For the first time all season, the Eagles offense will (almost) be at full strength.
Thursday’s injury report was very encouraging, and barring any setbacks, the Birds will be getting at least two starters back on the field. Possibly three if Lane Johnson is able to go.
On offense, we’ll see Miles Sanders back on the field. He’ll be a welcomed addition for obvious reasons. In the five games Sanders has played in this season, he averaged 6.1 yards a pop, racked up 525 yards from scrimmage, and found the endzone three times. With Sanders back in the fold, let’s hope Doug Pederson relies on his running game this week. The Eagles have only run the ball on 38.6% of their offensive plays this year, which seems a little ridiculous given how poorly the team’s quarterback has played this season.
An effective rushing attack will benefit the entire offense. With Sanders at his disposal, Pederson should employ a balanced attack this week.
It’s likely we see the season debut of Alshon Jeffery this week, who’s missed the entire first half of the season. His fit in the current offense is a little murky, with the emergence of Travis Fulgham at the X position. How Pederson decides to integrate Jeffery back into his offense will be interesting to watch.
I know some fans think it’s best to just leave Alshon on the bench and allow the young receivers to get as much playing time as possible. If the Eagles weren’t in a position to make the playoffs, I’d feel the same way. But the truth is this offense could use as many weapons as they can get their hands on.
How good will Jeffery actually be when he’s back on the field? Your guess is as good as mine. But if he’s able to play at the same level he did before his injury last season, he’ll be a fine addition to this receiving corps.
Among the other full participants in Thursday’s practice, we have: Fletcher Cox, Jack Driscoll, Nate Herbig, Malik Jackson, Cre’Von LeBlanc, and Jason Peters. We already knew Cox and Peters were likely going to play, but getting Jackson and LeBlanc back should give the defense a bit of a boost.
Most of Jackson’s Eagles career has been marred by injuries; he’s only played six games in midnight green. But when he’s fully healthy, he’s been a really solid interior defensive lineman for Jim Schwartz’s defense. He has 11 quarterback hits so far in 2020, fifth-most among all defensive tackles. The trio of Cox, Jackson, and Javon Hargrave has yet to fully materialize on the field this season. If these guys can remain healthy for the remainder of the season, maybe we’ll see it come to fruition during the second half of 2020.
Having LeBlanc at the nickel again will be great as well. He missed Week 8’s game against Dallas due to a quadriceps injury. He’s not the flashiest nickel corner, but he plays extremely hard every time he’s on the field and tends to make at least one play per game that makes you say, “I fuckin’ love this guy.” He’s a fan favorite for a reason, so it goes without saying I’m excited to see him back in action this week.
Some local pundits have been hesitant to label this game as a sure-fire win for the Birds. I somewhat understand given the nature of this team to play down to their opponents. But with all these guys back on the field, there’s no reason this matchup against the Giants should even be close.