Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts was a full participant in practice on Friday for the first time in three weeks. And now he’ll have two extra days to prepare for the postponed game against Washington on Tuesday.
Even before the game was pushed back, coach Nick Sirianni indicated Hurts was on pace to return from a high ankle sprain against Washington, though the team listed him as questionable on the final injury report. If Hurts isn’t fully ready, the team will rely on backup Gardner Minshew, who had a team season-best 80% completion rate in the victory over the New York Jets.
“He’s trending in the right direction and we’re hopeful,” Sirianni said of Hurts. “He’s been in this mentally, and he’s prepared like he’s going [to start] all week. He had a great practice. I feel confident and really good of where he’s at right now.”
The Eagles received positive news regarding Hurts on a day when Washington placed its own starter, Taylor Heinicke, on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Heinicke is one of 23 reported players on Washington’s reserve/COVID-19 list as the team continues to deal with an outbreak that had the league deciding to postpone Sunday’s game to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Lincoln Financial Field.
After Hurts suffered the injury against the Giants on Nov. 28, he was ruled out against the Jets in Week 13. The Eagles were off last week, which provided Hurts extra time to rehab. He was initially limited during Wednesday and Thursday’s sessions before being upgraded to full participation.
All of this occurs while both teams are in the middle of a playoff chase with only four regular-season games remaining. A victory would catapult the Eagles into the NFC’s final playoff spot, which Washington possesses with the No. 7 seed.
Washington currently has a depleted roster and a conundrum under center. With Heinicke and backup Kyle Allen both on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Washington brought in a pair of reinforcements this week by signing quarterbacks Jordan Ta’amu and Garrett Gilbert. Washington also has Kyle Shurmur — the son of former Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur — on the practice squad.
With no set quarterback in Washington, how has that changed preparations for the Eagles?
“Our video department has everything of what we need to see,” Sirianni said. “It’s about scheme and players and talent and what they do. Obviously we’ve done a lot of homework at getting that information. Our video department has cut-ups of everybody, every play they’ve ever played in any situation. We can sort anything we want. We have the ability to watch any player we want.”