Tuesday, September 23, 2014
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J. Jackson, Herremans back; Bell carted off field again

Guard Todd Herremans and center Jamaal Jackson took part in practice Sunday for the first time in training camp.

J. Jackson, Herremans back; Bell carted off field again

Todd Herremans (79) and Jamaal Jackson (67) practice blocking today in Lehigh. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)
Todd Herremans (79) and Jamaal Jackson (67) practice blocking today in Lehigh. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)

Center Jamaal Jackson and guard Todd Herremans were activated from the Physically Unable to Perform List Sunday and returned for the non-contact portion of practice.

Andy Reid was evasive, however, about when either player would make a full return from injury. The Eagles coach also would not commit to either player returning in time for the season opener, although he did say Herremans had a better shot than Jackson.

"We're just going to see. We're going to monitor them and see," Reid said.

Said Jackson: "I'm still optimistic about it. But I have to check with [surgeon] Dr. [James] Andrews and [Eagles trainer] Rick [Burkhalter] and those guys and develop a plan. We implemented some today and we'll add a little bit more tomorrow."

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Herremans was expected to return from a foot injury at any time, but Jackson's return from a December torn anterior cruciate ligament was up in the air.

Both players said they would not practice this afternoon.

Jackson said it felt good to finally get the pads back on. He hasn't done anything with the full team since he tore his ACL in the last game of the regular season. After 71 consecutive starts, Jackson missed the last game of the season and a first-round playoff game -- both blowout losses to the Cowboys. 

"It's been a grind," Jackson said. "You hate to go down with your team in prime position going to the playoffs. I still think about that last snap that I took and I still think about it every day. It's something that over time I'm going to have to forget. There's another season ahead."

Nick Cole filled in for Jackson in those last two games, but struggled, especially with the snap.

"We needed all our guys that day," Jackson said. "Unfortunately, I wasn't there. Stewart [Bradley] wasn't there. Omar [Gaither] wasn't there. A lot of cats wasn't there. It was not just me."

Cole entered training camp as the starter at center, but has since injured his knee and Mike McGlynn has stepped in. McGlynn appeared to have a solid performance in the Eagles' preseason opener against Jacksonville Friday and is still playing with the first team. Cole, however, will practice this afternoon, according to Reid. It'll be interesting to see if he's still working with the starters. Reid said he remains the top choice at center in place of Jackson.

Jackson and Herremans went through individual drills with their fellow offensive linemen. Both left practice before full team drills, along with guard Fenuki Tupou, who has an ankle injury.

Reid said that Jackson and Herremans were "feeling good." The team now wants to see how the two perform with added work loads and monitor their progress.

"We're one day into it, we're one practice into it, and it was a quarter of the practice, so we'll just see how it goes here," Reid said.

Jackson and Herremans have both been running and working out on the sidelines throughout camp, separate from the rest of the team. Herremans has not practiced since May due to a left foot injury. He missed the the first five games of last season after he had surgery on the same foot. Reid has been very cautious with his left guard.

"Missing the start of last season was tough for me," Herremans said. "But, I guess, if this is the price to be able to play all season I'll live with it."

Herremans said that he hopes to play in at least one preseason game and that he fully expects to be back by the start of the season.

"I plan to," Herremans said. "I want to get some snaps with the guys before the start of the season, just to make sure everything is good."

Mike McGlynn started Friday's preseason game against Jacksonville. He reiterated Sunday that he wants to start, regardless of who comes back to the line up.

"Everybody wants to start, that’s my goal," McGlynn said. And if Jackson and Cole return and move back ahead of him? "Will I be pissed off? Yeah, anybody would be. I want to be out there and start. I feel like it’s time for me to get up and get going."

Reid praised McGlynn's work Friday after reviewing his one quarter of play.

"I thought he played very well in both the run and the pass game," Reid said. "He needs to play more and he's got plenty of room for improvement, but for his time out that was a pretty good day."

Mike Bell, meanwhile, had to be carted off the field again. He did not re-injure his hamstring, though. Eagles coach Andy Reid said the running back suffered a calf strain. Bell looked to be practicing in all phases of practice before the injury. He was taken into the trainer's tent midway through practice and limped into a cart before being driven away visibly upset. 

Cornerback Macho Harris (hamstring), defensive tackle Antonio Dixon (concussion) and wide receiver Hank Baskett (knee) returned for morning practice.

Safety Quintin Demps, who sprained his knee in Friday's game, was not at practice. Reid said Demps has a bone contusion on his knee and "should be on the mend pretty quick." Safety Antoine Harris suffered a lisfranc foot sprain Friday and was placed on injured reserve. With Demps and Harris out, the Eagles worked out two safeties -- Jamaal Fudge, a four-year veteran who last played in Atlanta, and Terrell Skinner, an undrafted rookie out of Maryland.

Punter Ken Parrish was also released. Parrish got a chance to show his kick off ability in Friday night's preseason game against Jacksonville, but never really threatened to unseat Sav Rocca as the team's regular punter.

Bell appeared despondent when leaving the locker room. He had only recently returned from a hamstring strain and injured his right calf on a running play this morning. He had a pronounced limp. Bell has struggled with injuries throughout his career.

"You put so much into it and something happens that you can't control, you kind of lose it," Bell said.

As he spoke, one of his main competitors for carries, Eldra Buckley, emerged and sat down nearby as he waited for a ride back to the Eagles' dorms.

Bell worked to put a positive spin on his setback, saying it would be a test of his maturity, and saying he was thankful because the injury could have been worse, such as a torn Achilles tendon or knee ligament.

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Birds' Eye View is the Inquirer's blog covering all things Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL.

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