Eagles leave J.J. Arcega-Whiteside inactive, as Alshon Jeffery returns vs. the Giants to no effect
Lane Johnson returned to the lineup at right tackle, but the team decided to give left guard Isaac Seumalo more practice time before activating him off IR. Guard play was not crisp.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. --- JJ Arcega-Whiteside played just five snaps in the Eagles' pre-bye-week victory over Dallas, and he didn’t take a special- teams snap. So it wasn’t shocking Sunday when the Eagles did not activate the 2019 second-round wideout for their NFC East visit to the New York Giants.
Arcega-Whiteside has caught just two passes for 45 yards this season, after a shockingly unproductive rookie year in which he played all 16 games, with five starts, but managed only 10 catches for 169 yards and one touchdown. He missed this season’s San Francisco game with a calf injury, but this was his first time on the inactive list
The Eagles had Alshon Jeffery ready to make his 2020 debut, coming back from foot surgery in December 2019. Jeffery played the first few series, and Carson Wentz overthrew him on the Eagles' first possession, but he wasn’t targeted again and didn’t seem to be on the field very often.
As expected, right tackle Lane Johnson returned to the lineup after battling knee and ankle injuries. Johnson said he felt much better after having his ankle drained last week. But right guard Nate Herbig did not play except on special teams, Herbig suffering from a finger injury.
Also inactive were third quarterback Nate Sudfeld, corner Craig James (shoulder), offensive lineman Brett Toth, running back Jason Huntley, and wideout Quez Watkins.
Going into the weekend, there seemed to be a chance that Isaac Seumalo would return to his starting job at left guard, after missing the last six games with a knee injury. Seumalo practiced but was not activated from injured reserve. The starting guards were Sua Opeta and Matt Pryor. Carson Wentz was sacked three times and seldom had much time to step into downfield throws.
The Eagles brought up corner Michael Jacquet and tight end Caleb Wilson from their practice squad, with the two weekly slots allowed for that. They had an extra COVID-19 replacement spot, because safety Marcus Epps has tested positive, and they used that for defensive tackle T.Y. McGill.
Barwin steps in
The Eagles were minus player personnel director and defensive assistant Jeremiah Washburn on Sunday after a positive COVID-19 test. Fox’s Jay Glazer reported that the rest of the defensive line staff was quarantined during the week, presumably because of exposure to Washburn, with special assistant to the general manager Connor Barwin coaching the D-line.
Defensive line coach Matt Burke and assistant Nathan Ollie were back on the job Sunday. So don’t blame Barwin for the lousy start against the run, Sunday, probably.
Fulgham quiet against Giants
Travis Fulgham’s dramatic ascension up the ranks of wide receivers hit a speed bump.
The Eagles' second-year receiver was promoted from the practice squad in Week 4 and quickly became one of the most productive pass-catchers in the league over a five-week stretch, but he was quiet against the Giants.
Fulgham was targeted five times and had just one catch for 8 yards. He didn’t have a catch in the final three quarters of the game, and he dropped a potential first-down pass in the fourth quarter. It looked as if maybe Carson Wentz saw safety Jabril Peppers lurking if he tried to lead Fulgham, so he threw to the back shoulder, hoping Fulgham would sit in a hole. Fulgham kept running, reached back, and couldn’t bring the ball in.
Fulgham has been the Eagles' leading receiver this season. Sunday he took a back seat to Jalen Reagor, who was targeted a team-high seven times for four catches and 47 yards, and Richard Rodgers, who had five targets, four catches, and 60 yards.