The latest Eagles casualty—right tackle Lane Johnson said on Friday that he’s going to miss the remainder of this season due to a lingering ankle injury – the origins of which happened two seasons ago when Johnson was injured in the game against Jacksonville in London and then when he further injured the ankle against the Giants late last year.
So Lane Johnson’s season is done after seven games and just 58 percent of the team’s offensive snap counts through 10 contests.
“It’s been difficult trying to play at a high level, really just the anxiety of the whole process, but it’s part of the game,” Johnson said. “It’s something I knew that I would struggle with throughout the year. I really didn’t improve much and so, the outlook is my season is done. Probably be maybe a four-month recovery, five-month recovery. But essentially from all the high-ankle sprains and damage I’ve had done to my ankle, really kind of the repair of the deltoid ligament, it’s like the inside of my ligament has collapsed, so a lot of my power and my push-off that I normally have isn’t there, so that’s really where I’m at.
Although there is nothing official, Johnson said on Friday that Jason Peters would play right guard and Matt Pryor would move to right tackle for Monday night’s game against Seattle. If that’s the case, Jordan Mailata would be the leading candidate to start at left tackle, where he’s started four games this season.
The Eagles released their final injury report ahead of Monday night’s showdown with Seattle.
One name you will not see on the report is tight end Zach Ertz, who is in the second week of his 21-day practice window. Ertz has been on Injured Reserve since suffering an ankle in the Week 6 against the Ravens. Players on Injured Reserve are not included on the injury report, but unfortunately coach Doug Pederson said that it is unlikely that the Pro Bowl tight end will be activated ahead of Monday night.
“It’s been good to have Zach out on the practice field. However, we’re still a little cautious with him,” Pederson said. “We’ll get through today, but I don’t think he’ll be able to make this game. I’m hoping that next week he’ll be available.”
The Eagles ruled out three players ahead of Monday night’s game: safety Rudy Ford (hamstring), tackle Lane Johnson (ankle), and guard Sua Opeta (back). Opeta was then placed on Injured Reserve.
Jason Peters was also added to the injury report Saturday with a toe injury and he is now questionable for Monday night’s game.
What a mess…
Five other players all practiced in a limited capacity on Friday:
• DE Derek Barnett (knee) – Good news is that Vinny Curry was activated off the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Friday.
• T Jack Driscoll (knee) – The rookie started the season opener in Johnson’s place.
• C Jason Kelce (elbow) – Kelce is on track to start his 100th consecutive game on Monday. He is the cover story for this week’s Gameday Magazine.
• RB Boston Scott (abdomen) – Corey Clement was activated off the Reserve/COVID-19 list as well on Friday.
• LB Alex Singleton (knee) – Singleton originally joined the NFL as a rookie free agent with the Seahawks in 2015 and spent time on their practice squad.
This is a bad time to lose so many of your best players to ongoing injury depletion, as the Seattle Seahawks will require your best to beat them. Even when the Eagles put on a brilliant performance against Russell Wilson in a 2019 regular-season game in November, sacking him six times, limiting Wilson to 200 passing yards and 15 rushing yards, they lost anyway. It’s about as good as it gets against Wilson, but it ended in a frustrating 17-9 loss to the Seahawks. Six weeks later, the Eagles saw Wilson again in the postseason and this time Wilson passed for 325 yards and a touchdown and added another 45 yards on the ground and, again, the Eagles fell, 17-9.
It gets worse as the Eagles are staring down the barrel of a lost season at 3-6-1, and a loss to Seattle would just about bring all the current frustration among ownership and fans to a boiling point.
Dave Spadaro at PE.com is not his usually optimistic self about the Eagles chances on Monday night:
“The Eagles have yet to solve the Wilson riddle. They look to do it on Monday night in a prime-time game, understanding just how slippery he is, and how confounding he can be as defenses prepare for his mobility, which doesn’t always translate to big runs. Wilson buys time in and out of the pocket to allow receivers some time to come free, and his arm strength allows for Wilson to connect with favorite targets D.K. Metcalf (48 receptions, 862 yards, 9 touchdowns) and Tyler Lockett (67-748-8 touchdowns).”
“I just think he’s a guy who is always going to be looking to make a play or extend a play and always be smart about it,” linebacker T.J. Edwards said. “I think it’s just going to take the entire defense to make sure that everyone is on their X’s and O’s to make sure that we have him contained and also make sure that we’re not giving him easy, quick reads in the passing game. Obviously, very good player, very talented, so it’s going to take everybody to contain him this week, but we’re excited for the challenge.
“I think he’s just a gamer, a guy who, when the team needs a big play, he’s going to make something happen. Obviously, with the weapons he has and with the deep threats all over the field, you have to know where everyone is at, know down and distance, know when he’s going to try and take a shot, know when he’s going to check it down. He definitely keeps you on your toes and make sure everybody is playing technically sound and make sure everyone has good eyes on him.”
Wilson has 30 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions this season and he’s in the conversation for Most Valuable Player as the Seahawks sit at 7-3, tied for first place in the NFC West. Seattle opened the season 5-0 and then lost three of four games before defeating Arizona last Thursday night. In each of those three games, Wilson committed three turnovers. That’s not a coincidence, as we know well watching the Eagles’ offense struggle in 2020 with giveaways.
“We’re familiar with what they do and how they try to attack our defense,” defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said. “You’ve just got to be ready for whatever. They’ve changed up a few things with what they do. I think their guys are playing really good up front. Russ, he’s playing at an MVP level. They’re running the ball real good, throwing it real good. We’re going against a really good football team.”
This is a game that will require the Eagles’ defense to be at its best against a Seattle offense that averages 31.8 points per game, second only to Kansas City in that category. The Seahawks are more than just Wilson – they are a balanced offense that averages 121.3 yards rushing per game, 12th best in the NFL. After some early-season injuries in the backfield, Seattle comes into this game healthy there and along the offensive line.
The Eagles come in just the opposite— trending down on offense and missing key players across the board.