Concerns about McCoy's toe "overblown," Kelly says

DAVID M. WARREN / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Nick Foles fakes a handoff to LeSean McCoy, who practiced yesterday as he healsfrom turf toe.
DAVID M. WARREN / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Nick Foles fakes a handoff to LeSean McCoy, who practiced yesterday as he healsfrom turf toe.
Posted: August 21, 2014

Chip Kelly joked that he does not think LeSean McCoy will "ever play again."

The Eagles coach took a sarcastic approach Tuesday to the attention devoted to McCoy's left big toe, which kept the running back out of practice on Sunday. McCoy said his toe was sore and compared it to a less severe form of turf toe.

Kelly's nothing-to-see-here approach is not atypical regarding player injuries, but he's quickly learning that an injured toe for an Eagles Pro Bowl running back - no matter how mild - can raise the blood pressure throughout the region.

"He practiced full yesterday, and he's fine," Kelly said. "It's not as big an issue as I think anybody's made it out to be."

Kelly said the situation was "overblown" for a player missing one practice in August. McCoy said Monday that he would like to play in Thursday's preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers if healthy. He also said how much he dislikes missing practice, although Kelly made it sound as if McCoy's practice intensity can improve at times.

"It's OK," Kelly said. "Some days he's great out there and there are other days he's not so great."

Linebacker released

The Eagles released inside linebacker Jason Phillips, marking the first roster move of training camp. Phillips, 28, missed all of last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered in training camp.

Phillips was signed to a two-year, $1.46 million contract in March 2013 with the expectation that he would help on special teams.

The move allows the Eagles to take a closer look at Casey Matthews and Emmanuel Acho at inside linebacker. They also can look at outside linebacker Travis Long or Josh Kaddu at that spot.

The roster is at 89 players. It must be trimmed to 75 by Aug. 26 and to 53 by Aug. 31.

Shopping for kicker?

There are 15 teams besides the Eagles with two kickers in camp, and the team is evaluating those kickers in case it moves on from Alex Henery. Although the Eagles are encouraged by the way Henery performed in practice through training camp, he missed a 47-yard field-goal attempt against the Patriots that concerned the team.

"All options are available," special-teams coordinator Dave Fipp said. "We'll look at everybody, and we'll continue to watch Al. The biggest thing is we hope to get Al a bunch of work in these next two games, and we'll find out."

The issue with Henery is distance. Henery was 7 of 11 on kicks between 40 and 49 yards last season after going 15 of 16 from that distance in his first two years with the Eagles. Even though Henery had a good camp, Fipp said the kicker is ultimately graded by performance in games.

"It's not good enough right now," Fipp said. "He's 9 of 10 [on total kicks] but missed a 47-yarder, and that's where he struggled a year ago. We've got to get over that hump. We've got to hopefully see in the next two weeks him improve in that area."

Huff's outlook

Wide receiver Josh Huff has a sprained right shoulder but is no longer wearing a sling. Huff hopes to return in time for the opener against Jacksonville on Sept. 7, although there's no clear timetable for his return.

"I'm not down about the injury or anything, because it could be a lot worse," Huff said. "I'm thankful the injury is what it is . . . and I can get back out there."

Huff, a third-round draft pick, injured his shoulder on a kick return Friday against the Patriots.

"It's a matter of healing and getting 100 percent," Huff said. "I definitely will be back soon."

No guarantees for Polk

Running back Chris Polk missed most of training camp with a slight hamstring tear, but he plans to return to practice next week.

After the Eagles traded Bryce Brown in May, there were expectations that Polk would take a bigger role this season. The coaching staff was pleased with his development last year, but it has not been able to evaluate him this summer.

"It's a big factor," Kelly said. "You've got to be able to play. It's tough for us to say we know what you can do, but you've got to go out on the field and show it."

Matthew Tucker, David Fluellen, and Henry Josey are pushing Polk to back up McCoy and Darren Sproles. Even though he scored three touchdowns on 11 carries last season, Polk knows his spot could be vulnerable.

"I'm not LeSean McCoy or Nick Foles," Polk said. "I'm not guaranteed anything."

Extra points

Kelly has not determined how long the starters will play in Thursday's game. . . . The Eagles participated in the ALS ice bucket challenge after Tuesday's practice. Team president Don Smolenski gave a "special shout out" to former Eagles fullback Kevin Turner, who is afflicted with ALS.

zberman@phillynews.com

@ZBerm

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