Eagles coach Doug Pederson said Saturday that it doesn’t look as if tight end Zach Ertz will be ready to play Monday night when the Eagles host the Seattle Seahawks.
Ertz suffered a serious ankle injury Oct. 18 against Baltimore. At the start of last week, the Eagles opened his 21-day window to return to the roster, and when Pederson spoke earlier in the week, he seemed hopeful that Carson Wentz’s most-trusted target could return against the Seahawks, who are 6-0 against the Eagles over the last decade.
“We’re still a little cautious with him. … I’m hoping that next week he’ll be available,” Pederson said. “No setback. I was optimistic [earlier],” but from the way practice has gone, and after speaking with Ertz, the decision was that “he probably won’t be ready.”
Ertz was not listed on the final official injury report, because he is still in the 21-day window and hasn’t been placed on the roster. However, the Eagles opened a roster space Saturday when they placed backup guard Sua Opeta on IR. Opeta now has to miss at least three games.
When guard Nate Herbig abruptly disappeared from the lineup, after playing every offensive snap of the first eight games, observers were puzzled. Herbig had a finger injury that affected his ability to use one hand, but he stopped appearing on the injury report and then was inactive last week at Cleveland.
Reporters got to chat with offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland on Saturday, and Stoutland said there was no problem. Apparently, Stoutland and the Eagles just value Matt Pryor (now moving to tackle) and Sua Opeta (placed on IR with a back injury Saturday) more than fans and reporters do.
“Nate Herbig did nothing wrong,” Stoutland said. “Every player, during the course of the season, gets banged up here, banged up there, and you have to assess whether that player, at that point, is still going to be capable of performing the task at hand.” He said Herbig “is a valuable part of our offensive line, and I think that having some time [off] to feel better and all that is going to help.”
Stoutland called Opeta’s development in recent weeks “outstanding.”
In addition to Sua Opeta, safety and special-teams gunner Rudy Ford will miss Monday’s game with a hamstring injury, the Eagles said. Jason Peters, battling turf toe, is listed as “questionable,” though interviews Saturday indicated coaches and teammates assume he is playing.