Ravens Could Capitalize On Shallow Eagles Receiver Depth
By Kevin McGuire
The Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) are hoping to get by a week two match-up with the Baltimore Ravens (1-0) despite having some serious depth concerns about the wide receiver position. With Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson both listed as questionable, and Jason Avant listed as probable, the Eagles could be in some trouble on offenseagainst one of the top defenses in the NFL over the last few years.
Here is the latest injury news regarding the Eagles heading in to the home opener at Lincoln Financial Field in week two.
Riley Cooper, Wide Receiver – The one player definitely out for the game remains wide receiver Riley Cooper, who suffered a broken collarbone at the start of training camp. The expectation is he returns to the team by the end of the month if his recovery continues to progress on schedule.
The Eagles signed free agent receiver Mardy Gilyard this week in anticipation of possibly not having Maclin available, and he could be used as a reserve receiver with Cooper unavailable. Rookie Damarias Johnson could also fill the void after catching one pass for ten yards last week at Cleveland. Johnson is currently listed second on the team’s depth chart, behind Maclin.
DeSean Jackson, Wide Receiver – One half of the lethal receiving duo for the Eagles, DeSean Jackson, sat out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday but did participate in a limited fashion on Friday. If Jackson’s hamstring concerns slow him down on Sunday, the Eagles will likely fill in Jason Avant in his place. Fantasy owners will want to keep a close eye on the wire over the weekend and may need to make a game time decision on whether to play him or sit him. With a hamstring injury though, it may be wise to go ahead and sit him in week two.
Jeremy Maclin, Wide Receiver – The other half of that receiving duo, Jeremy Maclin, may also be a player worth watching as kickoff approaches Sunday. Maclin, nursing a hip injury, did not practice Wednesday or Thursday and, like Jackson, was limited in Friday’s practice. Maclin says he is determined to play on Sunday after
If the Eagles have to go without Jackson and Maclin, look for Damaris Johnson’s role to increase alongside Avant, with Gilyard getting in to the mix any way he can as well. It also means that fantasy owners with Mike Vick on their team may want to consider going with another option under center on those fantasy rosters.
Curtis Marsh, Defensive Back –Second year defensive back Curtis Marsh was limited in practice all week with a mild hamstring injury, and whether he plays or not remains to be seen. If he is unavailable it may not be too big of a loss for the team, as he listed second on the depth chart behind Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Marsh recorded two tackles
Jason Avant, Wide Receiver – Adding to the receiver concerns for the Eagles is the mild wrist injury to Jason Avant, who should be the next best option if Maclin and/or Jackson are unavailable. Avant’s wrist injury should not be too much of a concern though after participating in full practices all week, but it is something to keep an eye on just in case.
In the worst-case scenario that sees the Eagles offense needing to operate without Maclin, Jackson and Avant, it could be a big day for tight end Brent Celek, and possibly Clay Harbor in two tight end sets. It probably won’t get to that point, but wide receive depth is clearly a concern in week two.
Colt Anderson, Free Safety – After missing the season opener in Cleveland, Anderson appears ready to get back in to the mix for the Eagles defense. Anderson’s ACL rehab has gotten to the point where is now available to play, and the team is listing him second on the depth chart this week behind Kurt Coleman.
Kurt Coleman, Free Safety – Speaking of Coleman, after facial lacerations last week it appears Coleman will be ready to go this week against Baltimore. Coleman remains first on the depth chart after participating in full practices Thursday and Friday. He is listed as probable as a precaution, more than anything else, and should be taking the field the first time the defense is called to duty Sunday.
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Kevin McGuire covers college football for Examiner.com and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow him on Twitter (@KevinOnCFB). His work can be found on Examiner.com.