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November 26, 2023

Eagles-Bills Week 12 inactives, with analysis

Lane Johnson will be inactive against the Buffalo Bills

The Philadelphia Eagles have some new names on their injury report, but no big surprises. Their Week 12 opponent, the Buffalo Bills, have a number of significant injuries on their defense. 

Here are the Eagles' and Bills' inactives, with analysis.


LB Ben VanSumeren and TE Noah Togiai are gameday callups from the practice squad. Tanner McKee is the emergency quarterback.

RT Lane Johnson: Johnson woke up with soreness (groin), got treatment this morning, and had an MRI late morning / early afternoon. Since 2016, the Eagles are 10-22 when Lane Johnson is out of the lineup.

• 2016: 2-8
• 2017: 1-0
• 2018: 0-1
• 2019: 3-1 (0-1 in the playoffs)
• 2020: 2-7
• 2021: 1-3
• 2022: 1-1

Also, the Eagles' lone loss in 2023 was against the Jets, when Johnson only played 9 snaps.

Needless to say, Johnson's absence is a huge blow to the Eagles' offense. The guess here is that Jack Driscoll will get the start at RT.

TE Dallas Goedert: Goedert is third on the team in receiving, behind A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. In nine games, he has 38 catches for 410 yards and 2 TDs. His season began slowly, as he had just 13 catches for 88 yards and no TDs in the Eagles' first four games. However, over his last five games, his production picked up, as he had 25 catches for 322 yards and 2 TDs. With Goedert out likely for a while, the Eagles' starting tight end is Jack Stoll, a good blocker, but a near nonfactor in the passing game. 

DT Milton Williams: Williams had a good game against the Chiefs on Wednesday night (5 tackles in just 28 snaps), but he suffered a head injury and is in the concussion protocol and was not cleared in time for Sunday on a short week.

TE Grant Calcaterra: As noted above, Okwuegbunam and Togiai are up with Calcaterra out.

RB Rashaad Penny: Penny dressed Week 9 against the Cowboys, and he even got two carries, but he is down again with Boston Scott returning to the lineup.

CB Josiah Scott: Bradley Roby is back.

Notable players on IR, PUP, suspension, etc.

• LB Nakobe Dean: Entering the 2023 season, Dean was the clear No. 1 linebacker on the roster, as the team was counting on him to take on a much bigger role than what he had as a rookie in 2022. That has not gone to plan, as he landed on injured reserve after suffering a foot injury Week 1 against the Patriots. He returned Week 6 and played in four games before again suffering a foot injury that landed him on injured reserve for a second time this season. When he has played, Dean has been fine as a run defender and as a tackler (PFF has him down for 0 missed tackles), but he has struggled in coverage. PFF has him down for 13 completions on 14 targets for 120 yards. 

Zach Cunningham has been the Eagles' best linebacker so far this season, as he has been a physical presence in the middle of the defense. Nicholas Morrow has also had his moments, notably in the Eagles' overtime win against the Commanders, when he had three sacks.

CB Avonte Maddox: Maddox had surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle. His season is likely over. The oft-injured Maddox missed games at three different junctures during the season in 2022, and was only able to play in two games in 2023. He also missed three games in 2018, four games in 2019, and six games in 2020. He is one of the best slot corners in the NFL when healthy, but it seems there will always be durability concerns. Slot corner is a position where the Eagles had already lost depth, as backup Zech McPhearson tore his Achilles during the Eagles' preseason game against the Browns. The Eagles have had a different plan in the slot pretty much every week since Maddox went down.

• S Justin Evans: Evans was the Eagles' choice to start opposite Reed Blankenship, as he beat out Terrell Edmunds and Sydney Brown during training camp for that opportunity. He started four games for the Eagles earlier this season, and when healthy, has been competent. However, he has a long history of injuries, missing 43 games from 2017-2022 (not including the 2021 season, when he was not on an NFL roster), and he lost his starting job when the Eagles traded for Kevin Byard. The Eagles opened Evans' 21-day practice window last week.


The Bills' inactives: 

The two noteworthy names above:

CB Dane Jackson: The Bills' injury report was littered with defensive backs, but CB Taron Johnson, S Micah Hyde, and CB Cam Lewis arer healthy enough to play. CB1 Tre'Davious White on IR with an Achilles tear, as is 2022 first-round corner Kaiir Elam. We got into much more detail on the Bills' secondary woes in our five matchups to watch.

S Taylor Rapp: Rapp is the Bills' third safety. He has played 239 snaps so far in 2023. He left in an ambulance last week in the Bills' win over the Jets.

Notable players on IR, PUP, suspension, etc.

LB Matt Milano (IR): Milano was a first-team All-Pro linebacker in 2022, when he had 99 tackles, 3 INTs (1 pick-six), and 11 pass breakups. He is a great all around linebacker who is especially good in coverage. Milano broke his leg in the Bills' Week 5 loss to the Jaguars, and his season could be over.

CB Tre'Davious White (IR): White is a two-time All-Pro and the Bills' best cornerback. He tore his Achilles in the Bills' Week 4 win over the Dolphins. With Kaiir Elam (below) also on IR, the Bills dealt for old friend Rasul Douglas at the trade deadline.

DT DaQuan Jones (IR): Jones is a starting DT and a good, underrated player who had 10 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 5 QB hits in 5 games before landing on IR with a pectoral injury. His season is likely over.

TE Dawson Knox (IR): Knox had over 500 receiving yards each of the last two seasons, but only had 102 receiving yards on 28 targets (for an awful 3.6 yards per target) before landing on IR with a wrist injury that required surgery. The Bills selected TE Dalton Kinkead in the first round of the 2023 draft.

RB Damien Harris (IR): Harris signed with the Bills in free agency this offseason. He had 23 carries for 93 yards (4.1 YPC) and 1 TD as a backup running back. He suffered a scary neck injury against the Giants and left in an ambulance. 

CB Kaiir Elam (IR): Elam was a Bills first-round pick in 2022 who has not lived up to expectations so far. He has only played in three games this season, starting two.

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