Who will be available to play for the Eagles on Saturday Night?
As the Philadelphia Eagles get ready to play the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night, we are learning more about who will be available to play in front of the Eagles' fans at Lincoln Financial Field:
The All-Pro Center was one of the long list of players who were placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 List on Monday. Jason Kelce has started 121 consecutive games at Center for the Eagles, so this move opens the door for him to keep his "Iron Man Streak" going. The most experienced guy to play Center if Jason Kelce was unavailable or if the team decides to not play him the full game on Saturday Night is Luke Juriga. The usual backup Center, Nate Herbig, has been playing at Right Guard in recent weeks and is currently still on the COVID-19/Reserve List.
On Thursday's Injury Report, the Eagles ruled out one player and listed two others as Questionable for Saturday Night's game:
No one should be surprised that Miles Sanders has been ruled out since he is still recovering from breaking a bone in his hand. The real issue at Running Back is that Jordan Howard and Boston Scott are still on the COVID/Reserve List; Now there is a real chance they could still be cleared ahead of Saturday Night's game, but what kind of condition will they be in after not practicing all week and the team playing on a short week? Currently, Philadelphia has Running Backs Kerryon Johnson and Jason Huntley on the Practice Squad who could play on Saturday Night.
The two Questionable players are both on the Offensive Line: Landon Dickerson and Lane Johnson. While Johnson is listed all week with the "Rest" designation, Dickerson is the one we have to keep an eye on. During this past Sunday's game in Washington, Dickerson looked to be grimacing in between plays and now we know it is a thumb issue. This is why I did not mention him earlier as a guy who could fill in for Jason Kelce at Center, because if the thumb that is bothering him is on what would be his snapping hand, then he would not be able to fill in. If Dickerson and Johnson do not play or only play limited snaps in NFL Week 18, expect to see Jack Anderson at one of the Guard positions and Le'Raven Clark at Right Tackle
One more group of players and position group to keep an eye on heading into Saturday night's game is the Quarterbacks. Jalen Hurts has been listed as a "Full Participant" at practice this week and he would be available to go against the Cowboys. But there are injury concerns for a team headed to the playoffs and many people do not want to put the starting Quarterback in "harms' way" when the team needs him to play the next week. We have seen Gardner Minshew getting playing time at Quarterback this season but we have not seen third-string QB Reid Sinnett this season. Maybe this is a game where you let Jalen Hurts and Jason Kelce start, play one drive, then sit them both and let the second-team offense play out the game.
Of course, if Eagles Head Coach Nick Sirianni really wanted to do some "funny business", he could reprise what former Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid did back on January 6th, 2002: In the Eagles final game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Reid sent Donovan McNabb out for one play and then pulled him for the rest of the game. This means McNabb was the official starter at Quarterback but his backups that season, AJ Feeley and Koy Detmer, took the rest of the snaps that day. Crazy idea, but who knows right?