Marcus Smith Suffers Concussion, Ertz Frustrated

Zach Ertz says the Eagles need to address how some players are hitting during team periods.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Marcus Smith suffered a concussion during practice on Friday, the Eagles announced. Jordan Matthews suffered a left knee sprain, but Doug Pederson told SiriusXM that Matthews will just be sore for a few days. Mike Martin (left knee sprain) also left practice early, while Nolan Carroll (ankle) was given the day off.

Zach Ertz, who was also evaluated for a head injury, was cleared, but he said he was “not happy” with how some of his teammates have approached the hitting periods. Ertz was hit low by Blake Countess today and by Rodney McLeod two days ago, while Matthews was hit low by Jalen Mills when he suffered his injury.

“Guys gotta be pros. Rookies coming in, they don’t know what the atmosphere is like, the respect that’s given in practice,” Ertz said. “I think it needs to be addressed, but it is what it is. It’s live football, so that situation is in the game. We got to get ready for it. Obviously, Jordan and I getting hurt today, you don’t want to see that.”

Pederson, however, didn’t seem fazed by the injuries today.

“I just know this: football is a contact sport. This is gonna happen. And whether it happens today or it happens Thursday night, it’s part of the game,” Pederson said. “I’m a big believer in you never shy away from contact. You got to have contact. Again, it’s a contact sport. You just keep training the guys. You keep talking to them about protection.

“We’re in a live situation, too, so I understand the competitiveness of the drill. But I’ve tried to get the message across, too, sometimes. Just protect each other. Try not to go low if you can’t. It’s reactionary stuff. You can’t fault the players for trying to make plays.”

After missing the first week of training camp, both Ryan Mathews and Brandon Brooks returned to practice today. While Mathews left the field early, Pederson was unaware of any issues with the running back. Brooks, meanwhile, was fully cleared, but he only participated in individual drills and group installation.

He said he hurt his hamstring while running to get in shape for the conditioning test, before adding that it was “very frustrating” to miss seven practices.

“It feels good to get back out here. You never want to not be out here with your teammates when they’re grinding,” Brooks said. “The biggest thing is when you’re sitting in there watching guys out here practicing and you’re riding the bike or running on the treadmill wishing you were out there. But at the same time, it makes you more hungry when you come out.”

Brooks stayed after practice for about 20 minutes to work with offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, assistant offensive line coach Eugene Chung and several rookies. He didn’t seem worried about how the offensive line’s chemistry is coming along, mostly because of their time together during OTAs and minicamp.

“From a mental standpoint, I know what I’m doing,” Brooks said. “It’s not a big deal. It’s just conditioning yourself for hitting people every day. Luckily for me, I’m not necessarily a young guy, I’m more of a middle of the road guy, so I know what it takes.”