Eagles

There's growing optimism that Zach Ertz will play Sunday

There's growing optimism that Zach Ertz will play Sunday

The Eagles are still holding out hope that Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz will be able to play in their playoff game Sunday, but they won’t know until tomorrow. 

As of Friday morning, Ertz had not yet been cleared for contact. 

“We’re waiting on a few doctor results tomorrow,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “If things go favorably, he’ll play. If they don’t, he won’t.” 

With a fractured rib and lacerated kidney, Ertz will need to be cleared by doctors before he’s allowed to take the field. Ertz will be a limited participant in Friday’s practice, as he has been all week. 

Sources tell NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark that there is growing optimism Ertz will be able to play, and that he has already passed several stringent tests.

Lane Johnson: Johnson is still dealing with a high ankle sprain that has forced him to miss the last three weeks. 

“Lane is still working,” Pederson said. “I’ll tell you what. He’s a tough guy. He really wants to play in this football game. We’re going to find out more today and see where he’s at at the end of the day before we put out a report. He’s working to try to play in this football game.” 

Johnson was not at the beginning of Friday's practice. 

With Johnson, it’ll basically come down to if he can feel good enough to be a better option than Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who has started in his place. The fact that Johnson's ankle is this big of a question mark this late in the week is probably not a great sign. 

If Johnson does play, the Eagles can use either Big V or Matt Pryor at right guard in place of Brandon Brooks, who is out for the season. If Johnson can’t play, Big V would start at right tackle and Pryor would play right guard. That was the combination that finished the Week 17 game in New York. 

Miles Sanders: After missing the first two days of practice this week with an ankle injury, Sanders was practicing on Friday. 

“Miles is good,” Pederson said. “He’ll get some work in today, see where he’s at. But he’s been feeling good.”

Sanders has a low ankle sprain but said Friday that he will be "absolutely" ready to go Sunday.

Boston Scott, Jordan Howard and newcomer Elijah Holyfield will also be a part of the rotation.

More on the Eagles

John Clark is keeping busy with music, exercise and 'Curb'

John Clark is keeping busy with music, exercise and 'Curb'

During this time of self-quarantine, we’re checking in with those in the Philly sports world to see How They’re Keeping Busy. Next up, NBC Sports Philadelphia airport specialist, John Clark.

What are you doing to keep busy during these strange times without live sports?

I am making sure to get outside every day and get some sort of exercise like running, biking, and tennis -- keeping plenty of physical distancing. Thank goodness the weather has been pretty good here. Places like Chicago, it’s tough to get outside when it’s in the 20s and 30s.

How are you getting your sports fill?

I am getting my sports fill right now covering NFL free agency and the Eagles moves. And tracking down the new Eagles players and doing interviews with them over the zoom app. It’s really hard for me to watch old games, except for the Eagles Super Bowl win. Part of sports for me is not knowing what’s going to happen. The suspense of that is amazing. My parents tape Villanova games and other sports and watch them sometimes a day later. I just can’t do that! And I would have heard what happened before it’s too late.

Tip(s) for everyone stuck at home who may be stressed?

Listen to plenty of music, the artists and songs that make you feel good. I have also tried to reach out to one person a day that I haven’t talked to in a long time that I am friends with or used to be friends with and we’ve lost touch.

Specific content you’d recommend to others? Anything you’re binging/reading/listening to?

If you want to laugh, I would suggest Curb Your Enthusiasm. And I watch Impractical Jokers a lot and the immature silly humor makes me laugh every time. Netflix standup comedy specials can give you a good laugh too. I think it’s also cool to go back and watch some concerts you have been to on YouTube or listening to them on Sirius radio, it brings you back to such a great night. Music always makes me think of good memories.

Is there a local business or charity you’re supporting during these tough times?

I am going to pick up food a lot because I wanna support restaurants and businesses that need it right now. I have friends who are restaurant owners who have laid off a lot of their staff and been forced to close down. Times are so tough for these businesses and I feel we need to support them. And I’m trying to leave bigger tips when picking up food.

Previously:

How the lengthy delay could hurt or help Flyers, Sixers, Phillies, Eagles

How the lengthy delay could hurt or help Flyers, Sixers, Phillies, Eagles

There will be sports again. I am confident of that. When that will happen and what it will look like remains to be seen. Will we jump right to the playoffs in the NHL and NBA or will they attempt to play regular season games? How many games will MLB look to play and how far are they willing to extend the season into late fall or even winter?  

We don’t know what we don’t know. But that doesn’t mean authentic fans can’t prepare right now. And we’re here to help. Here’s a prepared excuse for each of the Philadelphia sports teams if they come up short when play resumes. We’ll also give you a denial that the break was beneficial if each team performs especially well. 
 
FLYERS 

Potential Excuse: No team was hotter than the Flyers before the NHL postponed its season. So, it goes to reason that no team was hurt more by hitting the pause button. In a traditional season, the Flyers would have steamrolled their opponents just like they were doing in January, February, and early March. But then you lose momentum and a young team has to deal with a completely unique situation. Another Cup taken from us. 
 
Argument If Things Go Well: The Flyers were already rolling before the break. It really speaks to the mindset instilled by Chuck Fletcher and Alain Vigneault that nothing could derail this juggernaut. Looks like a dynasty in the works. 
 
76ERS 

Potential Excuse: This Sixers team needs Joel Embiid going at 100 percent and it’s impossible for a man that size to be at top conditioning with that long of a break. It’s hard to think of a player in all of sports more negatively impacted by a months-long break than Embiid. It’s just not fair to the Sixers at all. 
 
Argument If Things Go Well: Everybody knew the Sixers didn’t care about the regular season this year. It was all about the playoffs. So it didn’t matter if it started in April or August, this team was going to bring it when it mattered. That’s why you sign a veteran like an Al Horford. For winning time. 
 
PHILLIES 

Potential Excuse: Starting pitching was always going to be the key. Aaron Nola was primed to win the Cy Young. Zach Wheeler was going to provide the best 1-2 punch in the National League. But a condensed schedule with a lack of training time diminished the Phillies’ greatest strength. MLB should have done a full spring training after the break and played 162 games, into the new year, if needed. 
 
Argument If Things Go Well: 2020 was always going to be better because of Joe Girardi. Gabe Kapler cost them like 20 games last season. Go back. Count them. But Girardi is a winner. He’s won everywhere he’s been. Plus, he’s Philly tough. Blue collar. 
 
EAGLES 

Potential Excuse: No team was banking on new faces and a new structure more than the Eagles. The offensive coaching staff was overhauled. They needed all of the prep time they could get. The draft wasn’t even legit this year because there weren't enough in-person meetings. Everyone knows the game tape lies. You have to get to know a guy to see how he fits, especially inPhiladelphia. It’s not even a real season if you don’t have a full mini-camp, in my opinion. 
 
Argument If It Goes Well: Football wasn’t even impacted that much. We won the division last year regardless. Then we turned the team over to Carson Wentz and made him the top leadership voice. Carson’s always been a great leader. Everybody knows that. We just had to make sure his voice and Doug’s voice were the only ones being heard. I don’t think it’s crazy to say Carson might win the next 3-5 MVPs.