Miles Sanders won’t be making the trip from Philadelphia to Washington. Neither will Derek Barnett.
Both starters were ruled out for the Eagles’ season opener, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Sanders has been dealing with a hamstring issue since Aug. 19. Ditto for Barnett. The team had been downplaying the severity of each player’s injury since training camp started. Huge losses on both side of the ball.
“Listen, it’s something that what I appreciate about our players is they take responsibility,” head coach Doug Pederson said of injuries. “They take ownership when they feel something, they say something, and we can get them treated.”
Right tackle Lane Johnson (ankle) remains questionable. Receiver Alshon Jeffery (foot) and defensive tackle Javon Hargrave (pectoral strain) have been ruled out.
With Sanders out, the Eagles will have to turn to Boston Scott and Corey Clement to carry the load. Maybe there’s an increased role for newcomer Jason Huntley. Philly will likely activate one of their practice-squad backs, too. Rookies Adrian Killins and Michael Warren, along with veteran Elijah Holyfield, are potential options for Pederson.
“You practice guys like Warren and Elijah Holyfield and Adrian Killins,” the head coach said. “You practice all your guys so if something comes up, you have the ability to bring somebody up at a moment’s notice.”
Eagles ‘Holding’ Barnett Back
When asked about the status of Barnett on Friday, Pederson downplayed the severity of his injury. The head coach indicated that the team was merely being extra cautious with their starting pass rusher. Maybe not.
“What is holding him back is us. We’re making sure that he’s 100 percent. He’s feeling good,” Pederson told reporters. “He’s still day-to-day. I would put him in the same bucket as Miles and Lane with an opportunity. So we’ll see here in the next couple of days how he feels. Today is a big day for all these guys, as you guys know on Friday, to get out there and practice and we’ll find out more as we get closer to Sunday.”
Fast forward one day and Barnett has been ruled out. Neither he nor Sanders will be making the trip to Washington for the season opener. Vinny Curry and Josh Sweat will get those extra reps at defensive end.
Make no mistake, the Eagles love Barnett. He’s not losing his spot in the pass-rushing rotation. Ever.
“I’m still very bullish on Derek. I think he’s going to play a big part in what we do,” defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. “He’s tough. He can rush the passer. He plays with great effort. Not the biggest guy but he’s strong at the point of attack, and run game. I think he fits our system.”