Just because the Philadelphia Eagles have a first-round bye does not mean they are sitting back and relaxing. The team held the first of two practices this week on Thursday morning.
Since there’s no game to be played this weekend, the Birds don’t have to issue an official injury report. But there are some updates to sort through, so we’ll do that on a player-by-player basis.
The way the Eagles have been so forthcoming about Hurts’ shoulder injury is a bit odd. Nick Sirianni did not try to downplay how the quarterback played through a lot of pain in Week 18. Hurts would only offer that he was feeling “good enough” to play in that game.
Coaches and players aren’t always so transparent as the Eagles have been in this situation. So, not totally sure what to make sure of that.
Evidence seems to suggest they’re being honest. Hurts appeared to be limited on Thursday:
Jalen Hurts warming up with a towel while the other QBs throw. Easing into the week after playing through a sore throwing shoulder. pic.twitter.com/FYVCGhWkAD— Tim McManus (@Tim_McManus) January 12, 2023
Another example here: Hurts has a ball but doesn’t throw it after roll out, just simulates motion. pic.twitter.com/geTdDmgifl— Tim McManus (@Tim_McManus) January 12, 2023
#Eagles QB Jalen Hurts, in his first interview at his locker stall and away from the podium, said about not throwing today:— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) January 12, 2023
“It’s a good thing there’s a bye week.”
Didn’t dispute the notion that he might not be 100 pct. by next weekend, “but I’ve played injured before.” pic.twitter.com/50adK5zbdw
Yikes. That last line isn’t overly comforting.
It’s at least possible that the Eagles are trying to play up the severity of Hurts’ injury since Sirianni is so big on the ideas of subterfuge and competitive advantage.
But the thinking here is that Hurts is once again going have to play through pain in the Divisional Round. Perhaps the shoulder will be feeling better than it was in Week 18 after giving it some rest. That’s certainly the Eagles’ hope.
It won’t be ideal if Hurts is limited in practice leading up to next weekend’s game. He’ll undoubtedly be good enough to suit up. It just remains to be seen if he can function at a high level as a passer and if he can handle a sizeable workload as a runner.
Sweat returned to practice after sitting out last week. He said he expects to be able to play despite having to get stretchered off the field on January 1. Good news.
The Eagles’ pass rush figures to be deeper than it’s been for a bit recently with Sweat and Robert Quinn now both back in the fold.
Brown did not practice and was seen wearing a sleeve on his calf. But the Eagles said he was getting a rest day.
Quinn also did not practice. Probably a veteran maintenance day for the 32-year-old.
Johnson was not seen practicing with the team but he was doing some conditioning work on a side field. The Eagles’ starting right tackle is expected to be available to play in the first playoff game.
Maddox is still not practicing. We’ll see how next week goes but the guess here is an NFC Championship Game return might be more realistic for him.
The Eagles figure to continue to use C.J. Gardner-Johnson in the slot with Reed Blankenship playing safety in nickel when needed.
In a bit of an unexpected development, Siposs indicated he might be able to play in the Divisional Round.
Siposs is eligible to return from injured reserve after missing four games. Siposs was not having a great year prior to his injury but he was at least merely below average instead of downright bad. The latter description fits what the Eagles have gotten out of Brett Kern thus far.