By Kevin McGuire
Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback Sam Bradford will miss his first game with the Eagles this Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After being knocked out of last week’s game against Miami with a concussion and a left shoulder injury, Bradford will be out of action this weekend at Lincoln Financial Field. So will running back Ryan Mathews, who also is working his way back from a concussion injury as well as a groin issue.
The Eagles could be without one more key member for the offense with offensive tackle Jason Peters officially listed as questionable for this weekend’s home contest.
Bradford out, Sanchez in
With Bradford unavailable, the Eagles will turn to backup quarterback Mark Sanchez. Sanchez entered last weekend’s game in relief of the injured Bradford. In his limited time on the field this season, Sanchez has completed 60.9 percent of his pass attempts for 156 yards with one interception. That interception came at the absolute worst possible time last weekend as the Eagles looked to be scoring what could have been a game-winning touchdown. Instead, Sanchez was picked off inside the red zone and Miami slammed the door shut. Thad Lewis is the third string quarterback on the Eagles roster, and he should be expected to be the backup to Sanchez if needed.
Eagles running game in trouble
The loss of Mathews this weekend also dings the running game with its flexibility. DeMarco Murray has started to find a groove it seems, and is comfortable carrying the bulk of the carries when needed. Without Mathews though, look to see if Chip Kelly gets Darren Sproles involved more in the running game, or perhaps young Kenjon Barner, one of Kelly’s former players at Oregon. Barner has been voicing his displeasure with a lack of opportunity to show what he can do. This may be that opportunity.
Peters did not participate ion practices on Wednesday or Friday, according to the Eagles, and that would appear to be a bad sign. He was, however, available for a limited practice on Thursday. Lane Johnson will continue to fill the void left by Peters if he is not available to play on Sunday as the veteran continues to recover from a back injury. The versatile Josh Andrews, who can play center or guard, is officially listed as probable for this weekend, but should probably be expected to be available to take some snaps if needed. Andrews sat out of practice earlier in the week due to a concussion, but did return for a full practice on Friday.
Eagles on defense
Two key members of the defense should be available as well, although both linebackers Connor Barwin and DeMeco Ryans are officially listed as probable. Barwin missed one practice and was limited in another before returning for a full practice on Friday as he recovers from a quadricep injury. Ryans continues to battle through a nagging hamstring injury, but he put in full practices all week long.
One minor injury note from the Eagles on Friday as well as backup safety Jerome Couplin was placed on injured reserve due to a shoulder injury. The Eagles promoted Ed Reynolds from the practice squad to the active roster.
C/G Josh Andrews (concussion)
LB Connor Barwin (quadricep)
WR Josh Huff (back)
LB DeMeco Ryans (hamstring)
DB Walter Thurmond (hamstring)
OT Jason Peters (back)
QB Sam Bradford (concussion, left shoulder)
DB Jerome Couplin (shoulder)
RB Ryan Mathews (concussion, groin)
Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on Examiner.com.