The Philadelphia Eagles named two young wide receivers “healthy scratches” for Week 15. John Hightower and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside were among the team’s inactives against the Arizona Cardinals, joining Nate Sudfeld, Jason Huntley, Grayland Arnold, Darius Slay.
The Eagles announced that three players — Huntley, Arnold, Slay — wouldn’t be making the trip to Arizona on Saturday. That leaves them thin in the secondary where they will rely on undrafted rookie cornerback Michael Jacquet and former sixth-round pick Kevon Seymour. They will also be leaning heavily on K’Von Wallace and Marcus Epps to hold down the starting safety spot with Rodney McLeod out and Jalen Mills possibly moving over to cornerback.
The two biggest surprises among the “healthy scratches” were definitely Hightower and Arcega-Whiteside. Meanwhile, sixth-rounder Quez Watkins was active for the game. Doug Pederson had hinted at giving larger roles to his younger playmakers over aging veterans like Alshon Jeffery. The Eagles head coach has also come under fire for not giving breakout star Travis Fulgham more snaps.
“There are certain plays, specific plays that Travis is going to be in on and there’s specific plays that Alshon is going to be in on,” Pederson said. “It’s the same with Jalen Reagor versus Hightower or Quez or somebody like that. It’s just a matter of how we as coaches see the game plan going and getting everybody involved.”
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Cardinals Keep Speedy WR Inactive
The Cardinals kept former second-round pick Andy Isabella inactive for a second straight week. The speedy wide receiver from UMass — 4.31 in the 40 in 2019 — will likely be replaced in four-receiver sets by KeeSean Johnson. Arizona also ruled out the following players: QB Brett Hundley, RB Eno Benjamin, S Jalen Thompson, LB Kylie Fitts, OL Lamont Gaillard, and OL Justin Pugh.
“It can be an exciting offense because the ball gets spread around to a lot of different guys and the quarterback,” Pederson said of the Cardinals’ offense. “It’s quarterback-driven and quarterback-friendly, but there are some concepts that we have used in the past and will continue to study.”
Jalen Reagor Looking for Bigger Role
Pederson talked this week about the budding chemistry between new starter Jalen Hurts and rookie receiver Jalen Reagor. Well, he’s only been targeted five times over the past two weeks while making three catches for 80 yards. Of course, Reagor did have that electrifying 73-yard punt return for a touchdown versus the Green Bay Packers. He’s been working his way into the receiver rotation in Philly, including spending extra time getting to know Hurts and his tendencies.
“I think it’s so important that they do that, because that just carries them, the good ones, right?” said Pederson. “You think about the Jerry Rice’s of the world and those top receivers and quarterbacks. That is what they’ve done early in their career and really as their careers progressed, they spend that extra time.”