PHILADELPHIA – A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Philadelphia Eagles training camp:
Jeremy Maclin got up slowly after catching a pass against cornerback Cary Williams. Maclin limped off the field and, except for one play in a later drill, did not return to Monday’s practice. A year after he tore his ACL in a camp practice, it’s natural to watch Maclin closely when he’s slow to get up. “I try not to think about it when he goes down,” quarterback Nick Foles said. “I trust Mac to get up. He’s a tough guy.” Maclin said he expected to be back on the field for Tuesday’s practice.
With Maclin and Riley Cooper (foot) sidelined, the first-team wide receiver group can force even observant fans to consult their rosters. Foles was throwing to Ifeanyi Momah and B.J. Cunningham at times. Brad Smith is still in the slot. ”It’s fun for me,” Foles said. “There are situations throughout a season where this could happen. Guys could go down, guys could be nicked up for games where you’re not going to have your No. 1 or No. 2 receiver. Building the chemistry now in this situation is huge for me. I need to develop that chemistry just in case that does happen.”
Foles has not had many opportunities to throw to rookie Jordan Matthews, the second-round pick from Vanderbilt. That’s because coach Chip Kelly wants to keep Matthews with the second team, in order to help him with the sizable task of learning Kelly’s offense and the play calls. In time, Matthews will get a chance to work with Foles, but not yet. “He’s doing a great job,” Foles said. “We’ll see what happens. We’ll see if they mix it up. Our receivers will keep mixing it up and I’ll be going with everybody.”
Matthews made a nice play, fighting for a ball despite tight coverage from safety Malcolm Jenkins. Matthews tore the ball from Jenkins’ grasp, earning a cheer from the fans watching practice. Foles struggled a bit in the final full-team session. He was sacked on first down and flushed from the pocket and forced to run on third down. Mark Sanchez moved the ball in the red zone drill, but was unable to punch it in. His final try was a throw to tight end Zach Ertz. Ertz caught the ball, but he was well out of bounds when he did.
The Eagles practice Tuesday at the NovaCare Complex. The team’s focus is on preparing for Friday night’s game in Chicago in similar fashion to their prep for a regular-season game. That means three days of practice, a light walk-through and travel to Chicago on Thursday, then the game. Injured players who did not practice Monday: cornerback Nolan Carroll, wide receivers Riley Cooper and Jeff Maehl, running back Chris Polk and backup center Julian Vandervelde. It is unlikely that any of them, except possibly Carroll, will play against the Bears.