Good morning and happy new year, Eagles fans. Welcome to 2020, hopefully you’re not too groggy from staying up late. Be courteous to all the new gym goers and the people crowding the produce aisle.

The Eagles will hold practice today after giving the players Tuesday off. Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz will speak with reporters later today. It will be interesting to see who is and who isn’t at practice this afternoon. Lane Johnson is supposedly getting closer, while Miles Sanders and Zach Ertz are both somewhat up in the air for Sunday’s game.

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— EJ Smith (earlybirds@inquirer.com)

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson (left) and offensive coordinator Mike Groh.
DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer / File Photograph
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson (left) and offensive coordinator Mike Groh.

Expecting the unexpected

After the Eagles’ 17-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks earlier this season, K.J. Wright took a victory lap while talking to reporters. He said the Eagles’ offense was predictable, and that he and his Seahawks teammates knew what was coming.

The linebacker snuffed out a tight end screen during the team’s Nov. 24 matchup at Lincoln Financial Field, tackling Dallas Goedert for a loss of 3 yards. Wright, who is in his ninth season, had 12 total tackles in the game.

"We were just out there communicating, calling the plays out — it was fun,’’ Wright said, according to the Seattle Times. “I know they had some guys hurt. That said, it’s still the NFL and you’ve got to come with it.’’

With the wild-card round game coming up, what is Eagles’ offensive coordinator Mike Groh doing about Wright’s apparent familiarity with their offense?

“Yeah, we figure we just run the same ones as last time so that he probably won’t be expecting it,” Groh said jokingly before offering: “We have to do a great job of changing things that we do. We know they do a heck of a job out there in Seattle. Have a lot of respect for their coaching staff and their players. They have smart players. Sometimes that’s the case regardless … but people know that we want to get the ball to our guys on some screens.”

This season wasn’t the first time Wright called out the repetitive nature of an Eagles offensive scheme. In 2014, Wright made headlines by calling Chip Kelly’s offense “basic" after a 24-14 Eagles loss.

The 30-year-old had one of his best seasons to date, posting career-highs in total tackles (132), interceptions (3), and pass breakups (11).

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz jogs off the field after the victory over the Giants.
TIM TAI / Staff Photographer
Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz jogs off the field after the victory over the Giants.

What you need to know about the Eagles

From the mailbag

Who can we realistically expect to have back for the playoff game against Seattle? Could we see Jordan Howard step in for the injured Miles Sanders and maybe even Zach Ertz or DeSean Jackson back too? — Dan May (@dannmaal) via Twitter

Good question, Dan. Today’s injury report will be very informative as to whom the Eagles are hoping to get back. I think Jordan Howard will be available again, and would imagine he’d be able to play at least a slightly bigger role, especially if Sanders is out. The Eagles did something similar with Jay Ajayi earlier this season when they signed him to the active roster just to have him stand on the sideline. He got a bigger role the next game before eventually getting cut.

I think the team’s decision to sign Elijah Holyfield tells you the front office believes it needs some depth at running back. I would be surprised if Zach Ertz plays, plain and simple. Even if he wanted to, which it sounds like he does, it goes without saying that organ damage is extremely serious. If Ertz is trying to come back, I tip my cap off to him for trying to play a contact sport with an injury that would leave most of us laid up on a couch for weeks. I doubt he’ll get cleared. I think Lane Johnson has a chance of playing this week, as does Avonte Maddox. Again, today’s injury report will begin to paint a better picture.