Mathis Returns; Sproles, Kendricks Limited

Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Evan Mathis showed off the large brace caging his left knee at his locker stall Wednesday afternoon. He gave the black contraption a smack and lifted his leg this way and that to demonstrate that he had good range of motion. The All-Pro guard had just wrapped up his first practice since suffering an MCL injury in the opener against Jacksonville, and was clearly pleased with how it went.

“It felt great. I was really looking forward to getting back out there and was trying to go into it with the mindset like I wasn’t hurt and not try to favor anything, and it held up as good as it could hold up,” he said. “I didn’t feel any instability, I didn’t feel any weakness. Counting this week I have three full weeks of practice before I have to play so I think that’s going to be ample time to get back to right where I need to be.” Read more »

Kendricks Runs With Ones; Sproles Practices

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The Eagles are getting closer to full strength.

The pads were on as the team gathered inside the bubble at the NovaCare Complex Wednesday. Mychal Kendricks, Darren Sproles, Jason Kelce and Evan Mathis were all suited up and took part in individual drills during the portion of training open to the media.

Kendricks was paired with DeMeco Ryans during linebacker drills, a positive sign as he preps to play for the first time since suffering a calf strain Week 2 against the Colts.

Sproles was moving pretty well. He did some running and cutting at about half-speed and ran routes. Other than a little flexing of his left leg in-between plays, he seemed OK.

Mathis practiced for the first time since injuring his MCL against the Jaguars in the opener. He is not eligible to play until November 10 against Carolina. This week, Mathis suggested  Kelce could be ready for the Houston game next Sunday. While Kelce is not ready to commit to that, he got some work in for the second straight day.

The only player who sat out Wednesday was Brad Smith (abdomen).

Sproles, Kendricks, Kelce Suit Up For Practice

Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Chip Kelly was asked to provide a health update at the start of his press conference Tuesday.

“They’re all back,” he said.

Well, almost. Darren Sproles (MCL), Mychal Kendricks (calf) and Jason Kelce (sports hernia) were all in uniform and participated in warm-ups at the start of practice. Chris Polk (hamstring) was out there as well. Evan Mathis has been cleared for a return but by rule is not able to practice until tomorrow. Brad Smith (abdomen) was the only player sidelined because of injury. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: State Of the Running Game

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The Eagles’ running back situation behind LeSean McCoy is a bit unsettled as preparations begin for Arizona.

Darren Sproles suffered an MCL sprain against the Giants before the bye. Chip Kelly suggested he could be out a week or two. Some feel that is an optimistic timeline. Either way, there needs to be a contingency plan if Sproles can’t suit up against the Cardinals, as expected.

Chris Polk plans on practicing in some capacity this week with the hope of playing Sunday. The third-year back hurt his hamstring against the Rams and was forced to sit the Giants game out. With Sproles and Polk sidelined, tight end Trey Burton got some carries late against the Giants when McCoy needed a breather.

The question facing the Eagles is this: Do they stand pat and hope Polk’s hamstring holds up, or do they make a move for insurance purposes? Read more »

All-22: New Wrinkle Sparks Eagles Run Game

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Through the first five games, it seemed everyone had a different reason for why the Eagles’ run game was struggling.

Most pointed to the injuries on the offensive line. Some suggested LeSean McCoy was injured or had lost a step. And others simply figured it was out how defenses were playing the Eagles.

But there was another factor at play, one that the coaching staff could control. During the Week 4 loss to the 49ers, there were indications that San Francisco knew some of what was coming. Against St. Louis, to a lesser extent, there were similar sentiments.

“They knew what plays were coming,” said Lane Johnson after the win over the Rams.

“I just think defenses have more knowledge of what’s coming. Last year everything was so new, and I think they’ve kind of seen a lot of what we do, so just moving forward, we’ll probably throw in a few more wrinkles.”

Chip Kelly would not be offended by Johnson’s comments. The Eagles’ offense is based on running a series of foundation plays effectively, dressing them up differently and moving at a fast pace. The problem at times this season has been that defenses have game-planned well against those foundation plays. Because of injuries up front and inconsistent quarterback play, the offense has not run as smoothly.

But against the Giants, a team that limited McCoy to 94 yards on 35 carries in two meetings last year with an inside stunt, Kelly broke out some wrinkles that helped jump-start the run game and the offense as a whole. Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Eagles In Good Spot After Six

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA Today

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA Today

Jason Kelce hung out in the corner of the Eagles’ locker room Sunday night, checking his phone and congratulating his teammates.

The Birds’ center would have loved to have been in uniform competing against the Giants. But after undergoing surgery for a sports hernia injury, Kelce instead spent the game on the sideline next to his buddy Evan Mathis, his offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland and others.

This wasn’t how most observers envisioned the first six games going. Kelce went down in Week 3. Evan Mathis suffered a knee injury in Week 1. And Mychal Kendricks went down in Week 2. Quarterback Nick Foles has 10 turnovers (seven interceptions, three fumbles). LeSean McCoy (Sunday notwithstanding) has come nowhere close to matching last year’s production. And while the defense looks improved, it’s still an inconsistent unit.

Yet here the Eagles are at the bye tied for the best record in the NFL at 5-1. Read more »

Sproles Has MCL Sprain

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA Today

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA Today

The Eagles will not be without Darren Sproles for long.

“He’s got an MCL sprain,” said Chip Kelly. “We’ll see how long it’s going to be. Could be a week or two. Could be back after…we have a week off, so he’ll get treatment and we’ll assess him when we get back next Tuesday.” Read more »

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