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September 12, 2021

Eagles-Falcons inactives, with analysis

Eagles NFL
091121RodneyMcLeod Jerry Habraken/The News Journal, via USA Today Images

Safety Rodney McLeod will be the Eagles' lone unavailable starter.

One of the Philadelphia Eagles' main objectives during training camp and the preseason this year was to make sure their best players would be available when the actual meaningful games arrived. Mission accomplished, but to be determined if practices that often only ran an hour and 15 minutes will have them prepared to play or not.

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

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S Rodney McLeod: The Eagles will have 21 of 22 starters available Week 1, with McLeod being the lone exception. The Eagles are notably thin at safety, as K'Von Wallace or Marcus Epps will have to step in and start. In case you missed our "Eagles player reviews" this summer, you can catch up on Epps here, and Wallace here.

OL Landon Dickerson: After missing all of training camp and the preseason games as a result of a torn ACL suffered in December of 2020, Dickerson began practicing this week in a limited capacity, but the start to his NFL career will have to wait, for now.

LB Davion Taylor: It seemed like a priority of the coaching staff to get Taylor involved heavily in the defense during training camp, but he missed the majority of the summer with his calf injury. There's no need to rush Taylor back just to play special teams.

QB Gardner Minshew: There's a good chance that Minshew will eventually leapfrog Joe Flacco and become the No. 2 quarterback, but for now, he doesn't know the offense well enough, and the Eagles aren't going to keep three quarterbacks active on gameday.

CB Mac McCain: The Eagles' most recent roster addition.

Notable players on IR, PUP, suspension, etc.

OL Jack Driscoll (IR): Driscoll is on short-term IR with a pectoral injury. He would be the first lineman off the bench if Lane Johnson were to go down, so it's at least a noteworthy loss, but not a crushing one. As a rookie, Driscoll appeared in 11 games, starting four, playing a total of 300 snaps, and looking like a competent player. However, he dealt with a handful of injuries, including an MCL sprain that ended his season.

TE Tyree Jackson (IR): Jackson suffered a broken bone in his back during joint practices with the New England Patriots. The injury did not require surgery, and his recovery period at the time was deemed by the team to be 8-10 weeks. That was three weeks ago, so (checks math) Jackson should be back 5-7 weeks from now.

Rather than shut Jackson down for the season by placing him on season-ending IR prior to 53-man cutdowns, the Eagles chose to allow Jackson to occupy a roster spot on the initial roster, and as a result, they were able to place him on short-term IR, which will allow him to return at any point after Week 3.

CB Josiah Scott (IR): Scott got hurt in the third preseason game against the Jets. He made the team, but will be shelved for at least three weeks. The Eagles have since signed a pair of corners in Andre Chachere and Mac McCain.

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There are a bunch of unimportant players on the Falcons' inactive list, since they didn't have a single player on their injury report: 

Notable players on IR, PUP, suspension, etc.

LG Josh Andrews (IR): As we mentioned in our five matchups to watch, the Falcons' regular starter at LG would have been Josh Andrews, but he's on IR with a broken hand suffered during practice a week ago. You might remember Andrews from a pair of stints with the Eagles initially from 2014 to 2017, and then again in 2018. Andrews in now 30 years old, he's on his fifth NFL team, holy crap the idea that he's a starter for someone is just... 🤯.

According to PFF, Andrews was the second-worst pass blocking guard in the NFL last season, with a grade of 18.1. So if he can't go, who's the guy who isn't good enough to beat him out for a starting job? That would be 2021 third-round pick Jalen Mayfield, who it appears will likely make his professional debut Week 1. Asked about the possibility of that scenario, Falcons head coach Arthur Smith gave a blunt answer:

QB A.J. McCarron (IR): With McCarron on IR, who is the Falcons' backup quarterback? (Jeopardy music playing)... It's either Josh Rosen or undrafted rookie Feleipe Franks. Yikes.

OL Matt Gono (PUP): Gono is a versatile offensive lineman with some promise who played in 16 games last season, starting four. He's on the PUP list as he continues to recover surgery for an undisclosed injury (he was at Falcons training camp with a neck brace). 


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