The Philadelphia Eagles already had some concerns heading into their Week 1 game against the Washington Football Team and now they have some more.
Star running back Miles Sanders and starting defensive end Derek Barnett have been downgraded to OUT after originally being ruled questionable on the Friday injury report. Both players were limited in practice this week.
Sanders participated in two Eagles training camp practices before missing the rest of camp due a hamstring injury. The Eagles described him as “week-to-week” at the time but they also suggested they weren’t as concerned about the issue lingering into the regular season as much as they were taking a cautious approach to have Sanders ready for Week 1. On Friday, Doug Pederson said Sanders was doing “extremely well.” And yet, he won’t be playing in Week 1.
Hopefully Sanders is able to return sooner than later.
Eagles’ RB Miles Sanders is progressing well, but the team wants to make sure he’s good to go for the long haul, so it’s keeping the big picture in mind with him. https://t.co/c7klr8LQ6u— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 12, 2020
Sanders’ absence means the Eagles are down to three healthy running backs: Boston Scott, Corey Clement, and recent waiver wire addition Jason Huntley. Scott and Clement figure to split the workload that Sanders is leaving behind while Huntley might only appear on special teams. Scott obviously played well down the stretch in 2019 and Clement looked healthy and rejuvenated in training camp. Still, neither of those guys are Sanders and it’s not ideal the Eagles will be without No. 26.
Barnett being out is pretty disappointing because this was supposed to be the year where he finally entered the season healthy and broke out. He missed all of training camp and now he’s missing at least one game in 2020. With Barnett out, Josh Sweat could potentially start unless the Eagles go with Vinny Curry instead. In any case, Sweat and Curry will see increased playing time. Rookie Casey Toohill and/or Genard Avery could also see some snaps in the defensive end rotation. The left side of Washington’s offensive line is weak and the Eagles need to take advantage.
In addition to downgrading Sanders and Barnett, the Eagles also called up offensive guard Sua Opeta and defensive tackle T.Y. McGill from the practice squad. The Eagles didn’t need to create roster spots for these players due to the new 55-man roster rules. The Eagles can also send Opeta and McGill back down to the practice squad without putting them through the waiver process.
Opeta getting called up doesn’t seem to be the best sign for starting right tackle Lane Johnson, who is questionable to play. My BGN Radio co-host explained it well:
Doesn’t mean Lane definitely won’t play, but it does mean there’s at least doubt that he will.— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) September 12, 2020
So, the Eagles could potentially be without seven projected Week 1 starters: Johnson, Sanders, Barnett, Brandon Brooks, Javon Hargrave, Andre Dillard, and Alshon Jeffery. And also missing a key role player in Will Parks. What’s it going to take for the Eagles to finally be healthy?
As for the McGill promotion, that was expected with Hargrave missing Sunday’s game. Calling him up gives the Eagles a fourth defensive tackle behind Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson, and Hassan Ridgeway.
Hey, it’s just not Eagles football if the team doesn’t have to overcome injuries to win. Even in Week 1, apparently.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES INJURY REPORT (SATURDAY)
DE Derek Barnett (hamstring)
DT Javon Hargrave (pectoral, hamstring)
WR Alshon Jeffery (foot)
RB Miles Sanders (hamstring)
OT Lane Johnson (ankle)
OT Andre Dillard
S Will Parks
TE Josh Perkins
WR Quez Watkins
RESERVE/PHYSICALLY UNABLE TO PERFORM
OG Brandon Brooks
DE Daeshon Hall
LB Jatavis Brown