Eagles Lose 2 Stud Defensive Starters to Significant Injuries

Javon Hargrave

Getty Javon Hargrave, shown here taking down Tom Brady, will reportedly join the Eagles in 2020.

Two defensive starters are down after Javon Hargrave and Derek Barnett surprisingly popped up on the Eagles’ first injury report.

Hargrave, the prized free-agent nose tackle, was listed out “multiple weeks” with an upper-body injury while Barnett — the tough guy defensive end — was deemed “week-to-week” with a lower-body ailment. It certainly sent off a few alarms mere minutes into the team’s first “live” padded practice but don’t read too much into these early injury reports. The Eagles are taking an extra cautious approach to how they deal with injuries this year. Neither player is in danger of missing the start of the regular season on Sept. 13 in Washington.

Five total players sat out the team’s first padded practice in South Philly, including Hargrave (upper body), Barnett (lower body), along with receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (lower body), right guard Jason Peters (lower body) and linebacker Duke Riley (illness). Arcega-Whiteside, Peters and Riley are all considered day-to-day. The Eagles also waived quarterback Kyle Lauletta earlier in the day and added receiver Marcus Green to the roster.

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Doug Pederson Explains Cautious Approach

On Monday, Doug Pederson explained the careful way he would be handling injuries and splitting up reps at camp, including managing the “fine line” between resting and playing his starters. The Eagles are slowly ramping their way up in the absence of preseason games.

“Today is the first day in pads and these guys haven’t been in pads since our playoff game in January so we want to do our due diligence and I want to do my due diligence to the players, to make sure we’re ramping up correctly, and yet still put the pads on and get used to them over the next few days,” Pederson told reporters on Monday. “Again, there’s a fine line with the amount of reps our starters take and get, compared to some of these guys that are backups or situational role players for us, that we need to get evaluations on.”

The head coach specifically addressed how that cautious approach may affect Jason Peters, the veteran left tackle who is transitioning to right guard.

“Jason being where he is in his career, and obviously the age thing, we’re still going to manage him,” Pederson told reporters. “We’re still going to take care of these guys. Listen, we can’t just give everybody, our starters, 100-percent of the reps. It’s unfathomable to do that. So we have a plan for these guys. Jason’s part of that plan and we’re going to make sure he’s ready to go in a couple of weeks.”

Excited About T.J. Edwards & Linebackers Group

One of the position groups Pederson hyped up more than the others was the linebackers. When asked to pick out some young players to watch at camp, the head coach was quick to name T.J. Edwards and Duke Riley. The two young linebackers earned a chance at increased snaps thanks to their strong play on special teams in 2019. They’ll be counted on heavily to zap energy into an inexperienced unit.

“When you get to that next level of guys, I’ve been real impressed with our linebacking group, even T.J. Edwards, a guy who came in last year and played some games for us,” Pederson said. “And a guy like Duke Riley … these are special teams players but now they’re situational, in the mix to play a lot on defense and been real impressed with those guys.”

Pederson also called out Jalen Mills and Sidney Jones, two guys that need to seize the opportunities in front of them. Mills, of course, will be transitioning from cornerback to safety. And Jones — the former second-round pick — will be competing for a starting cornerback spot opposite Darius Slay.

“I think about how Jalen Mills, for instance, and how he’s embraced that opportunity and I think about Sidney Jones,” Pederson said when asked to name some young players to watch. “It’s time now for these guys to really make their mark on their careers in the National Football League.”

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