The Eagles had more than a dozen players on the active roster either missing or limited in practice on Wednesday.
The laundry list of hurt players had a few surprises, including Miles Sanders being limited with a glute injury, and Trevor Williams missing the session with a rib injury. Williams is the top candidate to replace Avonte Maddox as the team’s starting outside cornerback. He came in for Maddox after the 24-year-old left with an ankle injury during the Eagles' 23-23 tie against the Cincinnati Bengals at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday.
It’s unclear whether Williams' injury will jeopardize his game status, but his absence in Wednesday’s practice is still noteworthy since it will mean less reps with the Eagles' starting unit this week. The former Penn State corner appeared in two games last season with the Arizona Cardinals after spending his first three seasons with the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers. The Eagles signed him at the end of last season to a reserve/future contract and added him to the practice squad after training camp, before promoting him last weekend.
Sanders missed nearly all of training camp and sat out Week 1 because of a hamstring injury and was apparently working to catch up on his conditioning to become the Eagles' featured running back. Now he’s limited again in practice. Eagles coach Doug Pederson alluded to Sanders struggling to stay fresh throughout games during his Monday news conference.
“It just so happened that in Miles' case, you go back the week before, and not to make excuses or whatever, but there was a little fatigue that set in,” Pederson said. “Miles alluded to that. He was battling through some things [Sunday] during the game, and we had to be cautious late in the game. And there’s times where you make the decision to maybe shift gears and go a little different direction, and that’s what we did [Sunday].”
JJ Arcega-Whiteside also missed practice with a calf injury. Pederson said the second-year receiver came up with an injury during the Eagles' pregame warmups before the Bengals game.
Fletcher Cox sat with an abdominal injury that had him questionable for last Sunday’s game, while Rudy Ford and Maddox both missed practice with injuries expected to hold them out for a few weeks. Jason Peters, Jamon Brown, and Jack Driscoll all sat because of an illness, although it’s unclear what the illness is. Players can be listed under that designation for a number of reasons, including symptoms consistent with coronavirus and exposure to someone with those symptoms. Until a player is added to the COVID-19/reserve list, it’s not necessarily related to someone testing positive.
DeSean Jackson was held out with a hamstring injury. Alshon Jeffery was limited with a Lisfranc foot injury, and Lane Johnson was limited with an ankle injury. Jason Kelce was held out for rest.
For the first time all season, the Eagles are expecting to have the same offensive line configuration two games in a row.
Pederson said the team plans to leave Nate Herbig and Matt Pryor in at their respective guard spots, leaving Herbig on the left and Pryor remaining the starter at right guard. Herbig started the season at right guard but switched when Isaac Seumalo went down with a knee injury in Week 2. Pryor, who had a fall from grace after getting plenty of first-team reps at multiple spots, finally had his number called and appears to have held down his starting spot.
“The guys actually really settled in this past weekend,” Pederson said. “[They] did a nice job in the game, and so there’s no need to really shift too many guys around. Herbig has done an outstanding job for us starting out at right and then playing left, and Pryor filling in last week. So we don’t feel the need at this point. We will get Jamon Brown more reps just to get him caught up with the offense, but other than that, we don’t feel the need right now to make any changes there.”