Two Eagles players were considered questionable for today’s game. Neither one will suit up against New York.
Starting right tackle Lane Johnson and starting cornerback Jalen Mills were both ruled out for the season-deciding matchup. The Eagles can punch their playoff ticket with a victory over the Giants. They’ll have to get it done without two of their key starters on offense and defense.
Johnson continues to suffer from a high-ankle sprain incurred three weeks ago. Mills is also dealing with an ankle issue after being carted off the field last week. Neither one practiced in full this week.
Avonte Maddox was out on the field in Mills’ absence for pre-game warmups as the starter opposite Rasul Douglas. Remember, Douglas was taking the spot vacated by Ronald Darby. Halapoulivaati Vaitai will take over for Johnson for the third straight week. There should be ample opportunities for third-year cornerback Sidney Jones to see the field, too.
The Eagles will be missing two other weapons on offense as starting tight end Zach Ertz is officially out, as well as starting receiver Nelson Agholor. Ertz went down with sore ribs and back (and apparently a lacerated kidney), while Agholor battles through a sore knee issue dating back to October. Second-year tight end Dallas Goedert replaces Ertz and former practice-squad member Greg Ward subs in for Agholor as the slot receiver.
“I think, yeah, you have to be smart with that. Listen, from the human side of me, I don’t want to put anybody out there and risk anything further for their own health,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said earlier this week about rushing guys back from injury. “From the coach side of it it’s like, man, we need everybody, right? We need as many people as we can in these types of games. But, yeah, I’m not going to risk a player further injury just for a game.”
Quarterback Nate Sudfeld, defensive end Shareef Miller and guard Sua Opeta rounded out the complete list of inactives for the Eagles. Josh McCown is officially the backup quarterback.
Eagles Looking to Use the Screen Game
The Eagles have been expertly using the screen game during their three-game winning streak. They have been able to set-up short passes for huge gains, largely thanks to the uber-athleticism of backs Miles Sanders and Boston Scott.
The simple concept has been a staple of Doug Pederson’s offense since he arrived in Philadelphia in 2016. And it’s an explosive element he borrowed from Andy Reid’s playbook. The former Eagles coach has long been one of the best and most creative innovators of the screen game.
“Screens are an extension of your run game, and really, I think screens sort of evolve during the course of the year,” Pederson told reporters earlier this week. “You go into each offseason and each training camp with seven, eight, ten screens you work on, right, from a conceptual standpoint.”
“But as your season progresses you try to find unique and creative ways,” Pederson added. “You study your opponents, other teams, the colleges and how teams are using receiver screens, tight-end screens, halfback, running back type screens, and you just try to incorporate all that into your offense and how is that presented to the opponent.”
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