‘Personal Matter’ Clouds Status of 2 Key Eagles Starters

Darius Slay

Getty Eagles CB Darius Slay was listed on the injury report with a calf issue.

The Philadelphia Eagles were down two starters at practice on Thursday (Oct. 7) and neither one of them was out due to physical ailments. Right tackle Lane Johnson and Darius Slay both missed the penultimate dress rehearsal before their matchup versus the Carolina Panthers.

Johnson’s absence was expected as the mystery behind his “personal matter” is no closer to being solved. In addition to sitting out last week’s game, the three-time Pro Bowler has missed two straight practices and there is a growing belief he’ll be ruled out for Week 5. Derrick Gunn told 97.5 The Fanatic that Johnson’s situation is day-to-day and “it is not likely that he’ll play.” Interesting.

Meanwhile, Slay unexpectedly popped up on the latest injury report with his own “personal matter.” The starting cornerback met with reporters on Wednesday (Oct. 6) in a jovial mood. He poked fun at the press for not understanding the game of football, then explained why he felt the need to fight back at his haters on social media.

“Some people don’t know football,” Slay told reporters. “Some of y’all don’t know football, y’all just be looking. So I have to put some kind of facts out because I don’t let anybody disrespect my name, I work hard for that.”

UPDATE: Slay missed practice to witness the birth of his son, Desmond Demetrius. Congrats to him and his family!

When pressed to detail what the media doesn’t know, Slay mentioned identifying zone coverage over man coverage. That, and just a general lack of awareness from guys that never played the game.

“If he line up on your side, this that and the third, all that kind of crazy stuff,” Slay said. “Somebody getting double-teamed, y’all think he’s getting killed – all that crazy kind of stuff. Y’all wouldn’t know but, you know, y’all learn one day.”

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Christian McCaffrey Returns to Panthers

The Eagles’ opponent may be getting a huge lift on the offensive side of the ball if Christian McCaffrey is cleared to play. The all-world running back returned to Panthers practice on Thursday (Oct. 7) in a limited capacity for the first time since injuring his hamstring on Sept. 23.

There is hope the one-time All-Pro could be back out there in Week 5. Carolina head coach Matt Rhule told reporters McCaffrey will likely be a game-time decision (via ESPN) while adding: “Christian looked real good [in practice].”

McCaffrey is their best player, one of the most electrifying forces in the NFL. He has 6,181 all-scrimmage yards and 46 touchdowns since 2017.

Nick Sirianni Working Late Nights

Head coach Nick Sirianni has often talked about working late nights, sometimes even sleeping in his office after a tough loss. With his assistants feeling the heat following three straight losses, Sirianni was asked to describe their weekly routines.

Does he make them stay as long as he does? Is there a set work schedule for offensive coordinator Shane Steichen and defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon? His answer was pretty insightful:

No. But it’s not set hours. You’ve got to do what you need to do to get done. I don’t make them watch their desk or wait until I leave or whatever. Right? And so, we’ve got to get our job done.

I know we start really early. We start anywhere from between – guys come in at 5:00, 6:00. No one’s in later than 6:00. And then it just depends on the day of when we work till. Monday, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, those are going to be a little later nights. Thursday, a little bit shorter. Friday, a little bit shorter than that. I don’t want to say a set time, but we’re in here, we’re grinding, and the candle is burning pretty long.

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