Philadelphia Eagles: Mounting injuries are a concern for Week 1

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia Eagles are currently battling a string of injuries that could impact the roster heading into their Week 1 clash with the Atlanta Falcons.

Professional football is not a game for the faint of heart.

Widely considered the most grueling game on the planet, injuries are seen not as something that could happen, but something is expected to happen every year. That’s the nature of going to war with other humans while wearing a helmet and pads.

The reigning Superbowl champion Philadelphia Eagles are no strangers to the reality of professional football injuries, as they spent the majority of last season without their star left tackle, Pro Bowl running back, and MVP-robbed quarterback.

Injuries happen to all teams, especially early in camp, but with three weeks until the first dust-up against the Atlanta Falcons, the Eagles are dealing with several injuries that could provide somewhat of a cloudy outlook in terms of who will be on the field for that game. The Eagles are still considered one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl again this year, but in order to do that, they will need to stay relatively healthy.

Let’s begin with Carson Wentz. The Eagles’ franchise quarterback spent the offseason recovering from ACL/PCL surgery that ended his season. The hope was that Wentz would be ready to start the season, but there are those that would prefer to see the young signal caller wait a few weeks into the schedule.

After all, most sports surgeons will tell you that the ACL injury is typically a two-year injury, meaning that the new ligament does not fully become one hundred percent attached to the body until well after that first year of rehabilitation.  And while the player will feel that he or she can move and cut better than ever, there is still the risk of reinjury with a part of the body that is still fairly new.

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With that being said, what has been shown of Wentz thus far should be considered promising.

Wentz looks good running and cutting, and his throwing looks to be even more improved. What’s probably the most promising development is that Wentz was just recently cleared for 11-on-11 contact drills. This means that the doctors are confident that Wentz is basically ready for action. It would not be a surprise to see Wentz hit the field for the Falcons game, though most fans are probably OK if he’s held out just a little bit longer.

The news surrounding wide receiver Alshon Jeffery is a little bit more concerning. It was reported this past week that Jeffery, who is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, could start the season on the PUP list (via Chris Wesseling, Typically, this means the player would not be available until Week 6. That’s a good chunk of the season to be missing your best wide receiver.

The hope is that Jeffery recovers in time for Week 1, otherwise the team won’t have any other choice but to start him on the PUP list. Head coach Doug Pederson has been reluctant to provide any concrete timetables for any of his injured players, especially Wentz and his wide receivers. This is a situation that will be closely watched heading into September.

Speaking of the wide receivers, the Eagles are also dealing with an injury to Nelson Agholor (via Zach Berman, that could keep him out until Week 1 as well. And while it’s not necessarily a doomsday development that the Eagles could be without their two best wide receivers for the majority of the preseason, it would be nice to get those players some solid reps in a game situation just to keep them fresh.

Other injured players of note include Nick Foles (shoulder strain), TE Richard Rodgers (knee), Corey Clement (lower body), Jalen Mills (undisclosed), and Donnel Pumphrey.

The Eagles certainly have the talent on their roster to run the table again this year as legitimate Superbowl contenders, but, like every other team, they will have to contend with injuries and hopefully avoid the season-ending ones.

Fans certainly shouldn’t panic about players like Wentz, Jeffery, and Agholor yet, but at this point, it’s hard to argue that the Eagles would be just as good without them. They’ve proved oddsmakers wrong last year by winning without an absurd number of high impact players, but that’s not a game you want to play year in and year out.

So, there are some concerns as to what kind of team will be showing up to Mercedes-Benz Stadium on September 6 for the opening game of the 2018 NFL season. Foles should be fine, but he didn’t exactly light it up against the New England Patriots in his preseason outing.

That said, as long as he’s healthy, Foles has proven he is more than capable of running the show.

The wide receivers, however, are more of a concern, as the Eagles could need to find someone to play on the outside and in the slot for the first few weeks of the season. Sure, the emergence of Shelton Gibson certainly helps, but without Jeffery, the Birds are missing that big body on the outside.

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The Eagles should have a clearer picture of the overall roster as the next few weeks play out, but hopefully, as camp winds down, the players who’ve been hit by the injury bug begin to approach Week 1 readiness. The Eagles will need their best players to navigate their first place schedule, and should they have all hands on deck, including Wentz and Jeffery, they will be one of the toughest teams to play against in the NFL once more.