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October 11, 2017

Eagles-Panthers injury report, with analysis

Eagles NFL

The Philadelphia Eagles and Carolina Panthers released their official injury reports for Thursday's game at the BofA. The Eagles will be without star RT Lane Johnson, and will likely be missing DT Fletcher Cox and RB Wendell Smallwood as well. The Panthers are mostly healthy.

Here's the Friday Wednesday injury report, with analysis:



• CB Ronald Darby (ankle): After suffering what looked like a gruesome ankle injury against the Redskins Week 1, the Eagles are fortunate that Darby will only miss 4-6 weeks. Darby is easily the Eagles' best corner, though there is a chance he could return next week against the Redskins.

RT Lane Johnson (concussion): The NFL's concussion protocol makes it nearly impossible to return in time for a Thursday game after a Sunday game. We covered in detail what Johnson's absence will mean for the rest of the Eagles' offensive line.


• DT Fletcher Cox (calf): Cox was a full participant in practice on both Tuesday and Wednesday this week, and will travel with the team to Charlotte. Doug Pederson said that Cox would be a game time decsion.

• RB Wendell Smallwood: With Sproles out for the season, Smallwood became by far the best receiving option in the Eagles’ backfield. LeGarrette Blount, Corey Clement, and Kenjon Barner simply aren't good at catching the football. I also believe that Smallwood is the Eagles’ most explosive runner, in terms of speed getting through the hole, and he has improved greatly in pass protection.

Smallwood has not practiced all week, just like he did not practice at all last week, so it is very unlikely that he'll play on Thursday, even if the Eagles have him listed as questionable. They'll miss him if indeed he's out.

DT Beau Allen (foot): With Cox already out, Allen's potential absence will leave the Eagles very thin in the middle of their defense against a team that historically loves to run the football.

• DT Destiny Vaeao (wrist): Yet another DT.

DE Chris Long: If Long can't go, that could mean some additional (deserved) snaps for Steven Means.

• CB/S Jaylen Watkins (hamstring): Watkins has not played since he injured his hamstring Week 2 against the Chiefs.

Notable players on IR/Suspension/Other

• RB Darren Sproles: Sproles is done for the season with a torn ACL. On the field, Sproles was the Eagles' most well-rounded running back, as he can run inside, run outside, be a weapon in the passing game, and he's easily the team's best back in pass protection. Obviously, because of his small size, however, Sproles has been never been used as a 'workhorse' type of back, but he was typically on the field in the Eagles' most crucial situations. He was also the team's primary punt returner.

With Sproles out, Smallwood is the player who most closely mirrors Sproles' skill set, and newly signed Kenjon Barner has assumed punt return duties.

• CB Sidney Jones: Jones is eligible to come off the NFI list after Week 6, at which point he will be allowed to practice for three weeks before the Eagles will have to decide whether to add him to the 53-man roster or shut him down for the season.

• K Caleb Sturgis: Sturgis was placed on IR with a quad injury suffered Week 1 against the Redskins. He was replaced by newly minted Philadelphia legend Jake Elliott.


C Ryan Kalil (neck): This is the better of the two Kalil brothers. With Kalil out, Tyler Larson will get the start at center.

S Kurt Coleman (knee): Our old friend Kurt is probably bummed to have to sit this one out.

S Demetrious Cox (ankle): Cox is safety depth, which leaves the Panthers thin on the back end. Don't be surprised to see the Eagles try to test the Panthers deep down the field.

Notable players on IR/Suspension/Other

• TE Greg Olsen: This is a huge loss for the Panthers, as Olsen is Cam Newton's favorite target. Olsen has topped 1000 yards in each of the last three seasons. Olsen is on IR with a broken foot, but could return at some point this season.

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