The big news is that Jalen Hurts is DOUBTFUL to play after being limited for the second day in a row.
And so it looks like Gardner Minshew will be starting at quarterback once again. Which seems like the right way to handle this situation.
It was always said that Hurts would likely need to miss at least two games while recovering from his shoulder injury. No one can doubt his toughness or will to play ... but the Eagles need to be smart and protect him from further injury.
Minshew played well enough in Week 16 to help the Eagles gain 442 yards and score 27 points against the No. 2 defense ranked by DVOA. He should be good enough to help lead the Eagles to a home win over the Saints.
While Hurts’ doubtful status is not a positive development for him this week, it does seem to bode well for his future outlook. Should the Eagles somehow lose to New Orleans (sorry for putting that out into the universe), he could be ready to play in Week 18 against the New York Giants if necessary.
Of course, the Eagles are hoping they can clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoff picture with a win this Sunday. They would then have the option of resting Hurts until the Eagles’ first playoff game on either January 21 or January 22. He would have plenty of time to heal in that case.
Two players were ruled OUT: Lane Johnson and Avonte Maddox.
No surprises here.
Johnson is out until the Eagles’ first playoff game. It remains to be seen how the Eagles will handle his absence. They will go with one of two paths: 1) start Jack Driscoll at right tackle ... or ... 2) move Jordan Mailata to right tackle and start Andre Dillard at left tackle. The Eagles might feel that Dillard is better than Driscoll and thus aim to get their best five offensive linemen on the field. Of course, the downside there is changing two different spots as opposed to one.
Maddox is said to be “out indefinitely.” If the Eagles end up putting him on IR before 4:00 PM Eastern on Saturday, he won’t be eligible to be activated until the Super Bowl. They might just opt to keep him on the roster with the hope he may be able to play in the NFC Championship Game. With Maddox out, Josiah Scott figures to be the starting nickel cornerback ... although K’Von Wallace could also see playing time in that role. Regardless of who’s playing in the slot, the Saints will surely be looking to go after that guy.
C.J. Gardner-Johnson was eligible to have his 21-day practice window activated this week but that didn’t happen. And so he will miss a fifth straight game.
Miles Sanders was upgraded to full participation on Friday and is listed without a game status. He’s ready to go. Ditto for A.J. Brown.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES INJURY REPORT (FRIDAY)
OT Lane Johnson (groin)
CB Avonte Maddox (toe)
QB Jalen Hurts (right shoulder)
DE Derek Barnett
S C.J. Gardner-Johnson
P Arryn Siposs
DT Marlon Tuipulotu
DE Robert Quinn
Barnett is out for the year due to the nature of his ACL injury. CJGJ is recovering from a lacerated kidney and is now eligible to return but seemingly isn’t ready to play. Siposs will miss at least the rest of the regular season due to suffering an ankle injruy. Tuipulotu is out for the year due to the nature of his knee injury. Quinn is dealing with a knee injury and is eligible to return in Week 18 at the earliest.
RESERVE/PHYSICALLY UNABLE TO PERFORM
T/G Brett Toth
The Eagles have yet to activate Toth’s 21-day practice window.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS INJURY REPORT (FRIDAY)
Alvin Kamara returned to practice on Friday after missing Wednesday and Thursday. The Saints’ leading rusher is listed without a game status and will play in Philly.
The Saints ruled out starting safety Marcus Maye, who has a 80.3 passer rating when targeted this year. Maye’s top backup, Justin Evans, is questionable after being limited in practice all week. So, the Saints might be down to a fourth option at safety next to Tyrann Mathieu.
The Saints also ruled out starting left guard Andrus Peat. New Orleans is already missing starting right guard Cesar Ruiz, who is on injured reserve. The Eagles need to be able to get after their interior offensive line.
Leading receiver Chris Olave and Pro Bowl cornerback Marshon Lattimore are both questionable to play after being limited in practice all week. The Eagles will be catching a big break if one of them or neither of them end up playing. It’ll be worth seeing if they’re up or not when inactives are announced 90 minutes prior to the 1:00 PM kickoff.
Starting linebacker Pete Werner, who ranks third on the Saints in tackles despite missing five games, is also questionable after being limited in practice this week. Another key name to watch.
S Marcus Maye (shoulder)
OG Andrus Peat (ankle)
RB Dwayne Washington (illness)
S Justin Evans (shoulder)
CB Marshon Lattimore (abdomen)
WR Chris Olave (hamstring)
LB Pete Werner (hamstring)
LB Zack Baun
OL Ethan Greenidge
WR/RS Deonte Harty
DT Albert Huggins
RB Mark Ingram II
LB D’Marco Jackson
WR Jarvis Landry
S Smoke Monday
C/G Cesar Ruiz
WR Michael Thomas
As you can see, the Saints have a number of recognizable names on IR. They’re missing starting wide receivers Jarvis Landry and Michael Thomas, starting right guard Cesar Ruiz, second running back Mark Ingram, and dangerous return man Deonte Harty (née Deonte Harris).