The Eagles will have four starters in flux for Sunday’s game against Washington.
Nelson Agholor, Jordan Howard, Derek Barnett, and Ronald Darby are listed as questionable for the NFC East matchup at FedEx Field. Agholor hasn’t practiced all week with a knee injury he said he initially suffered in Week 6 against Minnesota. He missed Monday’s Giants game and said he’s in a “stalemate” with his swollen knee.
Barnett also has missed practice all week after sitting during the Giants game with an ankle injury suffered the week before against Miami. The defensive end was replaced by Vinny Curry, who played well against the Giants, sacking Eli Manning twice.
Howard is almost six weeks removed from suffering a shoulder stinger against the Chicago Bears on Nov. 3. Coach Doug Pederson said the running back has yet to be cleared for contact. Howard was the leading rusher on the team before going down, with 525 yards this season, but Miles Sanders surpassed him against New York and sits at 565.
Darby popped up on the injury report Friday with a bad hip flexor after practicing all week. The cornerback struggled Monday, giving up two touchdowns to Giants rookie receiver Darius Slayton.
The Eagles will be without starting right tackle Lane Johnson, who is “week to week” with a high ankle sprain suffered against the Giants. Pederson said he will go with Halapoulivaati Vaitai at Johnson’s spot against Washington instead of trying to incorporate rookie tackle Andre Dillard back into the line, whether on the right side or on the left with veteran Jason Peters sliding over to the right.
Peters offered to make the switch after Dillard struggled in replacing Johnson at right tackle against Seattle last month. But Pederson is going with Vaitai, a four-year veteran swing tackle who filled in for Peters during the Eagles’ 2017 Super Bowl run.
Linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill and cornerback Jalen Mills were both full participants in practice Friday and are expected to play. Mills hurt an elbow against the Giants, and Grugier-Hill is coming back after being cleared for a concussion he initially hid during the Dolphins game.
Doug Pederson calls Grugier-Hill’s fib ‘selfish’
Pederson called Grugier-Hill’s decision to hide his head injury against the Dolphins “selfish” and “disappointing” during his Friday news conference.
The linebacker said he got concussed on the first play against the Dolphins, but told medical personnel that he’d hurt his shoulder.
“First play, can’t come out that fast,” Grugier-Hill said Thursday.
He finished the game with the head injury.
“We stress how important it is for our players to, one, either self-police themselves and/or a teammate, kind of say something to a medical team member of this importance,” Pederson said. “We know how important head and neck injuries are to our league and to just the person, the player himself and the well-being of the player. So from that standpoint, to have this come back like this and for him to admit what he has said and done, it’s very disappointing for me as a head coach. ... It’s not a reflection on the team or anything like that. It’s just one guy who made a bad decision.”
Pederson was asked if being a former player himself could help him understand why Grugier-Hill wanted to stay in the game.
“Yeah, you can. But, listen, our game has changed since I played and maybe then you could,” he said. “But now there’s too many things in place, too many protocols, too many standards that we as coaches and as players, we’re trying to protect our game and the well-being of every player. In a sense, it’s a little bit of a selfish act to take it upon yourself and make that decision when he could have gotten checked out right away and probably would have cleared to go back in the game at that point.”