Injuries, injuries, and more injuries. It’s not an exaggeration to say the Eagles have been defined by their injuries over the past two and a half years, with it only getting worse as time goes on.
Every team in the NFL has suffered through more injuries than normal this season due to the truncated offseason. But no team has been hit with injuries quite like the Eagles. What else is new.
Five players from Sunday’s game against Baltimore left the game and didn’t return because of injury: Zach Ertz, Miles Sanders, Jack Driscoll, Malik Jackson and K’Von Wallace. We haven’t heard much on Wallace’s shoulder injury, but there have been multiple reports about the four other injured players from Sunday’s game.
Both Sanders and Ertz underwent MRIs Monday morning, and the returns on their injuries weren’t very promising.
According to reports from Chirs Mortenson and Adam Schefter, Ertz will likely miss about a month with a high ankle sprain.
With Dallas Goedert eligible to come off IR this week, this injury to Ertz may not be as detrimental as some expect. But as we’ve all seen throughout this season, none of the Birds’ injured players seem to come back on time. Given the Eagles tendency to not be forthcoming about the reality of their injuries, coupled with the team being on a short week here, Goedert probably won’t suit up against New York on Thursday.
Richard Rodgers will get the start at tight end, along with Jason Croom getting snaps sprinkled in.
As for Miles Sanders, the information on his injury is more vague than with Ertz. But reports still suggest he’ll miss multiple weeks with the knee injury he suffered on his 70-yard run.
Sanders will be much harder to replace than Ertz, there’s no question about that. Sanders is currently third in the NFL in rushing despite being 16th in carries. He’s averaging 6.1 yards per carry so far this year and has back-to-back weeks with a 70+ yard run. That makes Sanders the only player in Eagles history with multiple 70 yard runs in a single season.
We saw what this backfield looked like in Week 1 without Sanders. The Eagles only mustered up 57 yards on the ground on 17 carries, an average of just 3.4 yards per attempt. The Giants are currently 15th in rush defense this season, but they’ve only allowed 3.7 yards per attempt, which ranks 5th best in the league.
Scott’s two best games of his career have come against the Giants, so maybe he can have a substantial impact on this Thursday night contest. In both of his outings against New York last season, Scott had 39 total touches, racking up 266 total yards and 4 touchdowns. He had the Giants’ number last year. This team will need to him to carry that over into this year’s first matchup with New York.
Then we have Malik Jackson and Jack Driscoll. Mortenson reported that they’ll both likely miss at least two weeks.
Luckily, the Eagles do actually have depth at defensive tackle with Javon Hargrave and Hassan Ridgeway. The combination of those two should help mitigate the loss of Jackson, but Jackson has been really solid this season on the interior of this Birds defensive front. He leads the team in QB hits with 11 and he’s recorded 1.5 sacks so far. Jackson has been a pass rushing force up the middle, Hargrave and Ridgeway aren’t really pass rushing defensive tackles. So even though the team does have depth there, they’ll miss Jackson’s pass rushing ability.
Where the Eagles don’t have much depth is along their offensive line. With Driscoll out, they’re now going to have to put out their 12th combination of lineman already this season. Obviously they should look to bring in a free agent or two, but with the COVID-19 restrictions this season, teams are limited on who they can bring in. Especially on a short week.
Players have to test negative for COVID for six straight days before being allowed in the building. The Eagles play in four days. You do the math.
They could start looking at players to bring in for Dallas the following week, but this week the team is stuck with who they have.
The injuries have just been ridiculous this season and they’ve only gotten worse as the season’s progressed. Can the Eagles still defeat the Giants on Thursday with such a decimated roster? It really doesn’t matter if they ‘can.’ They just have to find a way to pull out. Otherwise, this season’s a wrap.