On the day Marty Mornhinweg confirmed that he expects Demetress Bell will start at left tackle again this week, and King Dunlap said he was still in the process of getting back in shape from a hamstring injury, the REAL Eagles left tackle was walking the corridors of NovaCare without a limp.
All-Pro Jason Peters tore an Achilles' tendon in March, got it repaired, then tore it againin May when the scooter-cart he was using fell apart. After the second repair, it seemed impossible that Peters would play this season. But because the injury happened in the offseason, the Eagles have not had to place Peters on IR. He is on the nonfootball injury list.
"I'm running, doing everything," Peters said, pausing briefly as he walked from the locker room to a training room. Asked if he has realistic hopes of playing this season, Peters said "yeah."
Asked about a timetable for his return, Peters said there isn't one. "I'm taking it day by day," he said.
The Eagles have never ruled out Peters playing this season, but previously they have indicated that while they want to keep the chance alive, it is a longshot. Thursday, however, a source close to the situation said the team sees a realistic chance, though the source emphasized Peters still had a lot of recovering to do, and won't be playing in a game anytime soon.
Peters can be activated anytime between Week 6 and Week 9, and then would have three weeks of practice before the Eagles would either have to put him on the 53-man roster or IR him. We are in Week 5. From what the source said, it would seem the Birds are looking at the very outer edge of that timeline, and maybe even at carrying Peters on the 53 for a few weeks before he's really ready to contribute.
There is a new rule that allows a team to recall one player from IR, but players who came into training camp injured, as Bell did, are not eligible.
Dunlap, meanwhile, said he was not surprised to hear the offensive coordinator had said he expects Bell will start. "I've got to get healthy, get back in shape," Dunlap said when asked if he expects to start again.
The Eagles signed Bell as Peters' replacement, but he lost his job to Dunlap in the preseason. Bell struggled with offensive line coach Howard Mudd's unusual, aggressive blocking technique. Bell's first outing for Dunlap, at Arizona, didn't go well, but he was much better last week against the Giants, particularly in second-half run blocking.
Dunlap took some snaps at right guard Wednesday, with starter Danny Watkins sitting out because of a chest bruise. Mornhinweg and Watkins said Watkins is fine and will practice today.
Special teams coordinator Bobby April said the kickoff coverage that yielded an average of 36.2 yards on six kickoffs against the Giants was "very poor. It looked poorly conceived, poorly coached and poorly executed. I'm responsible for all of those. I have to draw on all the resources that I have as a coach and put them into play, and then resurrect us from these ashes ... I misjudged some things, and need to do a better job of preparing the guys to whup a guy when the bell rings."