Eagles Rumors

Carson Wentz Cleared For 11-On-11 Drills

As Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz continues his rehabilitation from a torn ACL, he’s been medically cleared to participate in 11-on-11 drills, per Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

The news isn’t a complete surprise, as Wentz had been expected to be cleared at some point over the next week. But the revelation is undoubtedly a positive, especially given that Eagles head coach Doug Pederson recently said Wentz would need to participate in at least a week’s worth of 11-on-11 work in order to suit up for Week 1. However, as Wentz said earlier this week, there is no guarantee he’ll be ready for Philadelphia’s season opener.

“I obviously would love to be out there,” Wentz said. “That’s been my goal all offseason ever since the injury. It’s going to be close. It’s going to be close. I’m still eyeing that date. At the end of the day, it’s not just my decision. There’s coaches and doctors that really have the final say. I really like where I’m at and time will tell here.”

Wentz has yet to be cleared for contact, the next step in his recovery, but the Eagles have options at the ready if he’s not available for Week 1. Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles is dealing with a shoulder injury but isn’t expected to miss extended time, and he’d fill in if Wentz misses any regular season action. Philadelphia also has Nate Sudfeld, Joe Callahan, and Christian Hackbenerg on its roster.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/18/18

Today’s minor moves:

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Signed: LB Kyle Coleman

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Signed: WR Darius Prince
  • Waived: DT Adam Reth

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Redskins

Extra Points: Bengals, Lewis, Eagles, Foles, Chiefs, AAF

The Bengals are counting on some new coaching roles making a major difference this season. Marvin Lewis survived another year on the hot seat but knew he would need to rearrange his staff after another disappointing season. Teryl Austin will succeed now-Raiders DC Paul Guenther in running Cincinnati’s defense, and Lewis made Bill Lazor the full-time OC. The team jettisoned longtime offensive line coach Paul Alexander as well, with other new staffers coming in to help a team that’s fallen in the AFC hierarchy the past two years.

I made up my mind I wanted to coach,” Lewis said, via Jonathan Jones of SI.com. “So, do I want to go start over somewhere where I don’t know the people or coach these group of guys downstairs that no one else has? That’s an easy decision. You look at what’s open and these are the best players. And that’s what you want.

I knew we were going to have a lot of change on the coaching staff. I knew I had to make changes and those are the things that (owner) Mike (Brown) and I had to discuss. I had to make changes on people that had been with me for a long time and had been friends, and it’s difficult.”

Lewis added that he didn’t want to make wholesale roster changes, pointing out the number of Pro Bowlers still on the team, but the Bengals aren’t receiving much attention as a contender this season. They’re hoping these staff moves can re-route them back to the AFC playoffs.

Here’s the latest from the football landscape:

  • The Eagles received a scare Thursday night when Super Bowl MVP and temporary starting quarterback Nick Foles went down with a shoulder injury. The shoulder sprain Foles suffered is believed to be a minor malady and not one that will require a significant rehab effort, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports. It’s looking like it will come down to the wire on whom the defending Super Bowl champions will start at quarterback on opening night, with Carson Wentz unlikely to play in the preseason. The Eagles not having Foles would throw a major wrench in their plans, despite third-stringer Nate Sudfeld having a nice offseason.
  • Steven Nelson will be a full-time outside cornerback this season, Lynn Worthy of the Kansas City Star notes. This change emerged in the offseason, one that featured breakout slot man Kendall Fuller’s arrival, but the Chiefs are evidently committed to trying Nelson – their most frequent slot corner over the past two seasons – as an outside man. The 2015 third-round pick is entering a contract year. While Kansas City has looked at other corners this month – Bashaud Breeland and Orlando Scandrick – the trio of Fuller, Nelson and David Amerson remains atop the depth chart. Nelson did leave the Chiefs’ game Friday night with a head injury, however.
  • Former Jets second-round pick Stephen Hill and ex-Titans backup quarterback Zach Mettenberger are two of the notable new names signed on to play for the Alliance of American Football. The AAF announced 100 more players will join. Ex-Rams running back Daryl Richardson, former Saints and Jets ball carrier Khiry Robinson, linebacker Deontae Skinner and running back Storm Johnson are among the new contingent. Former Giants and Ravens safety Will Hill and veteran kicker Nick Novak, who was with the Chargers last season, were among the first wave to sign.

Brent Celek Leaning Towards Retirement

Eagles free agent tight end Brent Celek tells 97.5 The Fanatic that he’s leaning towards retirement (audio link). Celek didn’t quite say that it’s Eagles-or-bust if he were to play, but it was heavily suggested. 

