By Kevin McGuire
The Philadelphia Eagles will be without running back Darren Sproles when they take on the Baltimore Ravens this week down I-95. The Eagles’ second-leading running back was knocked out with a concussion last week on a controversial hit by Deshazor Everett of the Washington Redskins. The injury concerns dig a little deeper for the Eagles offense this week, with an offensive line that’s banged up.
Uncertainty On The Offensive Line
Offensive tackle Allen Barbre is expected to be a game-time decision on Sunday after sitting out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday and being limited at best on Friday. Barbre is working his way through a hamstring injury, and his potential absence creates a little more uncertainty on the offensive line, an area the Eagles can least afford to have question marks with a rookie quarterback and without one of the team’s rushing leaders.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson did not rule out the possibility of keeping Barbre out of the starting lineup and using him as an emergency backup on Sunday. With Barbre listed as questionable for this weekend, the Eagles will bump rookie Isaac Seumalo into the right tackle position. If Seumalo gets the start at right tackle, he will be the fifth right tackle used by the Eagles this season. Seumalo has seen some starting time already, filling in for right guard Brandon Brooks recently. He would just be playing one spot over on the offensive line, which will continue to shake things up this week.
Offensive tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai has been ruled out for this weekend’s game as he continues to miss practice time with a knee injury. That means more playing time for a serviceable Stefen Wisniewski.
The other question facing the offensive line’s status will be the health and condition of guard Brandon Brooks, who has had to miss playing time due to illness. He has been a full practice participant this week, but if the illness comes back to bother him on game day, then the line will become even more shallow. That could be a concern for the Eagles. Lane Johnson is wrapping up his 10-game suspension this weekend and will be eligible to return to the offensive line on Monday.
Short On Running Backs
With Sproles unavailable to run the football and Wendell Smallwood already placed on injured reserve, the Eagles will carry just three running backs with them against Baltimore. Ryan Mathews will be the main running back. Mathews leads the team in rushing with 487 yards and seven touchdowns this season. Joining him as running options will be Kenjon Barner (who will also be returning punts in the absence of Sproles) and Byron Marshall, who was just bumped up from the practice squad. The role he may play on Sunday is likely limited.
Other Eagles players listed as questionable but expected to be available include tight end Brent Celek (stinger), receiver Dorial Green-Beckham (abdomen) and linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill (illness).
Eagles leading receiver Jordan Matthews is officially listed as questionable for this weekend. His ankle injury kept him out of practice on Wednesday, but he did return for a full practice on Thursday. He should be available for the Eagles against Baltimore.
Ravens Without Jimmy Smith
The Ravens may be dinged in the secondary this weekend, too. Starting cornerback Jimmy Smith has not practiced this week as he works through his own ankle injury, and he will be out for Sunday. A handful of Ravens were limited in practice on Thursday as well and questionable for this weekend’s matchup, including tight end Crockett Gilmore (thigh), defensive back-linebacker hybrid Anthony Levine Sr. (toe) and cornerback Jerraud Powers (concussion).
- OT Allen Barbre (hamstring)
- TE Brent Celek (stinger)
- WR Dorial Green-Beckham (abdomen)
- LB Kamu Grugier-Hill (illness)
- WR Jordan Matthews (ankle)
- RB Darren Sproles (concussion)
- OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai (knee)