The Washington Football Team will likely be shorthanded once again going into a matchup with the Eagles.
Just over a week removed from playing a game with roughly two dozen players on the COVID list, Washington’s lingering outbreak continued Friday as the team placed running back Antonio Gibson on the COVID list.
Gibson, a third-round pick in the 2020 NFL draft, has been a cornerstone of Washington’s offense both as a conventional running back and as a receiver. He has 1,180 yards from scrimmage, 278 touches, and nine total touchdowns this season.
Washington’s most recent COVID surge isn’t as bad as the one that wiped out its quarterback room and led to the league postponing the team’s game against the Eagles from Dec. 18 to Dec. 21, but they’ll be missing several important pieces on offense. Starting left guard Ereck Flowers was added to the COVID list along with Gibson on Friday, and starting right tackle Sam Cosmi was added to the list earlier this week.
Flowers has started all 15 games and Cosmi has started eight games this season.
There’s still a chance Washington could recoup players, especially those who tested positive earlier in the week, but Gibson and Flowers are unlikely to make it out of COVID protocols in time for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game.
If Gibson can’t go, Washington only has two running backs on the active roster (Jaret Patterson and Jonathan Williams). Former Eagles running back Wendell Smallwood is one of two backs on the practice squad that could get the call-up.
Gibson was heavily featured in the Eagles’ 27-17 win over Washington on Dec. 21, but he was held mostly in check. He had 15 carries for 26 yards and a touchdown while also catching six passes for 39 yards.
Washington signed punter Ryan Winslow, a Pennsylvania native who went to La Salle College High School, to the practice squad in case the team’s starting punter Tress Way doesn’t get off the COVID list in time for the game.
Howard questionable for Sunday
The Eagles have their own running back uncertainty going into the weekend.
Jordan Howard is officially listed as questionable with a stinger he suffered last Sunday against the New York Giants. Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said Friday that the team would use the weekend to evaluate the running back’s readiness to return.
“We obviously don’t have to make that decision yet,” Sirianni said. “He’s got two more days to get better, so he’s questionable right now.”
The Eagles are already without Miles Sanders, who broke his hand last Sunday and was ruled out early in the week after needing surgery to repair the break. If Howard isn’t available, the team would lean on Boston Scott and rookie Kenny Gainwell as the primary options. The Eagles could also elevate practice squad running backs Jason Huntley or Kerryon Johnson if Howard is ruled out.
The Eagles signed Johnson to the taxi squad earlier this week. He spent training camp with the team but didn’t make the 53-man roster.
“Kerryon had a good week,” Sirianni said. “He knows the offense. He did some really good things when he was here in the offseason, so we have confidence in him if his number is called.”