Pederson: Wendell Smallwood Out With Quad Strain
After impressing coaches during OTAs, minicamp and the start of training camp, Wendell Smallwood has been slowed down as he missed practice Wednesday with a quad strain. According to Doug Pederson, Smallwood is still a few days away from returning.
With Smallwood out and Ryan Mathews yet to participate in training camp because of an ankle injury, Kenjon Barner’s workload has significantly increased.
“I thought (Barner) handled it well. His conditioning is good. It’s improving. He got a little tired toward the end of practice, but that’s just the nature of the camp practice,” Pederson said. “Overall, I thought he did a good job. This will be good film for him to watch — good practice tape for him to watch to make the necessary corrections, but he’s heading in the right direction.
“He’s an explosive guy with the ball in his hands. Pretty good out of the backfield as a receiver — that’s one area he can improve. I love the fact that anytime you put the ball in his hands, he has the ability to make some big plays for you, and he’s shown that here in camp.”
When Frank Reich addressed the media on Monday, he spoke very highly of Barner. The 26-year-old has just 34 career caries, but he has an opportunity to earn playing time this season due to the Eagles’ lack of running back depth.
“I think he is a really good, all-around back,” Reich said. “He can make you miss in the open field. I like his vision. He’s doing great in protections. I’ve been very impressed with him the whole offseason. Of course, when we got here everyone was in my ear about how good this guy is going to be a player, and that’s what we’re seeing.”
Pederson noted that the Eagles’ current running back situation is somewhat similar to the Chiefs’ last year, as backups were given more opportunities after Jamaal Charles tore his ACL. Pederson hopes his squad this year can fill a potential void equally as well.
“I’ve pulled a little bit from how we handled that situation, even in training camp when we didn’t let Jamaal take a lot of live snaps. We got our twos and threes and fourth guy a lot of time, and this is valuable time,” Pederson said. “With Ryan hopefully coming back in the next couple of days, this is a great time — with Wendell not practicing right now — for those guys to get so many reps, so many touches.”