Tackling a tough subject: should Eagles let Jason Peters and/or Lane Johnson rest and heal for a few weeks?
Eagles will use extra time before Carolina game to figure out how to handle some key injuries.
As Doug Pederson noted Friday, the Eagles have some time to think this weekend, having already won their Week 6 game Thursday night at the Giants. There are decisions to be made, as management and the coaching staff ponder the fact that both starting offensive tackles are ailing, Jason Peters with a quad strain and a biceps tear, Lane Johnson with a high ankle sprain.
The Eagles also are probably going to be without nickel corner Sidney Jones for at least a few games, Jones "week to week," Pederson said, with a hamstring injury that took him out of Thursday's game in the second quarter. This further depletes a secondary already missing starting safety Rodney McLeod, lost for the season to a knee injury.
Both Peters and Johnson also left Thursday's game, though Pederson acknowledged that Johnson could have come back in, had the Eagles not held a substantial second-half lead when he tweaked his ankle.
It's still possible that Peters' season has ended in October for the second season in a row; when Pederson spoke Friday, he very tentatively thought Peters had dodged a bullet, that his left biceps injury was not serious, though further tests were needed.
"Early indication … I don't want to speculate too much, but it's positive, and we'll see. Kind of a day-to-day, and I've just got to wait and make sure that all the information is accurate," Pederson said.
Pederson didn't go into detail, but generally, with biceps tendon tears, the closer the tear to the shoulder, the more function the player retains. The closer it is to the elbow, the more likely it is the player won't be able to play again without season-ending surgery.
Peters indicated after the game that he felt he was OK, but of course, he isn't a doctor.
It's worth noting that the world did not come crashing down on Carson Wentz's head when both Peters and Johnson had to leave the game. Granted, the team had a large, late lead, and the Eagles were mostly running the ball to wind the clock, but Halapoulivaati Vaitai at left tackle, Stefen Wisniewski at left guard, and Isaac Seumalo at right tackle all looked fairly comfortable, though Vaitai did give up the Eagles' only sack of the evening to Olivier Vernon.
Earlier, Peters and Johnson clearly struggled. On back-to-back first-quarter plays, Peters took a holding penalty against Vernon, then couldn't stop Vernon from hitting Wentz and causing a pass to fall incomplete. Wentz's next throw also fell incomplete, because Kareem Martin reached past Johnson to hit Wentz's arm.
Maybe, even if Peters' bicep isn't seriously injured, it's time to consider giving him some time off to heal anyway. And the same could hold true for Johnson, who was injured in the Minnesota game, Pederson confirmed.
"I get what you're saying. Those are all things we'll consider. We've got time," Pederson said, when a reporter asked about giving Peters some recovery time, at age 36. "We've got 10 days before we play again, and we'll see where all our guys are … in a week or so. But right now, we're not going to make any of those determinations after this one game. I want to get through the weekend, get to next week, and see where everybody is at, coming up.
"But definitely, yeah, we'll have those conversations."
Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and his staff also will have conversations, Pederson indicated, after the Eagles finished Thursday's game with second-year corner Rasul Douglas playing safety for the first time in his life. Douglas was filling in for Avonte Maddox, the original replacement for McLeod, who moved down to nickel corner when Jones went down.
Pederson said the staff would have more time to work with special-teamers/safeties Deiondre' Hall and Tre Sullivan before the Eagles host Carolina Oct. 21.
"Going forward, we've got to get everybody prepared," Pederson said.
*Odell Beckham's longest catch of the game, a 12-yarder on third and 15 that led to a Giants punt, came in the first quarter.
*Kamu Grugier-Hill, who intercepted Eli Manning's second pass of the evening, likes playing in MetLife Stadium; he blocked a punt in his previous visit, last December.
*He had one muff that he quickly recovered, but overall, DeAndre Carter continued to impress as a punt returner. Carter, finally on a roster and playing after four years of practice squads and occasional unemployment, reeled off a 23-yarder, and made people miss on most of his five returns, which averaged 9.4 yards against good coverage.
*Even better was punter Cam Johnston. Hard to argue with a 48.0 gross and a 48.0 net on five tries, including landing two punts inside the 20.
*Saquon Barkley made Jalen Mills, Derek Barnett, Jordan Hicks and Rasul Douglas miss on that 55-yard jaunt with a screen pass, before Brandon Graham ran him down from behind. Barkley finished a yard shy of becoming the first player in Giants history with 100 rushing yards (130 on 13 carries) and 100 receiving yards (99 on nine catches) in a game. He'll probably do that before the year is out.
That you could throw for 281 yards in a game without ever being able to hit on a pass that really mattered? People who have been watching Eli Manning all season did, I guess.
Jake Elliott, who was 17 of 19 last season on field goals from 40-plus yards, is now 0-for-3 on those in 2018 – but he is 10-for-10 on attempts under 40 yards. Last year, Elliott was just nine of 12 there.
Jordan Matthews caught only two passes Thursday night, for 26 yards, but they were well-timed catches.
Maybe you recall that on the Eagles' first series after Saquon Barkley's 50-yard touchdown run that briefly stirred the Giants to life, down 31-13 in the third quarter, Wendell Smallwood fumbled. The officials initially gave the ball to the Giants, Alec Ogletree coming out of a squirming pile holding it aloft. Replay review showed Smallwood clearly gathering the ball back into his chest, on the ground, before the melee, so the decision was reversed.
Still, it was a bit of a shaky time, given what happened to the Eagles at Tennessee, when they blew a 17-3 third-quarter lead into an overtime loss. After Thursday's non-fumble, five minutes and 34 seconds remained in the third.
The next play was third-and-8 from the Eagles' 26. Carson Wentz found Matthews over the middle on a slant for 10 yards and a first down.
After a three-yard run and a Giants sack, it was third-and-15. Same pattern, same receiver, same result, 16 yards, first down.
The Eagles were able to run off all the remaining third-quarter time before sending Jake Elliott out for a 30-yard field goal, on the second play of the fourth quarter, that set the final score.
"Carson's a beast. He knows how to put it on the front digit [of a jersey]. When he does that, all you have to do is bring it in and get the conversion," Matthews said.
Matthews, typecast as a slot receiver in his first Eagles iteration, is lining up outside more this time, as he was on both those plays.
"I gotta say I think people made too much of the whole inside-outside thing, I've said that from the very beginning," Matthews said.
He seemed to have drawn a long pass interference penalty on an incompletion on a post pattern earlier in the game, but after conferring, the officials picked up the flag. The Eagles still got a first down on the play when B.J. Hill was called for roughing Wentz.