The Philadelphia Eagles locker room has turned into a triage ward in recent days. Seven players were not on the practice field Thursday after sustaining major injuries last week.
These weren’t bit players that got hurt. These were starters and key contributors, including DeSean Jackson (abdomen), Alshon Jeffery (calf), Dallas Goedert (calf), Tim Jernigan (foot) and Corey Clement (shoulder). The Eagles are also missing Jordan Mailata (back) and Rudy Ford (hamstring) as they continue to fight preseason ailments.
Head coach Doug Pederson has classified all seven players as day-to-day, but there are reports out there claiming otherwise. Tom Pelissero has targeted a Week 5 return for Jackson, while Mike Garafolo confirmed a Week 5 return for Jeffery.
Jernigan suffered the biggest injury in Atlanta in his first game as a starting defensive tackle. According to the Inquirer, Jernigan could miss four to six weeks with a broken foot.
“Well, we know Tim [Jernigan] is going to be a little bit longer,” Pederson told reporters. “The other guys are more day-to-day. They’re doing well, and we’ll have an update at the end of the week.”
What is DeSean Jackson’s Injury?
DeSean Jackson has been dealing with either an abdominal strain or a groin injury, depending on whom you talk to. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo hinted that Jackson might have incurred the dreaded sports hernia, a soft tissue injury that affects both the abdomen and groin area. Depending on the severity, a non-surgical sports hernia injury can take four to six weeks to rest and heal. The Eagles have refused to put a timetable on Jackson’s absence, but at least two weeks seems appropriate.
The Eagles are getting set to play two games in five days, so resting Jackson until Week 5 is the smart move. There is no need to try and rush him back. The speedy receiver is vital to Philly’s aerial attack and aggravating what could be a lingering injury would quickly derail their championship aspirations.
Bigger Roles for Mack Hollins & JJ Arcega-Whiteside
The Eagles are likely without starting wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery until Week 5. That’s a stretch that includes a home game against Detroit and an away game versus Green Bay. On Thursday, the team had five receivers on the practice field: Nelson Agholor, Mack Hollins, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Greg Ward and Marcus Green.
Agholor, Hollins and Arcega-Whiteside were all working with the ones and will be counted on extensively Sunday. The trio combined to make 14 catches for 261 yards and a touchdown last week when forced into bigger workloads. However, they all showed signs of rust.
Hollins and Arcega-Whiteside both dropped easy touch passes and didn’t look comfortable in their route running. Ward and Green are on the practice squad, but the Eagles may be forced to elevate at least one of them to the active roster.
And Agholor — well, he dropped the potential game-winning touchdown. He had eight catches for 107 yards and a touchdown, but the drop was a tough pill to swallow. It bounced right off his fingertips.
“You gotta find a way to catch it all,” Agholor said. “Remember where it’s going to be and look it all the way in.”
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