The Eagles got a win over the Vikings on Thursday night but it may have come at a cost.
Defensive back Avonte Maddox suffered a shoulder injury early in the second quarter of the 34-28 win in the home opener but it appears to be more serious than that. John Clark of NBC Sports Philadelphia reported that there was concern that Maddox tore his pectoral muscle.
If Maddox tears his pec, that should end the 2023 season after just two games.
Early in Thursday’s game, Maddox showed his value. He lined up at safety and nickel corner and forced a fumble on the Vikings’ second drive of the game.
While Maddox, 27, has been a very good player for the Eagles over the past few years, he has struggled to stay healthy. He has only played more than 13 games once in his NFL career.
Last year, Maddox missed eight regular season games and one playoff game as he suffered three different injuries. He injured his ankle, hamstring and toe in 2022. After the Super Bowl, Maddox had surgery to repair his toe and looked a bit rusty during training camp.
The Eagles drafted Maddox in the fourth round out of Pitt in 2018 and received an extension in 2021. He is under contract through the 2024 season.
During Thursday’s game, Maddox was replaced by second-year UDFA cornerback Mario Goodrich from Clemson. Goodrich played 39 snaps in his first ever NFL game.
This summer, the Eagles experimented with playing James Bradberry in the slot as well. So, maybe if they had more confidence in Josh Jobe playing outside than they do in Goodrich in the slot, they could move Bradberry, who missed Thursday’s game with a concussion. But they didn’t bring Bradberry back on a three-year, $38 million contract this offseason to play nickel.
The Eagles’ other backup cornerbacks are Kelly Ringo and Eli Ricks, neither of whom played nickel this summer. The Eagles can also play some “big nickel” with one of their safeties. This seems like a possibility sometimes.
Last year when Maddox missed time, the Eagles replaced him with Josiah Scott, who is now on the injured list on the Steelers’ practice squad. The Eagles released him in the final cuts.
But during last year’s stretch, Scott’s nickel play became such a problem that the Eagles opted to move C.J. Gardner-Johnson to nickel and replace him with Reed Blankenship. The Eagles simply don’t have that much depth or versatility in the secondary in 2023.
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