Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson believes he has reason to be encouraged about the team’s problem spots, like wide receiver and cornerback.
This is because some significant progress has been made by rehabbing wide receiver DeSean Jackson (abdominal injury), expected to start practicing again this week; and a boost already has provided by the recent returns of starting cornerbacks Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills from injuries.
“We can incorporate him back into practice a little bit on Wednesday, see where he’s at as the week progresses,” Pederson said.
Coupled with how well Darby and Mills played in a 31-13 win over Buffalo the day before, it has the coach feeling a lot better about the team’s immediate future than he probably was a week earlier.
“I watched that tape this morning,” he said. “It was great to have our full secondary out there, minus Cre’Von [LeBlanc]. But still, I thought Darby and Jalen both played well, played aggressive. Sidney [Jones] did some really good things in the slot, held up nice in there. The safeties played well.
“So it was good to see those guys in there. ... Having a full complement of guys now on the back end has really helped us.”
Although LeBlanc, who’s now eligible to come off injured reserve, still is not ready to practice, Avonte Maddox returned to practice Friday for the first time since his injury in a Week 4 win at Green Bay. He can and has played every position in the defensive backfield.
Pederson didn’t seem as impressed by the makeshift defensive tackle rotation they more or less were forced to assemble for the Buffalo game, but the bottom line is that despite using three players at that position who weren’t even on the roster the week before, the Eagles prevailed.
“Kind of a work in progress,” Pederson admitted. “I thought [Anthony] Rush did some good things pushing the pocket a little bit. The other guys have just got to keep working. You know, it’s hard. It’s hard when you get double-teamed and different things with the timing involved.”
Pederson also called running back Miles Sanders (shoulder) is “going to be OK” after getting all good results from tests they ran.
“We’re going to take him day by day this week and see where he is at the end of the week,” Pederson said.
Eagles trade for DE
Already overstocked at defensive end, the Eagles on Monday made a move to acquire another one, trading an undisclosed draft pick in 2021 to the Cleveland Browns for Genard Avery, a second-year player out of Memphis.
Defensive tackle Bruce Hector was released in a corresponding move.
Avery, 24, had 4½ sacks as a rookie last season, when he was a regular in their rotation and part-time starter. But he has hardly played X, making him expendable.
The Eagles almost certainly will have to make more moves to balance their roster before next Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears. They already had six defensive ends on the roster before this trade.
Among them, rookie Shareef Miller has played the least. He didn’t see his first game action until Sunday in a 31-13 win at Buffalo, where he played just two special-teams snaps.
The others they’re carrying are Daeshon Hall, Josh Sweat, Vinny Curry, starters Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett and now Avery.