Alshon Jeffery is Cleared for Contact
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Eagles receiver Alshon Jeffery has been cleared for contact and could play on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans.
The Eagles have struggled mightily at the receiver position early this season due to injury as deep threats Mike Wallace (fibula) and Mack Hollins (groin) have joined Jeffery, the team's top wideout, on the shelf.
Jeffery has been rehabbing from rotator-cuff surgery in the offseason and the hope was that he would be able to return by Week 1 but that's was ultimately pushed back. Pederson would not commit to playing Jeffery against the Titans but a full week of practice after being cleared by doctors was the demarcation line for Carson Wentz so the expectation is that Jeffery will be in the lineup in Nashville.
"We need to see where he's at physically with everything he's gone through," Pederson said. "It's a situation where you want to make sure the player is 100 percent right when he's back on the field."
Jeffery, 28, returned to practice for individual drills two weeks ago and has slowly been ramped up from there. He played the entire 2017 season with a torn rotator cuff suffered in the preseason but was still the team's top WR, playing in all 16 games and notching 57 receptions for 789 yards and nine touchdowns.
He then upped his game in the postseason, hauling in 12 catches for 219 yards and three scored before undergoing surgery in February after the SSuper Bowl LII victory.
With Jeffery out of the lineup, the Eagles have slowly shifted to using more 12 (two tight ends) and 13 personnel (three TEs), something that will begin to change when he returns to the lineup.
"It definitely gives us a shot in the arm on offense," Pederson said. "He makes a huge difference for us."
Quarterback Carson Wentz, who just returned last week after finishing rehab from ACL/LCL knee surgery, agreed:
“Anytime Alshon’s out there, he brings a spark to the offense,” Wentz said. “He brings somebody that has the ability to make a play down the field and underneath and do some things really well.”
The band, as Pederson has called it, is slowly getting back together with the next dominos to fall being running backs Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles.
"We just finally get our quarterback back and we have had some injury at the running back position and receiver position," Pederson said. "So just getting some continuity and some flow with that group, getting them to play together is something that in these next few weeks will be important for us."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen