Updated: 3:23 p.m.
Two days before the Eagles’ matchup against the Bears, head coach Doug Pederson is still “optimistic” that DeSean Jackson will play.
Jackson, 32, has missed the last six games with an abdominal injury, but has been a limited participant in practice all week. He is officially questionable.
“I’m optimistic that he’ll play,” Pederson said. “We’re going to get through today. He’s had a great week of practice.”
Pederson said they’ll have to monitor Jackson as the game goes on to see how big of a role he’ll have, but, “as we’ve always said, too, the guys that dress will play. So we’ll see.”
#Eagles injury report:— Dave Zangaro (@DZangaroNBCS) November 1, 2019
OUT: Jason Peters, Nigel Bradham
Questionable: DeSean Jackson, Tim Jernigan, Andrew Sendejo
That means Avonte Maddox and Darren Sproles are expected to play on Sunday.
Cornerback Avonte Maddox, who has missed the last four games after suffering a concussion and neck injury in Green Bay, is fully expected to play and man the nickel corner spot against the Bears. Darren Sproles will make his return too.
Even though the Eagles have a bye week after this coming game, Pederson said if players are healthy enough to play, they will.
While the Eagles are happy to get Maddox and Sproles back and would also be thrilled to have Tim Jernigan, the big news is Jackson. Since he got hurt early in the Atlanta game, he’s really played just one game this season. In the opener, he caught eight passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns.
Without Jackson, the Eagles have desperately missed his downfield threat. Pederson had previously admitted that Jackson likely won’t be back to 100 percent this season, but we’ll have to see how healthy he is when Sunday comes. Even if he isn’t near 100 percent, just the threat he poses can change the way defenses play the Eagles.
Pederson is obviously well aware of that.
“I think anytime DeSean is on the field, defenses have to account for that speed and his receiving ability,” Pederson said. “Whether or not he’s the primary on the route could be a different story. I think the respect of what he gets defensively, whether it takes two guys to defend him or if they’re going to just put one guy on him. It definitely helps us as an offense when he’s on the field.”
Decoy or not, getting Jackson back this Sunday would be huge. And it seems like we’re trending that way.
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