Eagles-Cowboys final injury report, with analysis

The Philadelphia Eagles, for the first time in a long time, are facing a team that has arguably worse cumulative injuries than themselves in the Dallas Cowboys, who have not handled their injury adversity well, to say the least.

Here’s the final Friday Eagles-Cowboys injury report, with analysis.

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RB Miles Sanders (knee): Sanders will likely be back against the Giants in two weeks. The Eagles will have to rely on Boston Scott and Corey Clement to take advantage of Dallas’ awful run defense.

• WR Alshon Jeffery (foot/calf): A week ago, the Eagles told Mike Garafolo that Alshon Jeffery was expected to be good to go against the Cowboys. 

He’s still out. 🙄

OT Jack Driscoll (ankle): The Eagles could use Driscoll, who has filled in at times this season for Lane Johnson, but he too has been injured twice already.

• CB Cre’Von LeBlanc (quad): In terms of handling CeeDee Lamb out of the slot, I liked the 5’10 LeBlanc over the 5’7 Nickell Robey-Coleman in that matchup, but LeBlanc will not be available.

CB Craig James (hamstring): James is probably the Eagles’ best special teams player, but he has been on and off the injury report all season.

Playing

RT Lane Johnson (ankle, knee): With a couple exceptions, Johnson has mostly owned his matchups with DeMarcus Lawrence, but Johnson has been hobbled by this ankle injury all season long, and really, for the last few years. He’ll play on Sunday.

• DT Malik Jackson (quad): Jackson’s strong season has maybe been overstated a bit. He has 13 tackles and 1.5 sacks, but has certainly been much more disruptive than Javon Hargrave.

Players still on short-term IR, but who have begun practicing

WR Jalen Reagor: The Eagles could use Reagor’s speed back in the lineup, especially now with DeSean Jackson out for around 2 months after his brief return to the lineup. Reagor could return this Sunday against Dallas.

TE Dallas Goedert: Goedert’s return to the lineup would be a huge boost to an Eagles offense that is also missing Zach Ertz. There’s a legitimate argument to be made that Goedert is already better than Ertz at this stage in the two players’ careers. Certainly, Goedert has looked better than Ertz in 2020.

• LT Jason Peters: Jordan Mailata has played better than Peters at LT. We’ll see if the Eagles mess with Mailata’s progress by putting Peters back at LT, if he’s ready to return this week, as expected.

• LB T.J. Edwards: Not exactly a high bar, but Edwards has been the Eagles’ best linebacker so far this season. He is expected to return Sunday.

• S Rudy Ford: Special teamer only, but has played well this season in his role before he got hurt.

Notable players on short-term IR

TE Zach Ertz: Ertz hasn’t had the best 2020 season. He watched as Travis Kelce signed an extremely team-friendly contract, thus hurting his negotiating power, followed by publicly voicing his frustration with the lack of a new deal, followed by a lack of productivity on the field, followed by a high ankle sprain that will keep him out 4-6 weeks.

WR DeSean Jackson: There probably weren’t realistic expectations that Jackson was going to stay healthy after he returned to action last week against the Giants.

• LG Isaac Seumalo: Seumalo is out “for the foreseeable future,” per Doug Pederson, in September.

• LB Nate Gerry: Gerry is obviously not a fan favorite these days, but he is a starter who never comes off the field, so the Eagles will have to figure out how they reassign his role, even it’s hard to imagine they’ll be worse off with someone else in there instead.

DT Hassan Ridgeway: Ridgeway went on IR with a biceps injury. Because the Eagles were (previously) fortunate not to see any of their top three DTs miss any substantial time through the first six games, Ridgeway didn’t get a a ton of snaps, but he was productive when he was on the field. Ridgeway had 11 tackles (2 for loss) and a sack on 137 snaps this year. His season is over.

• DE Genary Avery: Avery had one productive game, went back to barely playing to make room for Vinny Curry, and is now out for at least three games with an elbow injury.

