Here’s an update on the Philadelphia Eagles’ injury situation seven days out from their Week 7 game against the Carolina Panthers.
As previously noted, Peters suffered a biceps injury in the Eagles’ Week 6 win over the Giants. Derrick Gunn was first to report it’s an injury Peters can play through, pending the results of an MRI.
Following the MRI results, NFL insider Ian Rapoport is reporting Peters will be able to return to the field, though “he could miss a week or two.” Rapoport’s injury reporting has been shaky when it comes to the Eagles in the recent past but this sentiment lines up with Doug Pederson saying the early results on Peters’ testing were “positive” (in an encouraging way).
It’s worth noting the Eagles have two games on their schedule remaining before their Week 9: a Week 7 home game against the Panthers and a Week 8 “road game” against the Jaguars in London. The Eagles could look to rest Peters until Philadelphia returns to action against the Cowboys in Week 10 on November 11. That would essentially give the 36-year-old Peters a month off to get some rest.
With Peters potentially missing time, the Eagles will likely be starting Halapoulivaati Vaitai at left tackle. Big V has proven to be a passable (in more ways than one) starter. He’s capable of being serviceable, but he shouldn’t be mistaken as an ideal long-term starter.
Vaitai playing in place of Peters means he won’t be able to fill in if Lane Johnson, who is battling through an ankle injury, has to miss time. In that event, the Eagles would keep Vaitai at left tackle and shift starting left guard Isaac Seumalo out to right tackle. Stefen Wisniewski would then fill in for Seumalo.
The Eagles don’t seem to plan to get Matt Pryor or Jordan Mailata involved this year. Both rookies have been healthy scratches all season long.
Sticking with offensive tackle, Howard Eskin said on FOX29 that Johnson is expected to play against the Panthers next week. Johnson was said to have an “up-hill battle” to play against the Giants on Thursday night but he toughed out his high ankle sprain. Johnson figures to benefit from the extra rest prior to the Panthers game.
Sproles hasn’t played since Week 1. The 35-year-old running back suffered a hamstring injury leading up to the Eagles’ Week 2 game and hasn’t practiced since.
There’s been some recent buzz that Sproles is expected to return soon. During his Wednesday press conference, Pederson said the veteran rusher is “close” to being back.
Now Eskin is saying he expects Sproles to return in Week 7:
“And Darren Sproles, I think, finally, finally will come back and play next week for the Eagles against Carolina.” — @howardeskin— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) October 14, 2018
Sproles had five carries for 10 yards and four receptions for 22 yards in Philadelphia’s Week 1 game against the Falcons. He played 40% of the team’s offensive snaps and also fielded three punt returns.
Though there are some questions about his effectiveness, it’s still good for the Eagles to be getting Sproles back. With Jay Ajayi out for the year, Philadelphia is really down to just Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement as running backs they trust to see major playing time. And as of Thursday night, Clement was still on a pitch count since he’s been dealing with a quad injury.
We’ll get a better idea about whether Sproles will return or not based on his practice status leading up to this week’s game.
During his Friday press conference, Pederson used the term “week-to-week” to describe Jones’ hamstring injury. That’s worse than the “day-to-day” designation that Pederson otherwise uses to describe injuries.
Jones potentially missing multiple weeks means the Eagles will need to make more changes to their banged up secondary. Against the Giants, the Eagles shifted Avonte Maddox (who has been filling in for Rodney McLeod at safety) down to nickel corner with Rasul Douglas playing on the back end. That seemed like more of a short-term solution than a long-term plan.
Moving forward, the Eagles might want to try keeping Maddox back at safety with Jalen Mills shifting into the slot. That would open up playing time for Douglas as a boundary corner.
The Eagles could also try moving Mills to safety but they’ve shown no interest in doing that so far. It doesn’t seem like giving Deiondre’ Hall or Tre Sullivan significant snaps on the back end is in the cards, either. It remains to be seen if Corey Graham is ready to play against the Panthers; he suffered a hamstring injury in Week 5 and has been out since.
We’ll have more updates on the Eagles’ injury situation later this week. Philadelphia will release their first official Week 7 injury report on Wednesday, October 17.