With two regular season games left in the season, the playoff-bound Eagles are teetering on the finish line.
during the The team’s 40-34 loss to the Cowboys On Saturday, a pair of key players went down with injuries. Lynn Johnson suffered an abdominal injury, while Avonte Maddox injured his toe. Coach Nick Siriani said Monday that both players are expected to miss “a little bit of time.” According to league sources, Johnson is expected to be sidelined through the end of the regular season, though the team hopes to return to the playoffs.
The Eagles play the Saints (January 1) and Giants (January 7 or 8) at Lincoln Financial Field. If the Eagles defeat the Saints this coming Sunday, they’ll clinch the #1 seed in the NFC, which will secure them week-by-week along with home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. It will be their first playoff game in about three and a half weeks – on January 21 or 22 – at Lincoln Financial Field.
“They’ll probably miss a little bit of time. We’re still evaluating everything,” Siriani said. “But we’re not going to set anyone’s schedule. It’s early in the process here as well with these folks, so we want to get some information back. But it kind of looks that way. We’ll see how serious it is and how long it will last.”
NFL MVP candidate and starting quarterback Jalen Hurtz also began dealing with a shoulder injury that sidelined him on Saturday. Unharmed, Eagles Backup Gardner Minshaw rolled, who completed 24 of 40 passes for 355 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. There is a chance Minshew could be under center again this weekend with Hurts still up in the air.
“As far as Galen goes, we’ll see, he’s here day after day,” said Siriani. “We saw how much he wanted to play [vs. Cowboys]How much did he do to prepare his body. Healing his body is different from yours and mine. He will do everything in his power to get healthy. If he’s healthy, he’ll play.”
While Johnson, 32, was injured during the fourth quarter on Saturday. He was replaced by reserve offensive lineman Jack Driscoll. After the match, Johnson was seen leaving the visitors locker room wearing a medical grade bandage around the waist/groin area. A league source said further tests revealed Johnson had ruptured a tendon in his abdomen.
The Eagles are hopeful that Johnson will return for the postseason, a league source said, though that may depend on how his body responds to treatment over the next several weeks.
A four-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro selection, Johnson has been a mainstay of one of the best offensive lines in the NFL since the Eagles selected him with the No. 4 pick in the 2013 draft. He did not allow a sack in 28 gameswhich is the longest streak in the league, according to Pro Football Focus.
“He just called,” Dallas Goodert said recently. Anytime he gets his hands on someone, it’s game over. That record is a file [heck] feat. Anytime he steps onto the field, he’s the best tackle ever.”
Johnson initially suffered an abdominal injury earlier in the month during the Eagles’ Week 14 win over the New York Giants. At the time, Johnson described his injury as a “modification” of the “right lower/oblique region”. While Johnson missed the second half of that game, he returned to the starting lineup the following week in Chicago.
During Johnson’s 10 seasons, the Eagles are 72-44-1 (. 620) when he plays, and just 12-20 (. 375) without him in the lineup.
With Johnson sidelined for so long, the Eagles are currently facing two personnel decisions. Driscoll is the de facto backup at right tackle, but the coaching staff may consider moving Jordan Mailata left to right and inserting backup Andre Dillard at left tackle.
In the case of Maddox, the Eagles may count on backup Josiah Scott, who struggled against Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb. When healthy, the Eagles boast one of the best defensive back trios in the NFL with Maddox starring alongside outside linebackers Darius Slay and James Bradbury.
But Maddox, 26, has already missed six games this season due to injuries. He recorded 43 tackles, one interception, and three passes defensed over nine games. Maddox suffered a toe injury while recording a sack on Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott in the first half.
“As much as we want these players to play, it’s always about their health first and the player’s long-term health,” Siriani said. Anything on the table. I love the fact that Jordan has some versatility. I love that Andre and Jack are really good backups. We have a lot of faith in them to go out there and do their jobs.
“We feel distraught about losing Lin at any time. But we are also confident in the players we have on the list.”
Siriani concluded, “One of the first conversations we had during training camp…ordeal is coming. When you go through these things in life and football, when you have the leaders that we have, it makes navigating those roads a little bit easier. Is it still tough?” “Sure it’s still hard. Are we still mad about our loss? Sure we are. But sometimes it makes you dig deeper so you don’t let each other down. We’ll dig deeper, we’ll find more answers.”
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