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Latest on Alshon Jeffery brings Eagles’ roster management into question

Eagles

Update: DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery have been ruled out for Sunday

Doug Pederson on Friday morning seemed somewhat optimistic about getting DeSean Jackson (hamstring) back this week, but intimated that Alshon Jeffery (foot) won’t play.

Here’s what he said about the two veteran receivers:

“We still have a couple of days before game time, 90 minutes to make those decisions until we kick off. In the case of DeSean Jackson, he had a really good day yesterday. He’ll get back out there today and practice. I’m hopeful that things go well today and there’s a possibility for him.

“In Alshon’s case, obviously, we just incorporated him back into practice this week, taking team reps. So we want to make sure that he’s feeling good before we put him out there. He was taking scout team reps this week and want to get him obviously with the offense before we make that decision.”

In addition, cornerback Darius Slay has passed the NFL’s concussion protocol and is expected to play on Sunday.

But at wide receiver, it certainly sounds like they won’t have Jeffery for Week 6, which brings the Eagles’ roster management into question.

Jeffery has been taking up a roster spot all season and will likely be inactive again on Sunday. The Eagles elected to add him to the active roster before the start of the season instead of leaving him on the Reserve/PUP list. It’s not as egregious this season because of the added roster flexibility in 2020, but Jeffery has also been a waste of a roster spot so far.

 

In fact, the Eagles just lost seventh-round pick Casey Toohill because they needed a roster spot and tried to sneak him through waivers back to the practice squad. Instead, he was claimed by Washington. And the Eagles could have certainly used that spot when they cut the roster to 53 players after training camp. A couple players — TE Noah Togiai and CB Rasul Douglas — were claimed by other teams.

Jeffery, 30, is coming back from a Lisfranc injury — and subsequent surgery — that ended his 2019 season early. His surgery was in December, so we’re now at the 10-month mark.

It’s important to note that Jeffery has been back at practice in a limited capacity for the last two weeks and if he was on PUP, his practice window wouldn’t be open until after this week’s game. But was that really enough of a reason to have him use up a roster spot for six weeks?

“You’re exactly right, when you don’t put a guy like Alshon on PUP,” Pederson said. “We hopefully anticipated him coming back within the six weeks, right? And it has taken a little bit longer. But again you guys know that I want to make sure he’s 100 percent. He’s just now getting back into practice. He’s done some individual work and now he’s into practice.

“Listen, I think medically, Alshon’s case, our case, we were hopeful that within the six weeks, he would have been back. I can’t second-guess the decision, obviously, but he is getting close and we’re excited about that.”

It’s also worth noting that Jeffery was ill toward the end of last week, so perhaps that didn’t help as he tries to return. But it’s fairly obvious the Eagles projected him to be back by now and he isn’t. And because of that miscalculation they’ve basically been working with 52 roster spots all year.