The Eagles will officially be down three starters for Sunday’s game. While all three absences were expected, it doesn’t make them any less crushing.
The team announced on Saturday that two offensive starters (Nelson Agholor, Jordan Howard) and one defensive starter (Derek Barnett) would miss the game versus Washington.
Agholor is working his way back from a knee injury sustained in Week 6, while Howard suffered a shoulder “stinger” in Week 9. Neither player had been cleared for contact and both missed practices this week. Meanwhile, Barnett is dealing with an ankle injury incurred two weeks ago in Miami.
Agholor is in a “stalemate” and no one knows when he might return. Howard has been reportedly targeting a return next week against Dallas. Barnett is the biggest loss of the bunch as he ranks second on the team in sacks with 4.5.
His absence should open up increased snaps for Vinny Curry and Josh Sweat. The duo has been feasting in recent weeks, including two from Sweat and three from Curry. They have seven combined sacks for the season.
If Darby can’t suit up, then Avonte Maddox would likely draw the start on the outside opposite Jalen Mills. Right tackle Lane Johnson remains out.
Doug Pederson Impressed with Robert Davis
The most interesting move of the week was the addition of Robert Davis. The former Redskins receiver is expected to have a significant role versus his old team after being called up from the practice squad.
On Thursday, Davis was seen running sharp routes and catching crisp passes from Carson Wentz on the practice field. The Eagles will look for him to develop instant chemistry with the quarterback. There isn’t any time for more reps. This is a crash course, one that Davis has been acing so far.
“What I’ve seen is I’ve seen a bigger, physical guy, a really good route runner. He’s smart. He’s played in games,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “He’s a guy that just understands his role, what we’re asking him to do, and the positions we’re putting him in.”
How much will Davis play? Pederson wouldn’t give a snap count. He never does. But the coach indicated he would be thrown into the fire. That’s true for all three of their young wide receivers: Davis, Greg Ward, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside.
“We have to be smart with that, with having three young players in there, but at the same time, we’re not going to hold back and handcuff any of them,” Pederson said.
The Eagles will also have another practice-squad member, tight end Joshua Perkins, at their disposal in the passing game.
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