I think I’m leaning more toward retirement,” Celek said. “I’ve had a few offers, but none of them are worth leaving a city that I have been in for eleven years where I won the Super Bowl in my final year. It wouldn’t feel right to put another uniform on.

Celek was overshadowed a bit in Philadelphia last year with Zach Ertz and Trey Burton ahead of him on the depth chart, but he appeared in all 16 games for the Eagles. He has been remarkably durable over the course of his career, missing just one game since entering the league in 2007.

Once upon a time, Celek was a major part of the Eagles’ passing attack. He nearly hit 1,000 receiving yards in 2009 and he averaged 59 catches for 744 yards and 4+ TDs between 2009 and 2012. In recent years, he’s been used more for blocking purposes. He has just 27 grabs for 285 yards over the last two seasons. In theory, the Eagles could circle back to him now that Burton is out of the picture, but they could just as easily forge ahead with their current group, which includes second-round pick Dallas Goedert and free agent pickup Richard Rodgers.

If Celek does return, it sounds like it will be with the Eagles. But, no matter what, he says there’s one team he’d never play for.

Hell no,” Celek said when asked about the possibility of heading to Dallas. “Do you think I would play for the Cowboys? Philly is my home. If they offered me 10MM, I still wouldn’t go.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles' Nick Foles Injures Shoulder

  • No reason to panic just yet, but the Eagles announced that quarterback Nick Foles suffered a shoulder strain in Thursday night’s preseason contest. Foles personally says that he’s not overly concerned about the injury, but he also speculate on his status for Week 1. If Foles needs time to recover, that could put the Eagles in a bad spot since Carson Wentz‘s status for the opener is also up in the air.

Carson Wentz On Week 1: “It’s Going To Be Close”

Carson Wentz is already likely to sit out the entirety of the preseason as he recovers from a December ACL injury, but the Eagles quarterback today admitted that he may not be ready for Week 1 of the regular season, either.

[RELATED: Alshon Jeffery To Miss Games?]

“I obviously would love to be out there,” Wentz said, per Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia. “That’s been my goal all offseason ever since the injury. It’s going to be close. It’s going to be close. I’m still eyeing that date. At the end of the day, it’s not just my decision. There’s coaches and doctors that really have the final say. I really like where I’m at and time will tell here.”

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson would prefer Wentz handles a week of 11-on-11 work before playing in a regular season game, tweets Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Wentz, for his part, told reporters he expects to be cleared for 11-on-11 sessions next week, although that won’t entail him being cleared for contact, according to Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link).

Heading into Week 1 without Wentz, who was playing at an MVP-caliber level in 2017 before injuring his knee, clearly isn’t preferable, but the Eagles do have Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles in tow as a more-than-capable reserve. Other quarterbacks on Philadelphia’s roster include Nate SudfeldJoe Callahan and the recently-signed Christian Hackenberg.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Opinion: Dolphins Should Trade For Eagles' Darby

  • The Dolphins are in search of cornerback help and Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com suggests Ronald Darby of the Eagles as a possible solution for Miami. Darby has lots of potential, but he’s set to be a free agent after the season and the Eagles’ have yet to sign him, so he might not be in Philly’s long-term plans. If the Eagles were to trade Darby, the could play Sidney Jones at outside cornerback rather than nickel cornerback. Then, to fill the hole at nickel, the Eagles could give more time to the likes of Avonte Maddox and De’Vante Bausby. The Eagles wouldn’t be as strong at cornerback without Darby, but this could be an opportunity for the Eagles to get something of value for him instead of letting him walk next year.

Eagles’ Alshon Jeffery To Miss Games?

Alshon Jeffery may need more time to recover than initially expected. Jeffery is progressing according to plan, but the timing of his rotator cuff surgery means there’s a chance that he might not be ready to go in Week 1, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets

[RELATED: Carson Wentz Unlikely To Play In Preseason]

Jeffery is currently on the offseason PUP list, which has no real bearing on his roster status for the regular season. However, if Jeffery remains on PUP when the season starts, he’ll be forced to miss at least the first six weeks of the season. That would be a major blow to the Eagles, particularly when considering that quarterback Carson Wentz is not a lock to play in the opener either.

Despite playing through the rotator cuff injury, Jeffery caught 57 passes for 789 yards and nine touchdowns last season. He went on to add three more TDs in the playoffs, which came shortly after he signed a substantial four-year extension with the Eagles.

The Eagles have depth at the wide receiver position, but none of the other receivers have the same big-play ability as Jeffery. If Jeffery misses time, Nelson Agholor and Mike Wallace figure to see extra targets while Mack Hollins and Markus Wheaton may get more involved than previously expected. Recent addition Kamar Aiken, meanwhile, would have improved odds of making the 53-man cut.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Notes: Hackenberg, Bradham, Aiken