Eagles Injury Updates: Rookie WR ‘Feeling Good’ & 3 Key Starters in ‘Same Bucket’

Getty Miles Sanders of the Philadelphia Eagles

Doug Pederson loves to downplay the significance of injuries. Never confuse coyness for optimism.

The Eagles had seven players listed on Thursday’s injury report: WR Alshon Jeffery (foot), DT Javon Hargrave (pectoral strain), DE Derek Barnett (hamstring), RB Miles Sanders (hamstring), RB Corey Clement (quadriceps), WR Jalen Reagor (shoulder), Lane Johnson (ankle). Jeffery and Hargrave are out for Week 1 after not practicing all week, but the remaining guys were all “limited” participants. On Friday, the head coach shed some light on each one’s status for Sunday.

Let’s start with the first-round draft pick who originally wasn’t supposed to make his NFL debut until Week 2. His recovery from a torn labrum is way ahead of schedule after being upgraded from doubtful to questionable. Now it’s looking more and more likely he’ll be out there against the Washington Football Team. The next 48 hours are crucial.

“Jalen is doing really, really well,” Pederson told reporters on Friday. “We’ve taken it day-by-day with him, we’ve kind of increased him this week. We want to see where he’s at. You guys know we’re not going to put anybody out there that’s not 100 percent or better and he’s feeling good. He’s felt good, so we’ll see where he’s at in the next 48 hours.”

Reagor was the standout star at training camp where he flashed natural chemistry with Carson Wentz. The speedster from TCU also carved out a promising niche as the team’s primary punt returner. His availability for Week 1 would be a huge boon to both the offense and special teams.

“Jalen has done a great job for us. Really excited about him,” special teams coordinator Dave Fipp said. “His college film and his track record, what he’s done in his career so far, we’re obviously excited about him.”

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3 Key Starters in ‘Same Bucket’ as Day-to-Day

Pederson declared Sanders, Johnson and Barnett all in the “same bucket” and listed them “day-to-day.” Those three guys are important starters, especially Sanders who is expected to see an increased workload as the bell-cow with Jordan Howard jettisoned to Miami. The second-year player has been dealing with a hamstring issue since Aug. 19 and there is some concern his touches may be down in Week 1.

“I think it goes back to even last year when he missed some time and we managed him to get him ready to play,” Pederson said on Wednesday. “I do think that is a possibility. We’ll get him through this week, see how he does and see where he’s at on Sunday.”

Meanwhile, Johnson is the team’s starting right tackle — the best tackle in football, according to Jason Kelce — and his loss would be catastrophic to the offensive line. Johnson reportedly had “clean up” surgery on his ankle in August, per ESPN’s Tim McManus. If he cannot play on Sunday, then second-year guard Nate Herbig or rookie Jack Driscoll would slide over to right tackle. Not an ideal scenario.

Barnett’s absence had been rumored for weeks so the Eagles should be prepared. Look for a tighter defensive end rotation, including Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat, Vinny Curry, Genard Avery, and maybe rookie Casey Toohill.

Eagles May Bring RB Up from Practice Squad

Clement is listed as the third running back on the depth chart behind Sanders and Boston Scott. The Super Bowl hero had been in line for a bigger workload in 2020 after enjoying his best (read: healthiest) camp since 2017. Then, he randomly popped up on Thursday’s injury report with a quadriceps ailment. Interesting.

The Eagles’ lack of depth at the position could be problematic. Pederson admitted that the team may have to bring a rusher up from the practice squad, either Elijah Holyfield, Adrian Killins, or Michael Warren. The smart money would be on Holyfield due to his veteran experience from playing in Pederson’s system in 2019.

However, the Eagles seem infatuated with newcomer Jason Huntley and his ability to return kicks makes him an intriguing dual-threat candidate. Plus, Huntley is already on the active roster.

“We’ll be able to bring someone up in a moment’s notice,” Pederson told reporters on Friday. “What I appreciate about our players is they take responsibility, they take ownership when they feel something, they say something and we can get them treated.”

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