Wake-Up Call: Polk Feeling the Heat
Chris Polk told reporters Tuesday that his hamstring is not 100 percent healed and that he doesn’t feel very confident in the leg at the moment. In the next breath, he said he would be practicing next week.
Such is the life of a player on the fringe.
Polk suffered a Grade 2 hamstring strain, or partial tear, on the second day of training camp. He heard a pop while making a hard cut and the hammy tightened up on him.
“I just felt like my world ended that day,” he said.
Polk has been unable to get back onto the practice field since. Time is running out to convince the coaching staff that he deserves to be kept on the 53-man, as the final cuts are just 10 days away. Does he feel like his status is in jeopardy?
“Yeah,” he responded after a moment of thought. “There is nothing guaranteed. I wasn’t drafted. I’m not LeSean McCoy, Nick Foles. I’m not guaranteed anything.”
Those comments came hours before the Eagles acquired Kenjon Barner from the Panthers for a conditional seventh-round pick.
The Eagles are trying to figure out how to round out their running back corps. They entered the offseason high on Polk after he averaged 8.9 yards per rushing attempt and scored three times in limited reps last year, but he’s been unable to go. Matthew Tucker and David Fluellen also missed the Patriots game, leaving Henry Josey and even Damaris Johnson to carry the load down the stretch.
“We need to see who is going to go and who is going to be able to play,” said Chip Kelly. “But we can’t evaluate anybody if they’re not going to play in games or in practice.”
Barner gives the Eagles another option at running back and potentially as a kick returner should Josh Huff (shoulder) miss extended time.
As friend of the blog Sam Lynch points out, both Polk and Barner are eligible for the new two-year practice squad spots.
The big question about Polk is durability. He has had a pair of shoulder surgeries over his young career — one in college and another this offseason. The 24-year old says he stayed in Philadelphia during the team’s downtime and trained/rehabbed every day from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., and was feeling good before the setback. He knows that some people consider him injury-prone, and is anxious to prove them wrong.
But for the moment, there is an injury — one that will keep him out of his third straight preseason game. Ready or not, he has to go out next week and make his presence felt, especially now that reinforcements have been brought in.
“Got to. Got to,” he said. “Even if I’m not [100 percent] I’m still going for it. I missed too much. Even if it’s not full speed I have to show them that, hey, I’m here. So I’m going to do it.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
Sheil with more on the Barner trade.
Prior to this move, the Eagles released linebacker Jason Phillips.
“Some days he’s great out there and there are other days he’s not so great.” Kelly downplays LeSean McCoy injury.
One head coach bristled a bit when it was suggested that he was imitating some changes Kelly brought to the NFL.
“I could go ahead and play receiver if they are going to do all that.” Reality of new rule emphasis sinking in for Eagles.
Kapadia on what life is like for Marcus Smith at the moment.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Is Alex Henery in jeopardy of losing his job? Could be.
Sounds like next 2 weeks will be crucial for Alex Henery. Eagles checking out teams with 2 kickers. Want to see improvement from distance.
— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) August 19, 2014
There are 15 teams, besides the Eagles, with 2 kickers in camps. Eagles have invested much in Henery, and do not want change for sake of it — Zach Berman (@ZBerm) August 19, 2014
Jimmy Kempski has Arrelious Benn making the team in his latest roster projection. As for Josh Huff?
The big question mark now is Huff, who has an AC sprain in his shoulder, with no timetable on a return. Huff had a nice kickoff return for a TD in the first preseason game with the help of an enormous lane to run through, but he has not looked comfortable at all at receiver throughout training camp. The injury aside, Huff may not be ready to play receiver in the NFL yet, and I’m unconvinced he should take up a roster spot solely as a kick returner. This is a situation in which the Eagles could “red shirt” Huff by placing him on IR.
As for Maehl and Benn, the big knock on Benn is that he struggles to stay healthy. He has not missed a day of camp yet, and has done a lot of little things well at receiver and on special teams. Maehl, meanwhile, has missed time and had a careless fumble against the Pats.
Down day at the NovaCare but not here. Sheil has a Brent Celek piece in the works.