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October 15, 2023

Eagles-Jets Week 6 inactives, with analysis

Jalen Carter, Darius Slay, and Sydney Brown are all out for the Eagles today against the Jets.

Eagles NFL
101423JalenCarter Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles will be without stud rookie DT Jalen Carter against the Jets.

There's a lot to sort through this week with the Philadelphia Eagles' and New York Jets' inactives. Here they are, with analysis.


QB Tanner McKee will be the emergency quarterback. The Eagles called up DB Mekhi Garner and WR Devon Allen from the practice squad to the gameday roster.

DT Jalen Carter: The Eagles are very deep and very talented on the interior of their defensive line, so it's not as if the Eagles are left barren there with Carter out. And yet, it's still kind of a big loss since Carter has played like an All-Pro so far as a rookie.

CB Darius Slay: The Jets' Garrett Wilson is a very talented receiver, but he only has 24 catches for 279 yards and 2 TDs this season, mostly because the Jets' sluggish passing game as a whole. Wilson is a slick route-running receiver who Slay tends to match up well against, but this perhaps isn't as big a loss as it might be in other matchups because the Jets have struggled moving the ball through the air.

S Sydney Brown: Only two safeties will dress for the Eagles this week — Reed Blankenship and Terrell Edmunds, three if you include Mekhi Garner.

DT Marlon Tuipulotu: Moro Ojomo will be up for the second straight week.

• RB Rashaad Penny: Penny has only played 9 snaps this season. He is the Eagles' RB4 and unlikely to dress on gameday, barring an injury to one of the top three guys.

• TE Albert Okwuegbunam: Albert O. dressed Week 4 against the Commanders, but he did not play any snaps in the regular offense or on special teams.

Notable players on IR, PUP, suspension, etc.

RG Cam Jurgens: Jurgens sprained his foot against the Commanders Week 4. He won't be eligible to play again until Week 9 against the Cowboys. The Eagles will be facing a whole lot of opponents with outstanding interior defensive linemen in October, as we noted in our five matchups to watch.

• Week 5: At Rams, Aaron Donald ✔️
• Week 6: At Jets, Quinnen Williams
• Week 7: Dolphins, Christian Wilkins
• Week 8: At Commanders, Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne

In other words, it's not an ideal time to lose an interior offensive lineman, though Sua Opeta has done a nice job in relief of Jurgens.

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. In Maddox's absence against the Vikings, 2022 UDFA Mario Goodrich filled in and played 39 snaps. That was the first regular season action of Goodrich's career. In Week 3 against the Buccaneers, Goodrich was a healthy scratch, and slot duties were split between James Bradberry and Sydney Brown. In Week 4, with Brown sidelined with a hamstring injury, it was Bradberry in the slot once again. In Week 5 against the Rams, it was a mishmash of Goodrich, Eli Ricks, Darius Slay, and newly signed Bradley Roby getting slot duties.

As noted above, the Jets have an up-and-coming stud wide receiver in Wilson, and Allen Lazard is an OK No. 2, but the Jets' third-most productive wide receiver (Randall Cobb) is averaging 4 receiving yards per game. The Eagles' continued experimentation in the slot is not as big of a concern against the Jets as it was last week against Cooper Kupp and the Rams.

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 has started four games for the Eagles, and when healthy, has been competent. However, he already missed a game earlier this season with a neck injury and is now on IR with a knee injury. Evans has a long history of injuries since he entered the league in 2017, missing 43 games, not including the 2021 season, when he was not on an NFL roster. He will be eligible to come off of IR after the Eagles' Week 9 game against the Cowboys.

WR Quez Watkins: Watkins has battled injuries this season, and only has 4 catches for 21 yards in 3 games played. In the Eagles' win over the Rams, Watkins had a chance to pick up a key first down but instead ran directly into a defender who easily rode Watkins out of bounds. That play continued a common theme of Watkins failing to make a play when an opportunity was there. Olamide Zaccheaus will start in the slot with Watkins out. He has been the more reliable player, and his elevation to the starting lineup should be an upgrade. Watkins will be eligible to come off of IR after the Eagles' Week 9 game against the Cowboys.


