Eagles-Browns Inactives: Starting Guard Out, Ex-Georgia RB Called Up

Nate Herbig

Getty Nate Herbig, shown here hugging Josh McCown, will be the starter at right guard for the Eagles.

The Eagles will be without guard Nate Herbig on Sunday versus Cleveland. The projected starter at right guard had been dealing with a finger injury and the team left him inactive. That means Matt Pryor will likely get the start at right guard as Isaac Seumalo resumes his starting spot at left guard.

The only other mild surprise was the decision to make running back Jason Huntley a healthy scratch. The rookie out of New Mexico State will step aside to make room for Elijah Holyfield who was elevated off the practice squad on Saturday.

Holyfield, the 215-pound bruiser from Georgia, will be making his NFL debut as the Eagles’ third running back against the Browns. Remember, Corey Clement was ruled out due to COVID-19 protocols. The depth chart reads: Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Elijah Holyfield.

Head coach Doug Pederson alluded to sticking with a running-back-by-committee approach this week. Sanders should get the most touches — he’s averaging 6.0 yards-per-carry  — but the Eagles want to rotate guys in and keep the defense guessing. Pederson remains very high on Scott as a shifty change-of-pace back.

“I still think the philosophy is running back by committee,” Pederson told reporters on Friday. “However, with Miles and what he’s been able to do, yeah, we’ve given more touches to him. We knew when we drafted Miles that he was potentially and still is a guy that could go three downs for us and be a bigger part of our offensive plans. Love Boston, love his energy, love what he’s provided for our offense. He’s a spark. Would like to find more ways of getting both of those guys on the field at the same time. I think it’s a dynamic duo with that.”

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Jalen Hurts Remains Backup Quarterback

Jalen Hurts retains his role as the backup signal-caller after the Eagles made Nate Sudfeld a healthy scratch. Hurts, the dual-threat quarterback out of Oklahoma, has been used sparingly as a decoy gadget-play specialist. Hurts has seen 30 total offensive snaps, although he was on the field for just three unproductive plays last week. He had two carries for minus-1 yard and a fumble.

Pederson hinted at expanding Hurts’ role in the offense earlier this week, maybe coming up with more creative formations for him. Hurts has been utilized primarily on zone-read plays with Carson Wentz often lined up as a receiver.

“I think early on, we’ve been very explosive with him,” Pederson said of Hurts’ play this year. “Gosh, I think we were close to 11 or 12 yards per attempt when he was in the game, something like that. I would say here recently, defenses are playing him a little bit differently. They have had chances to scout him.”

Who Fills in for Herbig at Guard?

The smart money is on Matt Pryor to take over for Herbig against the Browns. He has the most experience there, with a good amount of success. However, Pederson left the door open for Sua Opeta or Jack Driscoll to fill in if needed. The Eagles’ offensive line continues to be a work in progress in 2020.

“There are options there,” Pederson said, “but we haven’t made the final decision yet on who that backup guard will be.”

There has been absolutely no discussion about benching Jason Peters and starting Jordan Mailata at left tackle, according to Pederson. Mailata graded out very well during a five-game stint at left tackle when Peters was on IR.

“We really felt like that Jason Peters is settled in over there at left tackle,” Pederson said. “He’s done a nice job for us.”

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