Things are getting downright hairy for the Philadelphia Eagles, and not simply because they’re hoping to somehow usurp the Dallas Cowboys as division leaders before the regular season concludes. It’s because they’ll have to do so with an exceedingly thin wide receiver corps, having recently moved Alshon Jeffery to injured reserve ahead of their Week 15 matchup with the rival Washington Redskins — a team ready to play spoiler to all comers.
DeSean Jackson, who has only played three games since returning to Philadelphia and none since Week 9 due to a core muscle injury that required surgery to repair. Making matters worse, the Eagles have now ruled out receiver Nelson Agholor against the Redskins, leading many to believe head coach Doug Pederson would make the logical decision to activate one of the three wideouts on their practice squad for assistance with depth.that could sideline him the next nine months, and he joins IR with speedster
They won’t, however, with Pederson instead opting to take the field with only three active receivers for Carson Wentz to target, instead relying on a heavy dose of other skill players to fill the void.
“I look at it as nine bodies, with tight ends, runners and receivers, so we have everything covered that way,” Pederson told media just ahead of the must-win on Sunday, via NFL.com. “We have a plan to the plan to the plan to the plan if we lose a guy during the course of the game. It’s where we are right now as a team, as an offense.”
While that blueprint might make some nervous, Pederson isn’t concerned, but also isn’t naive to the impact missing your top three wideouts can have on a contest.
“Obviously injuries are a part of the game,” he said. “You never know when or how injuries are going to affect, one, your team and/or a position group. That’s why it goes back to — for us as coaches — it’s why you have to coach everybody. You never know when a guy might miss the season or just a few games, and you have to get the next guy ready to play. In our case [with Jackson, Jeffery and Agholor unavailable] you sit back and go, well, not going to make any excuses for it, but gosh, only if, only if.”
The Eagles have Deontay Burnett, Marcus Green and Marken Michel on their 10-man practice squad, but believe they can defeat the Redskins without sacrificing a roster spot to promote them this week. That leaves only rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Greg Ward, Jr. and Robert Davis slated to play in Week 15, and the three have combined for a total of only 19 receptions for 209 receiving yards this season.
That is less than ideal, but it’s what Pederson is going to roll the dice on.
They’ll go heavy with three tight ends, namely Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert and Joshua Perkins, along with using halfbacks out of the backfield as receiving targets, but the plan obviously limits how Wentz will or will not be able to stretch the field in a game they can’t afford to lose with a pivotal Week 16 clash with the Cowboys looming on the horizon.