The Eagles’ offensive line has seen enough turbulence over the past few months, without Lane Johnson’s presence at right tackle being placed in doubt for Sunday’s season opener at Washington.
When Doug Pederson wouldn’t commit Wednesday morning to Johnson being ready by Sunday, against a strong Washington defensive front seven, that seemed like a big deal. The team already has seen right guard Brandon Brooks go down to a June Achilles tear, replaced by Jason Peters, who then moved back to left tackle this week, in the wake of Andre Dillard’s biceps tear. Backup Matt Pryor is now the starting right guard. Pederson had just finished talking about how well Pryor worked with Johnson when Pederson seemed to indicate that might not be happening at Washington.
But Johnson, sidelined since Aug. 23 with an ankle injury, was at his familiar post when practice began, though he subsequently was listed as “limited.” Generally, a lineman who can practice on a limited basis on Wednesday is good to go by Sunday, though that is not a rule or anything.
Running back Miles Sanders (hamstring), wide receiver Jalen Reagor (shoulder), and defensive end Derek Barnett (hamstring) also were limited practice participants. Reagor fielded punts, indicating that he might be ready for the opener after all; earlier reports indicated it would be another week or two. Defensive tackle Javon Hargrave (pectoral and hamstring) and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (foot) did not practice. They aren’t expected to play this week.
Pryor, meanwhile, has had an interesting summer. He was the starting right guard briefly after Brooks went down and before Peters returned from free agency. Then he was the left tackle when Dillard went down and it seemed like Peters wasn’t going to protect Carson Wentz’s blindside without a pay raise. This week, Pryor is the right guard again, which is probably good, because that’s the only position Pryor (6-foot-7, 332) has actually started at in an NFL game. He was at right guard in the playoff loss to Seattle after Brooks suffered a shoulder injury in the regular-season finale.
“That was obviously valuable experience for him to step in and play that right guard position,” Pederson said. "He’s comfortable over there. He and Lane work well together and did last year ... and hopefully he continues to grow in that position.
“He’s a big man. He’s a physical man. ... Having played the position gives him that experience moving forward, and hopefully he can really take it and just kind of roll with it, and embrace the opportunity that he has in front of him, and this will be really good for him.”
T.Y. McGill returns, with Hargrave hobbled
The Eagles added veteran defensive tackle T.Y. McGill to their practice squad on Wednesday.
McGill, 27, has been on eight NFL teams. This is his third go-round with the Eagles, including a look-see last week just before the roster cutdown. McGill played in two Eagles games in 2018, and has 37 NFL games to his credit overall. The decision to bring him aboard comes with Javon Hargrave still not practicing, three weeks after suffering a pec strain. In Wednesday’s first specific injury report of the season, the Eagles added a hamstring to Hargrave’s report, so don’t look for Hargrave in the opener.
This year, each team can activate two practice-squad members per week to the active roster, but it must be choosy because each player can only come up from the practice squad in this manner twice during the season.
The Eagles announced the names of no fewer than eight 2020 team captains, which is a lot.
From the offense, the 'C" goes to Carson Wentz, Jason Kelce, and Jason Peters. Defensive captains are Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, and Rodney McLeod. Special-teams captains are Craig James and Duke Riley.