CB Sauce Gardner: Gardner and D.J. Reed (below) form one of the best corner duos in the NFL. They both have concussions, and won't play. Gardner took home Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2022, when he had 75 tackles, 2 INTs, and a league-leading 20 pass breakups. He was named first-team All-Pro, he made the Pro Bowl, and finished eighth in Defensive Player of the Year voting. Obviously, this is an enormous loss for the Jets.

Reed is a physical player and a good tackler. He missed the Jets' Week 5 game as well, and was replaced in the lineup by Bryce Hall. It is likely that Hall and former Eagle Craig James will start at corner. The Jets called up James from their practice squad along with Tae Hayes. 

The Jets' 53-man defensive back depth looks like this, with injured guys crossed out: 

Jets DBs 
CB Sauce Gardner Bryce Hall  
CB D.J. Reed Craig James (practice squad) Tae Hayes (practice squad) 
Slot CB Michael Carter II Brandin Echols  
Jordan Whitehead Adrian Amos Ashtyn Davis 
Chuck Clark Tony Adams  

That is not ideal against A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith.

CB D.J. Reed: As noted above. 

CB Brandin Echols: Echols is the backup slot corner, and has a role in dime packages.

The rest of the Jets' inactvies: 

Notable players on IR, PUP, suspension, etc.

QB Aaron Rodgers (IR): Rodgers' torn Achilles Week 1 against the Bills was perhaps the biggest story of the first month of the NFL season. I probably don't need to dive too deep into that, right? Zach Wilson has filled in, and has been acceptable enough that the Jets haven't yet replaced him as the starter with someone else, but he has also not been very good. He's 91 of 149 (61.1%) for 911 yards (6.1 YPA), 4 TDs, and 5 INTs, for a QB rating of 73.4, which is pretty much in line with his career numbers to date.

OL Alijah Vera-Tucker (IR): Vera-Tucker is probably the Jets' best offensive lineman, and a versatile piece who can play multiple positions along the line. He began the season at the starting RG, but kicked out to RT after Duane Brown went on IR with a hip injury. (RT Mekhi Becton filled Brown's spot at LT, and Vera-Tucker moved to RT.)

Vera-Tucker tore his Achilles in the Jets' Week 5 win over the Broncos, and second-year player Max Mitchell filled in at RT. We covered the Jets' offensive line concerns in more depth in our five matchups to watch.

LT Duane Brown (IR): Brown was the starting LT to begin the season. He went on IR after Week 2 with a hip injury, and will not play on Sunday. As noted above, Becton filled in for Brown, Vera-Tucker filled in for Becton at RT, and then Mitchell filled in for Vera-Tucker when he went down.

S Chuck Clark (IR): The Jets traded for Clark in March after he collected 101 tackles for the Ravens in 2022. He tore his ACL during OTAs.

OT Carter Warren (IR): Warren is a fourth-round rookie who went on injured reserve just after 53-man cutdowns. His 21-day practice window was opened last week, and he is eligible to return to the 53-man roster. It would be a surprise if he were inserted into the Jets' starting lineup, but it's also not entirely out of the question. Warren played exclusively at LT in college at Pittsburgh, so it feels unlikely that the Jets would insert him right in at RT to replace Vera-Tucker in his first NFL action. The Jets could also move Becton back to RT and have Warren start at LT, but that added juggling also feels unlikely.

Edge Ifeadi Odenigbo (IR): Odenigbo is a rotational edge rusher with 14 career sacks in 55 games.

CB/S Jarrick Bernard-Converse (PUP): Bernard-Converse is a sixth-round rookie DB who did not practice during training camp. He had his 21-day practice window opened by the Jets last week.

• CB Justin Hardee: Hardee has mainly been a special teamer over his seven-year NFL career.

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