INJURY BUG FINALLY BITES THE BIRDS
The Eagles, with Gardner Minshew under center, turned the ball over four times against the Dallas Cowboys, who converted the miscues into 20 points.
The Philadelphia Eagles have enjoyed tremendous good fortune through most of the 2022 season.
The Birds led the league – by a lot – in the giveaway-takeaway stat column…creating turnovers and not turning the ball over.
The Eagles were spared from major injuries for the most part, carving out a 13-1 record, tops in the NFL, going into the much-hyped match against the Dallas Cowboys on Christmas Eve at jam-packed AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
The game did not disappoint, even if you were and Eagles fan…you have to admit it was just a great game, won by the Cowboys 40-34.
The Eagles had a chance to pull the game out going down to the last play.
But the Birds got bit harder than the score may have felt.
The Eagles committed four brutal turnovers. Two came from Gardner Minshew interceptions. Minshew was under center for MVP candidate Jalen Hurts, who was dealing with a sprained shoulder.
Minshew also lost a fumble on a handoff to Boston Scott and Pro Bowl running back Miles Sanders also fumbled on a crucial drive the Eagles (13-2) needed to keep pace with Dallas (11-4).
Dallas converted those four turnovers into 20 points, literally half the total the Cowboys scored for the game.
Probably much were the injuries. The Eagles were already missing Hurts and defensive back CJ Gardner-Johnson, who was leading the NFL at the time he went down with a lacerated kidney.
During the game, cornerback Avonte Maddox suffered a significant toe injury. Per multiple reports Maddox had an MRI Monday morning to confirm that he's out indefinitely.
Even worse than that, Lane Johnson suffered a what was reported as a torn tendon in his abdominal area and will miss at least the final two regular season games.
Some reports have Johnson out three to six weeks.
One good piece of news for Eagles fans is Gardner-Johnson is eligible to come off IR and is a possibility to play in the slot this week against the New Orleans Saints.
Sirianni at his Monday press conference was asked to comment on all the Eagles injuries.
“Obviously, Lane and Avonte were injured in the game,” The second-year head coach admitted. “Avonte didn't come back in, neither did Lane. Still evaluating through everything.
“We probably think they'll miss a little bit of time, but we'll never put a timetable on anybody.”
“It's early on in the process here, too, with these guys, so we want to get some more information back. But kind of looking that way, but we'll see, and we'll see the severity and how long it will be.”
Coach talked about his quarterback.
“As far as Jalen, we'll see,” Sirianni said. “One day at a time here. We know how much he wanted to play last week and how much he did to get his body ready. Again, with Jalen his body heals different than yours and mine, Josh, right? He's going to do everything he can do to get himself healthy. If he's healthy, he'll play.”
Sirianni was asked is he expects Gardner-Johnson to practice, if so and if he can play is there a possibility of him playing nickel?”
“We have to see how everything is healing in there,” Sirianni said. “That's a little bit of a harder one to track because you can't just -- you have to go in there and see, right? You have to get the CAT scans and see how everything is healing in there. So, we'll see where he is.
“Again, with all the guys, as much as we want them to play, it's always about their health first and long-term health for the player.
“Same thing here, especially with something like Chauncey is going through. It will always be about where he is; because that's something you don't mess around with. So, when he's healthy, he'll go. We'll find out more as he gets some of these tests done.”
“Just because he's eligible to return doesn't mean he will, even though I know he'll want to. Again, all the guys will want to, so we'll see. That will be something that we're just waiting for some results back when he does get those tests.”
Sirianni talked about Gardner-Johnson moving over to the slot position.
“Obviously he has a lot of versatility,” he said. “I think the same thing, you guys kind of asked when he got here, was like well, he hasn't played safety. Well, he showed that he could play safety. Well, he hasn't played nickel in over a year. Well, he can do that as well.
“We'll take that one day at a time as well and we'll cross that bridge when we get to that when we know he's healthy and ready to go. Chauncey is very versatile and can do a lot of different things, and that's obviously a really good thing for us.”
Sirianni was asked how he will line up the five offensive line positions. Will left tackle Jordan Mailata move to the right tackle spot in place of Johnson and put former first round pick Andre Dillard at left tackle? What about just leaving tackle/guard Jack Driscoll at right tackle where is has had success subbing for Johnson in the past?
“Obviously, everything will be on the table, whatever we feel like is best for us,” Sirianni said. “I love the fact that Jordan has some versatility. I love the fact that Andre and Jack are really good backups.”
Sirianni praised Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach Jeff Stoutland for his coaching and creating O-line depth that is considered by many observers as the best in the NFL
“We have a lot of faith in them to go out there and be able to do their job. We have versatility, just like with the Chauncey question. We have a lot of versatility there, and Stout does a great job getting the guys ready. Those guys do a great job of getting themselves ready.
“Obviously, we're bummed about Lane in the sense of missing any time, but we also are confident in the guys that we have on the roster.”
If the Eagles wrap up the No. 1 seed and the coveted first round bye that comes with it, by defeating the Saints on Sunday; most of these headaches will be in the rear view mirror. *
Email Al Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org