Ryan Mathews won’t play this Sunday against the Bengals, Doug Pederson confirmed Friday morning. Mathews missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, and on a short, that didn’t bode well for his chances. But it became official today.
Mathews has played in 10 of the Eagles’ 11 games this season. The only game he hasn’t recorded a carry in was last week’s loss to the Packers. However, Mathews has been banged up in a number of games this year, and has only four games of double-digit carries this season.
Pederson also said that wide receiver Jordan Matthews will be listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. Matthews, who is dealing with an ankle injury suffered on Monday night, returned to practice on Thursday in a limited capacity after missing Wednesday’s practice entirely.
From video we saw yesterday, Matthews’ ankle was clearly bothering him in practice.
“It’s a short week, and getting right out there again on [Thursday] was probably... I don’t want to say it hurt him,” Pederson said. “It was good to put him out there. And so, the decision could be how well he, or doesn’t, come out of today.”
Could Pederson be activating five wide receivers, something the Eagles have been reticent to do this year?
“That’s something I have to consider,” Pederson said. “It really kind of depends on today, how well Jordan comes out of today, and then see where he’s at.”
When we saw the video of Matthews limping around practice yesterday, I wrote up a bit about how brutal the Eagles’ passing offense was after he left the Packers game.
If Matthews can’t go on Sunday because his ankle is still bothering him (which it clearly is), or even if he’s available but limited by the injury? It could be an entirely different story.
Because when he left the game against the Packers on Monday, the Eagles’ passing game turned anemic.
In the (roughly) four drives the Birds ran without Matthews on the field on Monday, Carson Wentz went 14 of 24 for 135 yards, for a woeful 5.6 yards per attempt.
Pederson acknowledged there was a drop-off, and said he started focusing on his tight ends once Matthews left the game.
“Once we got away from Jordan, and he came out of the game, I went more of the tight ends, with Trey and Zach a little bit,” Pederson explained. “That’s a role that Paul Turner can obviously fill, as well, and the more experience he gets, he can fit that position as a slot receiver. Everyone else is mainly outside, DGB, even Nelson is outside, Bryce is an outside guy, so kind of lean more towards the tight ends in those situations.”
It’s kind of rough that Pederson’s first instinct when Matthews left wasn’t to try and throw more to Green-Beckham or Treggs, but to simply target his tight ends. But, alas, that’s a comment on the state of the team’s wide receiver corps.
Without Matthews, things could be ugly once again on Sunday.