Good morning, Eagles fans. Early Birds will now come to you five days a week. The Monday and Friday versions will look the same as they’ve been since we launched in September, with the midweek newsletters taking on a different format. You can find out what’s happening at the NovaCare Complex, see the Inquirer/Daily News/philly.com Eagles stories you need to read, and I’ll answer a reader’s question each day.
After a day off, the Eagles will be back at work on Wednesday. Here’s what’s happening today:
- Coach Doug Pederson gave the Eagles a different schedule this week after playing on Monday night. They will not have a full practice on Wednesday. It will only be a walk-through. Pederson deserves credit for how he’s handled the team through seven weeks. He has a good feel for the locker room. As a former player, he has experience and insight for figuring out when to push the players and when to back off. They’ll be back for a full practice on Thursday.
- Carson Wentz will hold his weekly news conference. He’ll need to brainstorm different ways to explain how well he’s playing, because Wentz is earning praise from every direction. A big topic will be how he’ll handle the absence of Jason Peters at left tackle. Peters has started every game Wentz has played in his career. Halapoulivaati Vaitai will step into the starting lineup, likely at left tackle. Lane Johnson could move to left tackle, but he’s expected to stay on the right side. Either way, Wentz will need to adjust to playing without Peters.
- Look for Mychal Kendricks to draw a lot of cameras on Wednesday. Kendricks is back to being an every-down linebacker after Jordan Hicks‘ injury. He missed Monday’s win over Washington with a hamstring injury, but he was close to playing. The question will not just be whether he’s healthy enough to play, but also whether he can stay healthy. Depth is a concern at linebacker behind Kendricks and Nigel Bradham.
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— Zach Berman
What you need to know about the Eagles
- Jason Peters and Jordan Hicks are out for the year. Les Bowen tells you how the offensive line will deal with Peters’ absence. I wrote about what will happen at linebacker without Hicks.
- For more on the offensive line depth, check out David Murphy‘s column on the group.
- What did Jeff McLane learn in the Eagles’ win over Washington? (No. 6 is an important storyline — the Eagles’ run defense.)
- Paul Domowitch shares his five reasons why the Eagles won. (Look at the last one on the red zone; it’s been a big story all year.)
- Readers had plenty of questions on Tuesday in our live chat. Topics included Alshon Jeffery, Carson Wentz, Mychal Kendricks, and more.
- Remember Byron Maxwell? The former Eagles cornerback was released by Miami on Tuesday. After a disappointing season in Philadelphia, Maxwell was traded to Miami to move up in the 2016 draft — the first in a series of deals to land Wentz.
- Speaking of Wentz, if you missed Monday’s Early Birds, you can find it here. The lead topic is how the Eagles need Wentz’s magic now more than ever.
From the mailbag
Is Kendricks good enough to replace Hicks?
— Andrew (@Phi_Andrew) October 24, 2017
Good question, Andrew. I think Kendricks is talented, certainly a starting-caliber linebacker who is very good in certain areas such as blitzing. He’s a different player than Hicks, who is more of a middle linebacker and is better in coverage. Kendricks won’t need to fill in for Hicks. The Eagles will move Nigel Bradham over in the nickel, and Kendricks will get to do what he’s familiar with — playing outside linebacker. In the nickel, I think the Eagles will be fine. They’ll miss Hicks most in base defense, because Joe Walker and Najee Goode are a drop-off from Hicks.