Report: Eagles' Miles Sanders, Zach Ertz out for game vs. Giants; and who's left on the offensive line?
The Eagles will be without at least two more key players as running back Miles Sanders and tight end Zach Ertz will sit out Thursday night against the New York Giants, according to an ESPN report.
Sanders hurt his knee on his 74-yard run in the third quarter in the Eagles' 30-28 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
ESPN reported that Ertz, who hurt his ankle shortly thereafter, is expected to miss at least 3-4 weeks, further depleting a position that is already without Dallas Goedert, who's on injured reserve with a fractured ankle.
Eagles coach Doug Pederson said earlier Monday that he didn't have an update on either player because they were still being evaluated by the team's medical personnel.
He also didn't have updates on other players who left the game with injuries in defensive tackle Malik Jackson (quad), right tackle Jack Driscoll (ankle) and safety K'Von Wallace (shoulder). But those players likely won't play Thursday night, either.
Driscoll, a rookie, was filling in for Lane Johnson, who missed the game with an ankle injury.
"Listen, nobody wants to go through a season with the amount of injuries that have piled up on us right now," Pederson said in an understatement.
Sanders is fourth in the NFL with 434 yards rushing, but leads all running backs with an average of 6.1 yards per carry. The Eagles' other running backs are Boston Scott and Corey Clement, who combined have 97 yards rushing, averaging 3.0 yards per carry.
The Eagles also have Jason Huntley and can promote Adrian Killins from the practice squad.
At tight end, the Eagles are left with veteran Richard Rodgers and Jason Croom, who was elevated from the practice squad for the game. Croom got one snap in the game, and it resulted in a 3-yard touchdown reception early in the fourth quarter to pull the Eagles to within 24-14.
Pederson said that he was "optimistic" that Johnson and wide receivers Alshon Jeffery (foot) and DeSean Jackson (hamstring) will play Thursday. But he cautioned that the Eagles are only doing walkthrough practices this week in preparation for the game. Pederson typically won't use a player if he hasn't taken part in a full practice.
After Thursday night, the Eagles don't play again until Nov. 1.
Still, the situation on the Eagles' offensive line is especially precarious. They began the game Sunday with four starters already sidelined, leaving center Jason Kelce as the only healthy starter.
Driscoll got hurt in the fourth quarter, leaving the Eagles to finish out the game with Brett Toth at right tackle. Toth was playing in his first career NFL game.
"I haven’t really been a part of something this drastic in my career," said Kelce, who's in his 10th season. "But you are always trying to overcome this stuff. You are always game planning, and coaching, and trying to get guys ready for whoever is going to be there on game day.
"At the end of the day, in this league, that is all that matters. You can’t make excuses."
The Eagles were already down to their third left tackle in Jordan Mailata and their third right guard in Jamon Brown. Brown was replacing Matt Pryor, whom the Eagles placed on the COVID-19 list Friday (Pryor was exposed to someone who tested positive for the coronavirus).
Pederson was asked who will play right guard Thursday night.
"As crazy as that sounds, we do have some options at right guard," he said.
But what if none of those options are any good?
Brown, after all, gave up three sacks to Calais Campbell. And Pederson wasn't ready to commit to Pryor starting if he's cleared to return by then.
"I’ll tell you it’s difficult this week because it’s a short week," Pederson said. "If we get him back, it’s hard to get the reps to be ready to be a starter. It’d be different if we had a full week and we were playing on Sunday or Monday.
"It’s just something we’ll have to look at and evaluate because some of these other guys will be getting the bulk of the reps today and tomorrow."
Pederson listed other options at right guard as Sua Opeta, who has 5 career snaps on offense, and moving left guard Nate Herbig back to right guard, where he began the season.
That, of course, would leave an opening at left guard.
It's no different at right tackle, if Johnson can't return and Driscoll can't play. Toth, who's 6-foot-6, 304 pounds, got a waiver from the Department of Defense to attend Eagles' training camp in 2019 after last playing at Army in 2017.
The Eagles exposed him to waivers after that preseason and the Arizona Cardinals claimed him. He never appeared in a game for Arizona. The Cardinals waived him on Sept. 4 and the Eagles claimed him Oct. 7.
The Eagles also have rookie Prince Tega Wanogho, their sixth-round pick, on the practice squad. Wanogho, however, played left tackle in college, and has never played right tackle.
Timeout needed on 2-point try
A day later, Pederson said he should have called a timeout before the Eagles' ill-fated attempt at a two-point conversion that would have tied the game against the Ravens with 1:55 remaining.
The Eagles were late in getting to the line of scrimmage, and the ball was snapped with just 1 second left on the play clock. Wentz tried to run a read-option with Scott that was stopped behind the line of scrimmage.
"A timeout in that situation could have been beneficial probably to get the play, or a better play possibly in there, so that's on me," Pederson said.
Contact Martin Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.