Eagles Injury Report: 4 WRs Miss Practice, Down to 1 Active Receiver

Greg Ward

Getty The Eagles may have to lean on Greg Ward as their top WR for the second straight year.

Another day, more injuries. Carson Wentz may need to throw the ball to himself if this keeps up.

The Eagles were down to one receiver from their active roster, Greg Ward, at Thursday’s practice. That’s right, four pass-catchers missed the session due to a variety of injuries and reasons: DeSean Jackson (hamstring), J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (calf), Alshon Jeffery (foot), John Hightower (illness). Wentz was forced to play pitch-and-catch with three practice-squad receivers, including Travis Fulgham, Deontay Burnett, and Marcus Green. It’s shades of 2019 all over again for the franchise quarterback as he looks to get untracked.

“Without a doubt, it can be a resource,” Wentz said about drawing on last year’s experience. “It’s something to look back and just say, ‘How did I get on the same page with some of these guys?’ It was a short week, a short amount of time in building that chemistry quickly, and so that’s really the story of the season because of no OTAs and all of that and now even moreso going into Week 4.”

The Eagles started the year down a man when free-agent acquisition Marquise Goodwin chose to opt-out over COVID-19 concerns. Then, the team placed rookie Jalen Reagor on short-term IR this week. Luckily, sixth-rounder Quez Watkins is (hopefully) nearing a return.

Other players (eight total) missing Thursday’s practice were G Jamon Brown (illness), CB Avonte Maddox (ankle), T Jason Peters (illness), CB Trevor Williams (rib). Limited participants included S Rudy Ford (groin), T Lane Johnson (ankle), RB Miles Sanders (abdominal), while DT Fletcher Cox (abdominal), T Jack Driscoll (illness), C Jason Kelce (rest) all returning to practice in full.

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Pederson Addresses Why Waiting to IR Reagor

The first report of Reagor requiring surgery after suffering a UCL tear in his thumb dropped on Sept. 23. The early indication was that the Eagles’ top draft pick would immediately hit IR and miss at least three weeks. However, the team waited an entire week to officially make the roster move. Why?

“There was no suddenness to make the decision right away, right? Because we had bodies, we had players that we could activate and elevate and it’s just the way the rules are this year,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “So there was no need to really press the issue last week.”

The Eagles hit the waiver wire hard this week to bolster their receiving corps, too. They activated Watkins from the 21-day practice window and then signed two tight ends — Hakeem Butler (active roster), Jason Croom (practice squad) — after placing Dallas Goedert on IR.

Zach Ertz: ‘We’ve Been Down This Road Before’

Zach Ertz hearkened back to the Eagles’ previous battles overcoming injuries, pointing to fill-in guys playing with “confidence” and “swagger.” There is a culture already established, stemming from the coaching staff, that has allowed them to thrive in dire situations. Remember, Wentz was literally throwing to practice-squad players last year when they reeled off four straight wins the NFC East.

“We’ve kind of been down this road before, you know with injuries,” Ertz said. “We just have to overcome, guys fill in, guys playing with a bunch of confidence and swagger and continuing to make plays. And I’ve seen that in the past couple days on the practice field.”

Injuries are an unfortunate part of the game, one teams have to deal with and not hide behind as an excuse.

“I think for me as the head coach, I think you have to show the good, the bad, the ugly,” Pederson said, “but at the same time, I think you have to keep your goals right in front of the team.”

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