As expected, the Eagles on Thursday night will be without Lane Johnson.
But head coach Doug Pederson claims they might have Fletcher Cox or Wendell Smallwood.
While Johnson (concussion) has been ruled out for the Panthers game, Pederson said Cox (calf) and Smallwood (knee) will be listed as questionable and will be game-time decisions.
Cox has missed the last two games with a calf injury he suffered against the Giants. He was limited in Monday's practice but was a full participant Tuesday.
"He seems to be OK," Pederson said Wednesday. "He's progressing. We'll take it right up to the 90-minute (deadline) on game day. But he's feeling better."
Cox was very noncommittal about playing when asked Tuesday.
While Smallwood is questionable, he missed practice Monday and Tuesday. He injured his knee against the Chargers and missed the last game.
Chris Long, Destiny Vaeao and Beau Allen are all questionable as well but "doing well," Pederson said Wednesday.
Last season, the Eagles started off 3-1. They proceeded to lose eight of their next 10 games, en route to a 7-9 season. The 2017 club is now 4-1, tied for the best record in the NFC, with its lone loss to an undefeated Chiefs team. Two good starts in consecutive seasons, so what’s to make us believe that 2017 won’t end in flames the way 2016 did?
Wentz's numbers are solid in his sophomore season, ranking in the top 10 in passing yards, touchdowns and quarterback rating. And his third-down conversions are off the charts (see Roob's stats). He's completed 37 of 52 passes (71 percent) with six touchdowns and one interception for a passer rating of 137.8. Wentz's growth from Year 1 to Year 2 cannot simply be measured by metrics. Wentz is a leader in every sense of the word. He’s first in and last out of the building, and that is not lost on his teammates. They want to play for him. You also see his development in the things he doesn’t do. Like throwing ill-advised interceptions or challenging a linebacker in the open field to gain two more yards. He’s smarter because of experience, and that bodes well as we head down the stretch.
Head coaches can be stubborn creatures, and Pederson certainly had his moments in his rookie season and into the early portion of the 2017 campaign. But since the Chiefs loss, we’ve seen a coach much more willing to adapt and be balanced (see story). The result: three straight wins, less heat on his quarterback and an offensive line that has rediscovered its mojo. The fact he played at the NFL level gives him a built-in cachet with his players. And unlike his predecessor, Chip Kelly, he has a good feel for when to take his foot off the pedal during the week in practice with his veteran players.
It’s no secret Johnson's 10-game suspension was a crushing blow last year. Because of a concussion, Johnson’s status is up in the air for the Panthers game, but his presence in the early going and having him for the long haul is a major boost for this team.
Nowhere has the Eagles' depth shone through greater than on the defensive side of the ball. From a deep and talented rotation along the front four to having rookies or free agents that can step in when players go down in the secondary, the front office has given Jim Schwartz more tools. The Eagles are 4-1 despite missing No. 1 corner Ronald Darby most of the season and Fletcher Cox the last two weeks. This unit will only improve as it gets troops back.
Let’s be honest, the division isn’t what we thought it would be. The Giants haven’t won a game and resemble a MASH unit. I think Ben McAdoo’s mustache is day to day at this point. The Cowboys are not getting the production out of Ezekiel Elliott they did his rookie year. He’s averaging less than four yards per carry. After a Week 6 bye and a Week 7 game vs. the 49ers, their next four games see them go to Washington, home against the Chiefs, at Atlanta, then in Jerry World against the Eagles. Not easy by any stretch. Washington is still a bit of a mystery, but the Birds beat the Redskins in their barn and are 2-0 in division and 3-0 in conference. Better team and weaker competition should make the road to avoiding last year’s collapse much easier.
Fletcher Cox was back on the field for the second straight day on Tuesday, two days before the Eagles face the Panthers in Carolina.
Tuesday's session was a light practice, but Cox had a helmet and was listed as a full participant after being limited on Monday. Cox has missed the Eagles' last two games with a calf injury he suffered against the Giants in Week 3.
Despite being a full participant on Tuesday, Cox was very noncommittal about his playing status for Thursday.
"I don't know. I don't make those decisions," Cox said. "I'm not a doctor. And I'm not the head coach. That's the head coach's decision. It's just one of those things, I have one of those injuries where I have to be smart."
While Cox was on the field Tuesday, the Eagles were without Lane Johnson (concussion) and Wendell Smallwood (knee).
Johnson suffered a concussion sometime during the first half of Sunday's win over the Cardinals. Smallwood missed the game with a knee injury he suffered against the Chargers the week before.
Defensive linemen Beau Allen (foot), Chris Long (foot) and Destiny Vaeao (wrist) were listed as limited participants Tuesday.
The Eagles have a short week without any real practices before they have to battle with another 4-1 NFC team.