With Jeffery Out, What’s Eagles Passing Game Look Like?
Just as the Eagles seemed to finally be getting healthy for the stretch run, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery went down with an injury.
The veteran wide out said he "felt something pop" while running a pattern in the second quarter of the game against the New York Giants. He immediately jumped up, and was quickly carted off to the locker room, in obvious pain.
Jeffery was initially listed as questionable to return with a foot injury during the game, but soon after, he was ruled out.
During his day after press conference, head coach Doug Pederson described Jeffery's injury as “significant”.
The NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo said Jeffery season over, as they are trying to find exactly what is wrong with his foot.
As of Tuesday evening, the team has still not made an official announcement on Jeffery’s status going forward.
Jeffery has missed all or parts of five games but the team was hoping to have him back for the final four games of the season, as injuries have decimated the Eagles receiving core.
Now that Jeffery is out, what should we expect out of the Eagles’ passing game?
Nelson Agholor, Greg Ward and rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside are the only other wide receivers on Philadelphia’s active roster. Ward has been on the practice squad for most of the season, but was active against the Giants. Arcega-Whiteside, a rookie has played a limited amount of snaps this season, sitting behind guys like Mack Hollins and Jordan Matthews.
So what would be the plan moving forward?
"At wide receiver, we definitely have a couple guys on practice squad if we need to make a move," Head coach Doug Pederson explained. "Obviously, as you know, we could look outside the building if we need to. We're going to work through that today and try to get something in place here pretty quick, and we’re back on the field tomorrow."
Ward had four grabs for 34 yards, Arcega-Whiteside added two catches for 29 yards in the win before leaving the game in overtime, grabbing at his hamstring. Pederson said that Arcega-Whiteside was fine and should be ready for the game on Sunday in Washington.
Those guys may continue to see a larger role, especially with Jeffery out, but also with Agholor's status still up-in-the-air for Sunday.
"We just have to continue to work through his injury and where he's at. We have to continue to have conversations with him and see where he is prior to this week," Pederson said.
The team entered last nights game with just three active wide receivers, before losing Jeffery for the night. They ended the game with just one healthy body at the position and might be limited at that position again on Sunday.
"Obviously, you never know what's going to happen," Pederson explained. "It's unfortunate with [WR] Alshon [Jeffery], early in this football game. It is difficult to go in with three."
"But I'll tell you this: I'll say that the guys that did play, [WR] J.J. [Arcega-Whiteside], [WR] Greg [Ward], Perk [TE Joshua Perkins] stepped up, [RB] Boston [Scott], did an outstanding job. They really helped us win this game."
One thing you might see more of is multiple tight end formations, the team could go with Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, and Josh Perkins, who also saw some snaps in the slot as a wide receiver.
They could also use their running backs, Miles Sanders and Boston Scott, more out of the backfield and on screens.
"I did know that he had it in him (Scott)," Pederson stated. "We saw it in preseason with some of the explosive runs that he had. You just never know sometimes. [RB] Miles [Sanders] did some great things for us too. What a great run at the end. Really, the play was dead and they had the right defense and Miles creased it and made a couple tough runs there. Of course, Boston got in there, a little more change of pace. You saw the quickness and the speed. Did a great job. So we've just got to find ways to get them all on the field."