October 19, 2017
The Philadelphia Eagles have placed safety / special teams stud Chris Maragos on injured reserve with a knee injury. That is now the third major setback for the Eagles' special teams units this season.
Previously, the Eagles placed kicker Caleb Sturgis on IR earlier this season, and signed Bengals practice squad kicker Jake Elliott. That has obviously worked out for the best for the Eagles. Later, the Eagles lost Darren Sproles for the season with a torn ACL. In his absence, Kenjon Barner has had a few nice returns, though he narrowly avoided a disaster when he muffed a punt against the Panthers that was recovered by Patrick Robinson.
Now the Eagles will have to cope with losing easily the best player on their kick coverage teams in Maragos.
To fill Maragos' place on the roster, the Eagles have elevated 2017 fifth-round pick LB Nate Gerry from the practice squad to the active roster. Earlier this week, the Eagles reportedly worked out linebackers Sean Spence, Donald Butler, and Jelani Jenkins.
Darby's injury was originally diagnosed as a 4-6 week injury, and next Monday night will mark six weeks and one day from when it occurred Week 1 against the Redskins. He is practicing this week, according to Doug Pederson, and may or may not play on Monday.
"He's actually going to practice this week," Pederson said. "I can't commit at this time if he's going to be ready, but we're going to get him some reps this week and see where he's at. But he's doing extremely well."
Pederson also explained what he needs to see from Darby to allow him to play this week.
"Obviously, with the time off, there are a lot of things that are involved," Pederson explained. "Conditioning, number one, is probably the most important thing. How sore does he get during the week? By no means do I want to rush him back and say 'Hey, we said this is the week or whatever, let's go play.' There are a lot of factors that have to be right. The stars have to align in order for him to be ready to go. This week will be good just to get back and get that process of practicing and getting that conditioning."
As we noted earlier this week in our five matchups to watch, Johnson suffered a concussion Week 5 against the Cardinals and missed the Eagles' Thursday night win against the Panthers in Carolina. He has since passed through the concussion protocol, and has been cleared to play.
In the first four weeks of the season, Johnson faced Ryan Kerrigan, Justin Houston, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Joey Bosa. As usual, he'll have yet another tough matchup in Kerrigan once again Monday night.
Hicks left last Thursday' win over the Panthers with an ankle injury, but will be good to go this week against the Redskins, per Pederson. With Hicks back in the starting lineup, Mychal Kendricks will see his snaps decrease, but he has played very well whenever he has been asked to fill in.
Smallwood did not practice at all leading up to the Eagles' games against the Cardinals and Panthers, and missed both games. He will resume practicing this week, but in a limited capacity.
"Wendell is doing well," Pederson said. "He'll be limited to start the week, but we'll increase his role as the week goes on and see where he's at, but right now he's in a really good position to help us again. I do see him back in the same kind of role that he had prior to the injury, but it's all based on he practices this week, and we'll see where his conditioning is also as we go throughout this week."
Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski.
Like Jimmy on Facebook.
Like the new PhillyVoice Sports page on Facebook.