studying in," Wentz said.
Wentz, who lives in rural South Jersey, 30 minutes or more from NovaCare Complex, said: "It's more convenient out here, obviously, it's just downstairs at the hotel … I haven't really let any of this distract me, at all."