January 26, 2022

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Fit And Go Forward

Eagles Make Alshon Jeffery Active, Speedy Rookie WR Out


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Eagles stars Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffery have both been mentioned in trade rumors despite being injured.

The Philadelphia Eagles announced their active players prior to Sunday’s kickoff, with one surprising name on the list. Rookie receiver John Hightower was a healthy scratch after seeing just three targets over the past two weeks. He has 10 catches for 167 yards and five first downs this year.

Hightower, a fifth-round pick out of Boise State, was thought to be a big-play threat for new quarterback Jalen Hurts as the Eagles were supposed to rely more on their rookie and first-year players moving forward. In fact, head coach Doug Pederson appeared a bit annoyed when asked a question about his young pass-catchers?

“How much younger do we have to get than Hightower and Travis Fulgham? You know, Jalen Reagor,” Pederson said on Friday. “Listen, I know what you mean. They’re all young. It’s a good point, because I think Quez Watkins has a really good relationship with Jalen. They’ve been throwing a lot together on the service team.”

That doesn’t appear to be the plan. Veteran receiver Alshon Jeffery and second-year man J.J. Arcega-Whiteside were both active against the New Orleans Saints. Jeffery has been ineffective since returning from a bum foot despite seeing tons of opportunities. He has two catches for 15 yards on 93 snaps since Week 10. The team brings six healthy receivers into the game: Jeffery, Arcega-Whiteside, Travis Fulgham, Greg Ward, Quez Watkins, Jalen Reagor.

Cornerback Michael Jacquet (hamstring), linebacker T.J. Edwards (hamstring), safety Rudy Ford (hamstring) were all expected to be out due to injury. All three guys missed multiple practices during the week.

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Saints Make 7 Players Versus Eagles

New Orleans listed seven total players on their inactive list on Sunday, including starting defensive tackle Malcom Brown who suffered a shoulder injury during last week’s game. He had been limited in practice all week for the Saints. He has one sack and 24 total tackles in 12 starts this year.

Reserve tackle Derrick Kelly was also ruled out after just returning from the COVID-19 list. He has 15 offensive snaps in five games in 2020. Wide receiver Deontae Harris was left inactive after being listed as questionable on the final injury report. The Saints also placed former Eagles cornerback Patrick Robinson on injured reserve.


Eagles Stressing Ball Security for Hurts

The Eagles have turned the ball over like a server handing out free appetizers. Take it away, please. So it’s no surprise that Pederson has been stressing ball security to his rookie quarterback. The Eagles rank third-worst in the NFL in giveaways, with Carson Wentz solely responsible for 19 of them.

“Obviously, we want to take care of the football, right? Ball security is something we talk about each week,” Pederson said about what he wants to see from Hurts. “We want to see him execute the offense, how he executes it, right? Again, I’m not going to ask him it be Carson Wentz. I want him to be Jalen Hurts, how he views the offense.”

Pederson knows it starts with communication on the offensive end, especially since he will be the one calling the plays this week. Those duties remain on his plate despite recent talk of him giving it up.

“We got to get in and out of the huddle. My job is to get him the play in a timely manner,” Pederson said. “He’s got to be able to communicate, get it out of the huddle, get the snap, all of that, and then we need to score points.”

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