It’s been some time since we’ve had an update on the recovery status of Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. That changed today with a report from NFL insider Ian Rapoport:
As #Eagles gear up for the season, WR Alshon Jeffery has remained on PUP. Though he’s progressing according to plan, sources say the timing of his rotator cuff surgery -- following the Super Bowl win – means there’s a chance he may not be ready for the opener. Could stay on PUP.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 13, 2018
The #Eagles have an interesting roster decision in a few weeks, right around cut-down day. PUP to start is an option. Could also carry him on the roster in the event he’s healthy sooner. https://t.co/2mNQHSsPJJ— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 13, 2018
Rapoport’s reporting about Eagles injuries needs to be taken with a grain of salt. He previously reported that Carson Wentz was ‘likely’ to begin training camp on the active/Physically Unable to Perform list but that didn’t make a lot of sense at the time and it didn’t end up being true. Rapoport also got some injury information wrong during the 2017 season. He originally said Jason Peters did NOT tear his ACL ... but it turned out he did.
So, keep that in mind here.
But back to Jeffery. The veteran receiver did begin Eagles training camp on the active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list and has remained there since. He’s currently eligible to be activated at any time, but the expectation all along has been that Jeffery’s return will take place closer to the first week of the season. Howard Eskin is among those reporting a Week 1 return is still in play.
Per @RapSheet #eagles Alshon Jeffery could remain on PUP list week 1 against #Falcons. Per #NFL Sources, he still has chance to play week one. Decision on PUP list comes after cutdown day after final Pre season game. @SportsRadioWIP— Howard Eskin (@howardeskin) August 13, 2018
It wouldn’t be a total shock if Jeffery ISN’T ready to play against the Atlanta Falcons in 24 days on Thursday, September 6. It WOULD be pretty surprising, however, if Jeffery was kept on the reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list to start the 2018 NFL season. Being on the regular season PUP list would mean Jeffery would be required to miss the first six weeks of the season. He would not count towards the 53-man roster during that time.
The feeling here is that the Eagles would rather have Jeffery count against the roster limit even if he’s not ready for Week 1. That way he’d be able to come back whenever he’s ready after that. Unless, of course, the team feels like there’s just no chance he won’t be able to play in the first six weeks. In that case, they should keep him on PUP. It just doesn’t seem like that’s the case here.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson recently spoke about Jeffery’s injury status.
“He’s doing a great job with his rehab,” said Pederson prior to Eagles training camp practice on Saturday, August 11. “He is in I would say more the strength phase with the weights and that part. He’s still doing his lower body conditioning with running and doing some things that way with his legs, making sure his cardiovascular is good. He can’t do a ton of stuff yet necessarily on the field because of the motion of the arm swing, but we can get him in the tanks, the pools, the Alter Gs, things like that, and get his cardio up. But kind of in the strength phase right now and really doing a nice job.”
If Jeffery CAN’T suit up for Week 1, the Eagles would likely start Mack Hollins or Shelton Gibson in his place. Hopefully it won’t have to come to that.
Jeffery isn’t the only starter the Eagles could potentially be missing in Week 1. We already know that Nigel Bradham is out against Atlanta due to his one-game suspension. The feeling here is that Carson Wentz will be ready but it’s not official just yet. Super Bowl hero Brandon Graham is still on the active/PUP list, as is special teams captain Chris Maragos. Timmy Jernigan will likely begin the season on the reserve/non-football injury list, which means he’ll automatically be out for at least six weeks.
The 2017 Eagles proved they could win a Super Bowl despite missing a bunch of key players. The 2018 Eagles might be in for a similarly short-handed challenge early in the season.