Notable players on season-ending IR

• LT Andre Dillard: 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: He was better than Richard Rodgers?

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Notable players on PUP

• RG Brandon Brooks (PUP): Brooks is in the conversation for ‘best RG in the NFL,” so obviously, losing him for the entire season has hurt.

COVID-19 Opt outs

• WR Marquise Goodwin: Goodwin was a veteran wide receiver with speed that the Eagles took a flier on, as something of an possible in-game replacement for DeSean Jackson.

051020CowboysLogo2020

051020CowboysLogo2020

Doubtful

QB Andy Dalton: Who should the Eagles prefer to face between Dalton and DiNucci? That’s a tough call. Dalton has been completely ineffective since he took over as the Cowboys’ starter, but obviously he has a ton of experience in the NFL (135 starts), and veteran quarterbacks have solved Jim Schwartz’s defense in the past. DiNucci, meanwhile, is a rookie seventh-round pick who took 3 sacks on 6 dropbacks in his only action of the season last Sunday.

Also, just as an FYI, should Dalton be out on Sunday, as expected, DiNucci’s backup will be Garrett Gilbert, a 2014 sixth-round pick who has fewer career pass attempts (6) than the number teams he has been on (7).

Players still on short-term IR, but who have begun practicing

• CB Chidobe Awuzie: Awuzie is probably the Cowboys’ No. 1 CB, after Byron Jones walked in free agency. He missed five games with a hamstring injury, but is likely to play Sunday against the Eagles.

LB Sean Lee: Lee has been an Eagles killer over his career, in the rare occasions he has been healthy. He could be ready to play this Sunday, per Mike McCarthy.

C Joe Looney: This is probably an apt place to mention that Travis Frederick, who has been the starting center for the Cowboys since they drafted him in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, retired this offseason. Frederick missed the entire 2018 season with a rare disease, but returned in 2019. In six years in the league, he had three All-Pro nods (one first-team, two second-team), and five Pro Bowl appearances.

Looney started the first four games at center, before spraining an MCL and landing on IR. He is eligible to come off of IR this week, and could be ready to play. However, even if Looney is good to go for Week 8, McCarthy said that rookie Tyler Biadasz, Looney’s replacement, will continue to start at center.

Notable players on IR/Suspension/Other

QB Dak Prescott: We could probably write 3000 words on the short-term and long-term impacts of Prescott’s ugly ankle injury, but the short-short version is this:

  1. Short-term impact: The Cowboys aren’t going anywhere without him this season.
  2. Long-term: Seeing the way the Cowboys have played without Prescott, his price tag for a long-term deal is only going up.

LT Tyron Smith: Smith has four All-Pro nods (two first-team, two second-team), and seven Pro Bowl appearances to his credit, and is widely regarded as one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL. He played in two games this season, but surgery on his neck ended his season.

RT La’el Collins: Collins started the season on short-term IR with a hip injury, but when his hip didn’t progress as the Cowboys had hoped, Collins had surgery, ending his season. He was replaced in the starting lineup by undrafted rookie free agent Terence Steele.

TE Blake Jarwin: In 2019, Jarwin was held back from flourishing when the Cowboys decided to bring Jason Witten back out of retirement. In 2020, Jarwin was going to have his first chance to be the regular starter at TE, but he tore an ACL Week 1 against the Rams. Jarwin is a good player, and his loss has been overlooked a bit, in my view.

OT Brandon Knight: Knight started four games at LT in relief of Smith, but he had arthroscopic surgery on his knee, and will be out a while, but should return at some point this season. With Smith and Knight both out, the next guy up was Cameron Erving last week against the Football Team, though it’s possible that the Cowboys could move RG Zack Martin to LT as well. The bet here is that it will be Erving.

DT Trysten Hill: Hill is probably best known for this dirty alligator roll against the Seahawks earlier this seasonL 

Hill was a second round pick of the Cowboys in 2019 who has 16 career tackles.

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