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September 13, 2020

Eagles-Football Team Week 1 inactives, with analysis

Eagles NFL
071020MilesSanders Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports

Eagles running back Miles Sanders.

As always, the Philadelphia Eagles have more than their share of injuries, and the season hasn't even begun yet. The Washington Football Team team, meanwhile, is in decent shape heading into Week 1.

Here are the Eagles-Football Team inactives, with analysis.

051020EaglesLogo2020

• RT Lane Johnson (ankle): Losing Johnson, who is in my view the best RT in the NFL, could be potentially devastating, leaving the Eagles vulnerable on the entire right side of the line, with Brandon Brooks already out. With safety net Halapoulivaati Vaitai gone, the Eagles would be forced to play an unproven player both at RG and RT. The guess here is that Matt Pryor will play RT, and Nate Herbig will play RG. The Eagles' OL may look like this:


 LTLG RG RT 
 Jason PetersIsaac Seumalo Jason Kelce Nate Herbig Matt Pryor 

Not great!

• RB Miles Sanders (hamstring): We covered Sanders' situation in more detail here, but obviously, Sanders is one of the Eagles' best players, and this is a big loss. Sanders' absence is especially troubling particularly against the Football Team, which has an extremely talented and deep defensive line. The Eagles really could have used the threat of Sanders and a potentially potent run game to slow down the Football Team's pass rush.

• DT Javon Hargrave: When training camp opened on August 17, or at least the portion of training camp open to the media, we learned that Hargrave had a pectoral injury that would keep him out "multiple weeks." He still isn't practicing, and now also has a hamstring injury tacked onto his initial pectoral injury. 

Throughout his four-year career with the Steelers, Hargrave was a durable player, only missing one out of 64 regular season games. The Eagles should still be in decent shape with Hargrave out, as they still employ Fletcher Cox, while Malik Jackson and Hassan Ridgeway both looked good in training camp.

• DE Derek Barnett (hamstring): Like Hargrave above, Eagles media only learned that Barnett wasn't healthy when we first showed up to camp on August 17, when Barnett was listed as "week-to-week" with a lower-body injury. Turns out it's his hamstring. The Eagles need Barnett to break out this season, with a now 32-year-old Brandon Graham starting opposite him, as they don't want to have to replace a pair of starting defensive ends in the near future. Barnett has missed 12 games over the last two seasons, so this is obviously not an ideal start for him in 2020.

• WR Alshon Jeffery: Jeffery was a surprise inclusion on the 53-man roster, as it was expected by most (self included) that he would begin the season on the PUP list, and miss at least the first six games of the season.

Jeffery still has not done anything during practice other than throw the ball around a little with teammates or coaches. He has not run, or worked out in any way on a side field, at least in sessions attended by the media. So, we'll see when he's ready to go.

DE Casey Toohill: Toohill showed something in training camp, and made the initial 53-man roster, despite what Jim Schwartz described as an uphill battle. Still, with five defensive ends ahead of him, it could be a while before Toohill sees any action on game day.

QB Jalen Hurts: The Eagles aren't even pretending that their second-round pick could get into a game early this season. Nate Sudfeld is obviously the No. 2 QB.


MORE: Week 1 non-Eagles rooting guide | Five over/unders for Eagles' season opener against Washington | Week 1 NFL picks: Rounding up the experts' predictions for Eagles vs. Washington


Notable players on IR/Suspension/Other

• S Will Parks (short-term IR)Parks' injury is a significant one, in terms of how it will affect the defense. He is the Eagles' third safety, but he was poised to play a much bigger role than that in 2020. Throughout training camp, Parks was sharing time with Nickell Robey-Coleman in a nickel role. Robey-Coleman was the regular nickel, with Parks serving as the "big nickel." Parks was also getting looks as a dime linebacker.

• WR Quez Watkins (short-term IR): Watkins was unlikely to play, even if healthy.

• RG Brandon Brooks (PUP): Brooks is in the conversation for 'best RG in the NFL," so obviously, losing him, likely for the entire season, hurts.

• DE Daeshon Hall (PUP): Hall tore an ACL on the final play of the 2019 regular season, because Pat Shurmur was calling timeouts to preserve every last minute of his NFL head coaching career.

• LT Andre Dillard (season-ending IR): Dillard struggled mightily as a rookie, and he came into camp as a clear player of interest, as he was poised to start at LT this season. He was up and down in camp, with the "down" moments being very alarming. Dillard injured his biceps, and is done for the season.

• TE Josh Perkins (season-ending IR): The Eagles' third tight end was Perkins, then it was maybe going to be Noah Togiai, and now they're back to Richard Rodgers.

CB Kendall Fuller: Fuller was included in the trade that brought Alex Smith to Washington. Two seasons and a Super Bowl-sealing INT later, he's back. Fuller is a versatile defensive back who is best suited for the slot, but can also play outside corner or safety. His two-year tenure (learning a new scheme each year) in KC received mixed reviews, but he was excellent in the Super Bowl when it mattered most. He's smart, he gets hands on footballs, and he is the kind of good, young player any team should be looking to build with, because of how much he can do. It's a big blow to an already challenged Football Team secondary that he can't go.

• LB Thomas Davis: Davis played under Ron Rivera for eight years in Carolina, and he turned 37 years old this offseason. Every time a a team hires a new head coach, it feels like that coach has to bring in one of "their guys." Davis was likely that. The linebacking trio of Shaun Dion Hamilton, Jon Bostic, and Kevin Pierre Lewis are better equipped to cover the Eagles TE duo of Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert than Davis would have been.

• OT Saahdiq Charles: On talent alone, Charles (a fourth round rookie) probably would have been a Day 2 pick, but character concerns dropped him to Day 3. He missed six games for LSU in 2019 for disciplinary reasons, and several teams reportedly didn't have him on their draft boards as a result. Charles was competing with free agent acquisition Cornelius Lucas and 2018 third-round pick Geron Christian for the starting LT job. (Christian won that job.)

RB Bryce Love: The Football Team redshirted Love last year after he tore his ACL in his final college game.

OT David Sharpe: The Football Team recently traded for Sharpe.

QB Alex Smith: It's amazing that Smith is even on the roster after his gruesome injury.


MORE: Eagles vs. Football Team: Predictions, odds and more


Notable players on IR/Suspension/Other

• LB Reuben Foster (season-ending IR): Foster shredded his knee during the 2019 offseason, and the Football Team did not think that he was progressing well enough in his recovery to see the field in 2020, so they IR'd him again.

• WR Kelvin Harmon (PUP/NFI)As a rookie in 2019, Harmon had 30 catches for 365 yards. He was going to compete for a starting job in 2020 before tearing his ACL prior to the start of camp.

• RB Derrius Guice (cut): The Washington Football Team announced August 7 that they released Guice after multiple alleged domestic violence incidents.

Guice entered the NFL as an ultra-talented back out of LSU, who fell in the 2018 NFL Draft because of character concerns. At 59th overall, many thought of him as a steal. Through his first two seasons in the league, Guice played in just five games, carrying only 42 times, due to a string of serious knee injuries, but he showed glimpses that he could be a star running back when he played.

The Football Team's remaining veteran running backs are JD McKissic and Peyton Barber. They also selected Antonio Gibson in the third round (66th overall) in the 2020 NFL Draft, and Bryce Love in the fourth round (112th overall) in the 2019 draft. Love "redshirted" as a rookie in 2019 after tearing an ACL in his final college game in December of 2018, and got positive reviews in camp, as did Gibson.


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