By Kevin McGuire
When the Philadelphia Eagles look to snap a losing streak at home Sunday against NFC East rival Washington, they could potentially try to do so with a banged-up wide receiver unit. Leading wide receiver Jordan Matthews is listed as questionable for Sunday afternoon’s game against the Redskins, although he expects to play. Dorial Green-Beckham is listed as questionable after not practicing at all this week. The good news for the offense? Leading rusher Ryan Mathews looks as though he may get back in the mix this weekend.
Matthews sat out of last week’s game in Cincinnati, which was the first time in his career he missed a game. He is itching to get back on the field after getting his ankle back in gear. Matthews started the week off being limited in Wednesday’s practice, but finished the week as a full participant in practice sessions on Thursday and Friday as the team wrapped up the week on the practice field.
His return to the field will be a nice boost, especially if Green-Beckham is unavailable. Matthews is the team’s leading receiver with 57 receptions for 686 yards and three touchdowns. In the previous meeting with Washington earlier this season, Matthews managed just three catches for 75 yards, including a 54-yard play. If he is up to full speed, the Eagles will try to get him some more catches, but Washington will know Matthews may be the only viable threat in the field, so do not expect things to come easily.
Green-Beckham suffered an abdomen injury last weekend against Cincinnati and it has been bad enough to keep him out of practices all week. Although not quite as reliable and consistent as Matthews, Green-Beckham has had some positive moments for the Eagles. His loss is an obvious blow to the shallow depth on the team at the position, regardless of how productive he may or may not be if able to play. That will put some pressure on Nelson Agholor to step up once again.
Ryan Mathews appears optimistic to be available this weekend. Coming off a knee injury, Mathews was a full practice participant all week, which is generally a strong sign for a player’s status on game day. His return to the offense would be nice, as he leads the team with 427 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. Having him also helps cut back on how many touches need to be dealt to Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood. The Eagles running game was a non-factor last week, partly due to play-calling and partly due to the lack of production needed in the running game has shown this season.
The Eagles will also be without rookie offensive tackle Halapoulivaati once again this week as he works his way back from a knee injury. Vaitai will be missing his third game, which means the reshuffled patch-work offensive line will have to dig deep once more and get through another 60 minutes. Allen Barbre has been filling in for the injured Vaitai at right tackle the last few games, while Stefen Wisniewski has been asked to fill in for Barbre’s usual position at left guard. So far, it has been adequate enough and may have led to the possibility of the Eagles signing Wisniewski in free agency to pad the depth a little bit.
- OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai (knee)
- WR Dorial Green-Beckham (abdomen)
- RB Ryan Mathews (knee)
- WR Jordan Matthews (ankle)
Stats via CBSSports.com