Doug Pederson still expects 4 injured defensive starters to be ready for opener

Ed Kracz

Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox has been a bit of a phantom this summer.

There were days early in training camp when he was on the field, but, lately, and often, he hasn’t even bothered to hit the field. Presumably he is rehabbing somewhere inside the team’s training facility.

It’s been different for some of the other injured Eagles.

Cornerback Ronald Darby looks like he is on track to play, but said he wants to lose the knee brace protecting the offseason surgery he had to repair an ACL tear before playing in a game.

VIDEO: Doug Pederson talks about Fletcher Cox

Linebacker Nigel Bradham and defensive end Derek Barnett have also participated in some practices during camp and recently. So they could be ready week one.

Cox is the bigger question mark. He was spotted in the locker room on Tuesday and asked if he had a minute to talk. He said he would see everybody next week.

No telling what that means. No telling if he will practice, either, as he continues to rehab from offseason foot surgery and be ready to play in the regular-season opener against the Washington Redskins.

Cox said previously this summer that he only needs a week to be ready. Well, he is down to that week now.

Prior to Tuesday’s practice, head coach Doug Pederson reiterated his theme that he believes everyone will be ready to play against the Redskins.

“I fully expect these guys to be ready for week one,” said Pederson. “They are getting themselves prepared for week one, so that's reasonable. He has been working. He's still getting his workouts in and, he's been going through all our walk-throughs and getting the mental side of it and so it leads me to believe that he'll be ready.

“Fletcher is a guy that knows how to prepare and knows how to get himself ready, and I would have no concern if that was the case.”

The coach added that there are contingency plans in place should one or two or none of his four expected starters are ready to go for the opener or beyond.

“Yeah, that’s something we’ve discussed,” said Pederson. “Those are things you plan for. You’ve got to plan for all of that and we had great experience at that last year with the amount of injuries. Some of these guys you mentioned have been practicing with us and they have been looking good in practice. Some even got in the game last week. And so again, it's reasonable that everybody will be ready next week.”

Moves keep coming

General manager Howie Roseman and his staff stayed busy since the start of training camp. On Tuesday, they added two players and released two others to make room for them.

The first move of the day saw them waive linebacker Asantay Brown, who was added on Aug. 4, and signed linebacker Hayes Pullard. The second move saw the end of Tre Sullivan’s time in Philly when he was released for safety Jason Thompson.

Sullivan played in 12 games with the Eagles last year, getting 21 percent of the season’s reps.

Thompson is the third safety Roseman has brought in Aug. 2 when he added Johnathan Cyprien. Last Thursday, Roseman traded with the Cardinals, adding Rudy Ford in exchange for defensive tackle Bruce Hector. Then came Thompson.

Roseman has now brought in 16 players since the start of camp.

Pederson sees the rampant shuffling as an advatange.

“Even though you have to let some of those guys go to bring these 15 or so in, we have history on the guys we had to let go, so if there is an injury or something down the road during the season, we know about these guys; they are familiar with us,” said the coach. And kind of on the same note is these new guys that come in, we get another evaluation on them, and probably for the same reasons, if there is something that happens during the regular season, these guys can be called upon to come in. They know your team. They know your - kind of your structure and it makes an easier fit.”

McCown may sit

Pederson made it sound like backup quarterback Josh McCown won’t get a chance to play against the team he toiled with a season ago, the New York Jets, in the preseason finale on Thursday.

“Obviously you would love to see more,” said Pederson. “We are down to the wire right here and we are still evaluating every position. And so it's hard. There's a fine line there. But obviously what he did last week was good, and probably good enough, so we'll see.”

McCown said he is fine with whatever the coach decides, even though he was just signed less than two weeks ago.

“The work’s been good in practice and last week was good work for me. I understand kind of how things go, and evaluations have to be made, so whatever coach Pederson decides, I’m behind. I’ll be ready to go if he wants me to play and if I’m out, I’m out, I’ll be fine either way.”

The high school team McCown was coaching, which includes his two sons, back in Charlotte, N.C., won their opener 42-0 on Monday night.

“We got rained out Friday night,” said McCown. “Had a good game. Guys played hard.”