Eagles Get Grim Update on Pro Bowl TE, Starting RB Out

Miles Sanders

Getty The Eagles could be without two key starters — Miles Sanders, Zach Ertz — for an extended period.

The latest injury updates are troublesome for an Eagles team in win-now mode. They don’t have the luxury of waiting a month to get healthy. Yet that’s exactly the predicament they are in after the MRI results came back on Zach Ertz (ankle) and Miles Sanders (knee). Ertz is the larger concern, per ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, as the Pro Bowl tight end will miss three to four weeks due to a high-ankle sprain. Sanders’ timetable is at one to two weeks right now.

Sanders has only been ruled out for Week 7 but the injury could linger for one to two weeks. It’s the latest ailment for the second-year running back who missed all of training camp with a hamstring injury, then suffered a glute injury a few weeks ago. Sanders has been the Eagles’ top playmaker in 2020 and ranks fourth in the NFL in rushing yards (434).

The Eagles haven’t confirmed or denied the injury updates, so any corresponding roster moves are on hold. Mortensen also reported that right tackle Jack Driscoll (knee) and defensive tackle Malik Jackson (quad) could miss one to two weeks. Philadelphia was already down to a skeleton crew on offense, including just two projected starters — QB Carson Wentz, C Jason Kelce — left from their training camp roster. The hits keep coming for Philly.

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Eagles May Lean on Back-By-Committee Approach

The injury update on Sanders remains a bit ambiguous, especially considering the nature of knee problems. Running backs rely on planting and cutting to be effective so a one-week absence seems aggressive. Remember, the Eagles have their bye in Week 9 and could choose to put their starting running back on short-term IR right now and get him back in three weeks. Sanders seems optimistic about it.

Doug Pederson hadn’t met with his medical team when he addressed reporters on Monday and expressed hope that Sanders would be good to go. If not, the head coach seemed confident to ride backups Boston Scott and Corey Clement, plus rookies Jason Huntley and Adrian Killins.

“Well, I think, yeah, hopefully, Miles is okay and he’s available, but Boston, Corey, Huntley, are the guys that would be in that running back-by-committee, so to speak, would be our next move,” Pederson told reporters. “Obviously Killins is an opportunity, as well. It would just depend on the rest of the roster, as you know, to get him up. But yeah, we know Boston has played. We know Corey’s played. Huntley is the only one that’s really limited from the standpoint of playing. But we’ve got confidence in all three of those guys to be able to get the job done.”

Revolving Door at Right Guard, Offensive Line Issues

The Eagles’ offensive line can’t afford to absorb any additional blows. They have already been forced to throw veteran spare parts and rookies into the fire, with mixed results. Starting right tackle Lane Johnson (ankle) remains day-to-day, as does right guard Matt Pryor (COVID-19). Driscoll’s ankle injury — the rookie swing tackle was carted off the field versus Baltimore — only further clouds the picture.

The biggest question mark remains at right guard. Assuming Pryor turns in three straight negative virus tests, he’ll be inserted back into the lineup. However, the Eagles have a short week with a game on Thursday and that might not be enough time. Longer practices turn into walk-throughs with only four days to prepare.

Pederson mentioned Sua Opeta, Jamon Brown, and possibly shifting Nate Herbig around as options at right guard.

“We’ve got some options. As maybe as crazy as that sounds, we do have some options at guards,” Pederson told reporters. “So we’ll have some options there moving into this week, and we’ve got to do what’s best for the football team, best for the offense, and we’ll make those determinations here pretty quick.”

Then there is the issue of performance. Brown was absolutely atrocious at right guard against the Ravens. He was directly responsible for two sacks, four quarterback hits, three hurries, and nine pressures, per Pro Football Focus.

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