The Eagles will have cornerback Darius Slay and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox in the lineup for Sunday’s home game against the New Orleans Saints.
Slay was limited all week with a knee injury suffered last Sunday against Green Bay but is expected to go anyway. Cox didn’t practice Wednesday or Friday with a neck injury, although he was a full participant in Thursday’s session.
The team will also have wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (calf) and defensive end Derek Barnett (pelvis), both of whom were limited earlier in the week.
A rash of hamstring injuries will sideline linebacker T.J. Edwards, safety Rudy Ford, and cornerback Michael Jacquet against the 10-2 Saints, and left tackle Jason Peters will miss the rest of the season with a toe injury.
The loss of Edwards will leave the Eagles’ already-thin linebacking corps barren. Edwards was filling in for Nate Gerry, who was placed on injured reserve in October with an Achilles injury that required surgery. The Eagles signed linebacker Joe Bachie off the Saints’ practice squad earlier this week and protected practice-squad linebacker Rashad Smith ahead of the game.
Bachie hasn’t officially joined the team, instead participating in meetings virtually while undergoing the league’s COVID-19 testing protocols. But he is expected to be cleared to play this weekend.
In Edwards’ absence, the team could turn to Duke Riley, Bachie, or sixth-round rookie Shaun Bradley. Bradley, from Temple, has primarily played special teams this season but has been used in some goal-line situations. Riley has started seven games this season and played 55% of the team’s defensive snaps.
Wentz the backup
Coach Doug Pederson confirmed Friday that Carson Wentz will be active as the Eagles backup quarterback against the Saints.
Pederson said he expected Wentz to assume the backup role earlier in the week but wanted to see how the week in practice went before making a determination. Both Pederson and passing game coordinator Press Taylor praised Wentz’s approach to practice this week, primarily focused on being the scout-team quarterback.
“Carson has been an absolute pro,” Taylor said. “He’s done everything we’ve expected of him in this situation. He’s doing everything he can, like he always has, to help the team win this week. Whether the role changes or not, the approach across the board within the organization has always been to win.”
Pederson added, “He’s handled it like a pro. He’s gone out to practice, you see him, he’s taking reps obviously with the service team and providing a really good look for our defense and has done a great job in helping Jalen. He’s been involved in the meetings, and [done] just what I expected.”
Mills the scout
Safety Jalen Mills and his teammates have apparently been on the receiving end of some expletives from defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, thanks to their new starting quarterback.
Mills, who earlier this season saw wide receiver Travis Fulgham’s torrid five-week stretch coming because of his scout-team performances, said Hurts has given the defense all it can handle n practice recently.
“The past three weeks on our Fridays, it’s red zone, compete day. He was on the scout team, of course. He would make some crazy throws on us, man,” Mills said Friday. “Some crazy throws. It’d have Coach Schwartz cussing us out, guys on the defense mad, [ticked] off.
“But that’s what you want. You want that competition on the other side of the ball. You see him making those throws, and it’s a guy, you’re like, he’s a rookie. He can use his legs. He’s not a guy who’s just trying to run because the pocket is collapsing. He was sitting in the pocket, and he was making accurate throws on tight coverage. So, for sure, I think that’s kind of one of the things that sparked my eye, that he’s comfortable sitting in the pocket.”