Eagles bitten by the injury bug in loss.
WRs Jackson and Jeffery, DT Jernigan among those ailing
First things first.
No injury updates. Not official ones from the team, anyway.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said at his press conference Monday he got back from Atlanta at 4 a.m. and watched film and hadn’t yet had his medical meeting.
To review, Eagles injured Sunday against Atlanta are wide receivers Alshon Jeffery (calf ) and DeSean Jackson (groin), tight end Dallas Goedert (calf ), defensive tackle Tim Jernigan (foot) and running back Corey Clement (shoulder).
Pederson indicated Jackson, Jeffery and Goedert may have tried to “gut it out” had it been a playoff game, “but it’s hard to say.”
Pederson also said he has a “gut” feeling Jernigan’s injury could be the most serious. Jernigan wore a boot on his left foot after the game, and there are conflicting reports about his prognosis.
Pro Football Talk reported it’s a broken foot and Jernigan is “feared to be out for the year,” but NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Jernigan could miss “roughly a month.” Rapoport said Jeffery has a strained calf, which isn’t major but could keep him out the next two games; the Eagles play the Lions on Sunday and the Packers four days later.
Rapoport also said Clement likely will miss a week or two, calling it an “early read,” so don’t put that in stone.
Deja vu: The Eagles’ slow starts offensively have been an issue since last season, and these injuries didn’t help.
Goedert did not play. He was active but evaluated before the game and held out with an injury that troubled him in training camp. Jeffery played six snaps in Sunday’s loss to the Falcons and Jackson 11.
None of the three entered the game on the injury report.
“It affects it a lot,” Pederson said. “If you were to look at my call sheet this morning, you would see a lot of scratch-outs on plays and different things.”
And, Pederson said, if you watch the game, you’ll see the veterans, and specifically Zach Ertz and Nelson Agholor, directing traffic.
“Zach is telling guys where to go. Nelly is telling — we’re moving guys,” Pederson said. “Our pieces are moving and we’re putting guys in positions that didn’t practice in those positions during the week, and [we] still had a chance at the end of the game.”
The Eagles would have had a better chance at the end had they been able to score at the beginning, a problem that dates back to last season. They scored the fewest points in the league in the first quarter last season (41) and failed to score in the first quarter in 10 games.
They’re one of five teams this season that is scoreless in the first quarter.
Who’s to blame? The playcaller, not the players.
“I just have to find the magical plays,” Pederson said. “It’s always the plays. That’s on me. I have to do a better job.”
Deja vu II: The Eagles were without two of their top receivers and their promising secondyear tight end. Did they decide to rely on the run? Nope.
They attempted 21 rushes (three for Wentz) and 51 passes (48 throws and three sacks).
Goedert’s loss certainly didn’t help from a blocking standpoint as Ertz became the lone tight end. Miles Sanders and Jordan Howard — the only backs to attempt a rush — combined for 46 yards on 18 carries (2.6 yards per carry).
Plus, the Falcons, Pederson said, were going to be tougher to run on than the Redskins. In Week 1’s win over Washington, Eagles RBs rushed for 118 yards, averaging 4.4 yards per attempt.
“We struggled to run the ball, something we kind of pride ourselves on,” he said. “We were going to try to run and try to establish it, and we struggled a little bit there. We have to make those corrections. That’s a big part, too, with a lot of the personnel changes, with tight ends and things like that, that got us a little bit away from it. I’m not going to make an excuse, but it does affect it just a little bit.”
Sparking Sanders: Sanders in two games has 21 rushes for 53 yards and no touchdowns, although he did have a 21-yard TD against Washington erased by a penalty, which the NFL admitted was a mistake.
The rookie second-round pick averaged just 2.8 yards per attempt Sunday night, and Pederson admitted Sanders “missed a couple of holes” and needs to realize sometimes it’s better to go straight ahead and gain a few yards instead of trying to take it outside and turn the corner.
“There are some things that he can get better,” Pederson said, “but our confidence in him is really high, extremely high, and we are going to continue to play him and get him the reps.”
Nelly’s drop: Agholor against Atlanta caught 8 of his 11 targets for 107 yards and a touchdown. But the one miss may have cost the Eagles the game.
Pederson said he spoke with Agholor before they got on the bus to the airport and said he “played really well,” especially given that he had to play two positions because of injuries to Jeffery and Jackson.
“It just shows his mental capacity with the offense and where he is. He made some outstanding catches yesterday,” Pederson said. “I told him after the game, one play is not going to define him or our season. It’s Week 2 in the National Football League, and we have a bunch of football left, and he’s a great player for us. I told him just to keep his head up, keep working, and we’re going to find more ways to win these games than lose them going into the future.”
That’s the rule: Regardless of whether Wentz slid or dove into the end zone on the two-point conversion attempt in the third quarter, he was seen as giving himself up. Previously, if a QB went head first, he could be treated like any other position player and be hit, and if he used a baseball slide, he wasn’t to be touched.
Now both are treated the same, which is why Wentz didn’t score on the conversion. His knee hit before the ball crossed the goal line, so he was down, regardless of whether he made contact with a defender.
“We just have to be aware, if you can, keep your knee up,” Pederson said. “That’s just the rule.”
The Eagles’ Alshon Jeffery was one of several players injured in Sunday night’s loss to the Falcons.