Multiple Starters Could Miss ‘MNF’ for Eagles
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The Eagles are likely to be without two starters for Monday night's matchup against the New York Giants and could be without as many as four.
Running back Jordan Howard is still not cleared for contact and almost certainly will miss his fourth consecutive game on "Monday Night Football," and he will likely have company on the inactive list in Kamu Grugier-Hill, who remains in concussion protocol 48 hours before the Eagles hope to start a late-season push toward the NFC East title.
Wide receiver Nelson Agholor (knee) and defensive end Derek Barnett (ankle) haven’t practiced during the week and were again absent Saturday during the small portion open to the media. Eagles coach Doug Pederson left the door open for them playing, however, and labeled both as potential game-time decisions.
"Nelson and Derek obviously we're going to see again today, see just exactly where they are," Pederson said. "Try to get through the day's practice. Might be more game-time with both of those guys. They're both working extremely hard."
Grugier-Hill reported concussion symptoms on Thursday after getting through Sunday's loss in Miami and speaking with the media on Wednesday.
"I didn't see him Monday or Tuesday. Obviously players were off, so my first time to see him was Wednesday," Pederson explained. "Again, it was Thursday when he was complaining of symptoms."
If Agholor can’t play against the Giants, the Eagles would be down to three healthy receivers after waiving Mack Hollins, meaning a heavier workload for the recently-promoted Greg Ward and rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, alongside veteran Alshon Jeffery. Pederson also noted that Josh Perkins, a former college receiver at Washington turned flex tight end in the pros could supplement the group.
"We're very comfortable with the guys we have. If it's three, it's three," Pederson said. "We brought up Perk a week ago to help us there, so that's an addition there. Then we go play. We'll discuss those over the course of the next couple days leading up to the game. If we have to make a decision, we will. But we're very comfortable and feel good with the guys we have in that receiver room."
With Barnett iffy, the recently-acquired Genard Avery, as well as the little-used Daeshon Hall and Shareef Miller, might also get opportunities as potential rotational options behind Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, and Josh Sweat.
"We have Daeshon and Shareef and can obviously bring either one or both of those up in that situation," the coach noted. "Genard Avery is a guy we brought on our roster a couple weeks ago, so he would fill that role just a little bit more. Then, of course, Josh Sweat and Vinny. So we have guys that can fill that role, even fill the tackle spot as well. Moving Vinny in there. BG [Brandon Graham] has been there before. We have options there."
All-Pro right tackle Lane Johnson also missed practice for a second consecutive day Saturday with a personal issue but is expected to play Monday night.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen