Let’s start with the good news: DeSean Jackson is set to make his first start since Sept. 27. The Eagles starting receiver has been out with a hamstring injury and had been struggling to see snaps even when healthy. Jackson has 10 catches for 121 yards through three games this season. He’ll most likely start opposite breakout star Travis Fulgham.
Meanwhile, Alshon Jeffery (foot) will miss another week as the veteran receiver continues to battle back from Lisfranc surgery. The Eagles chose to keep Jeffery off the PUP list to start the year because they thought he’d be ready prior to Week 6. Obviously, those plans haven’t worked out. Now the 30-year-old is taking up a roster spot that the team could have used on another player, perhaps a camp casualty like Rasul Douglas or Sidney Jones. Too late.
“DeSean is closer, had a really good week of practice,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “I anticipate him. I anticipate Lane as well. Both had a really good week.”
Pederson also revealed starting right tackle Lane Johnson (ankle) will play on Thursday night against the Giants. The All-Pro has been dealing with complications from tightrope surgery and left the past two games early after re-aggravating his injured left ankle. The head coach couldn’t guarantee Johnson would be 100% — that’s up to how Johnson’s ankle responds — but expressed confidence in him finishing the game.
“As far as Lane goes, I do feel comfortable,” Pederson said. “Obviously with him missing last week and this being a short week getting him the rest, I do feel comfortable and confident.”
The team is staying tight-lipped about their starters at right guard and left guard, with Pederson adding he wanted to “keep that close to the vest.” Matt Pryor wasn’t listed on the injury report so the likely scenario would put him back at right guard and Nate Herbig at left guard. Stay tuned.
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Eagles Expect CB Avonte Maddox, LB Duke Riley to Play
The Eagles should also be bolstered on defense by the return of cornerback Avonte Maddox (ankle) and linebacker Duke Riley (rib). Maddox hasn’t played since Week 3 when he twisted his ankle after making a tackle on Tyler Boyd.
“He’s felt good. I anticipate him being available for this football game,” Pederson said of Maddox.
Jalen Mills started the first two games at cornerback in Maddox’s absence, with Nickell Robey-Coleman going last week. Alex Singleton had been picking up the slack for Riley who was carted off the field in Pittsburgh in Week 5 and missed last week’s game versus Baltimore.
The team has been limited to walk-throughs over regular practices due to a short week, so all injury reports are only estimations. Both Maddox and Riley were listed as limited participants on Wednesday. The Eagles listed veteran safety Marcus Epps (rib) as a full participant and ruled rookie safety K’Von Wallace (shoulder) out. Other players ruled out include TE Zach Ertz (ankle), T Jack Driscoll (ankle), DT Malik Jackson (quadriceps), RB Miles Sanders (knee).
No Timetable for TE Dallas Goedert, WR Jalen Reagor
Two other offensive weapons — TE Dallas Goedert, WR Jalen Reagor — had been eligible to come off IR and be activated to the 21-day practice window. Instead, they have been stuck on the sideline watching practice-squad players jump into the fray. Pederson offered no update or timetable for a return on either player, saying only that both guys are “on schedule.” Whatever that means.
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