PHILADELPHIA – It only makes sense that Eagles tight end Zach Ertz won’t play in Sunday’s game against the New York Giants, after injuries have hammered the team’s skill position group all season long.
Ertz was ruled out on Friday with a rib and back injury suffered against in a 17-9 win over the Dallas Cowboys last week, ending his streak of consecutive games played at 34. The last game he missed was in Los Angeles on Dec. 10, 2017, when he had a concussion. It was the game in which quarterback Carson Wentz tore two knee ligaments.
Also ruled out was receiver Nelson Agholor, who will miss his fourth straight game with a knee injury. Listed as questionable were right tackle Lane Johnson (ankle) and cornerback Jalen Mills (ankle).
It’s widely known by now that the Eagles’ have played much of the season without star receivers Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson and running backs Darren Sproles and Corey Clement due to injuries.
Ertz’s loss is a big setback for an Eagles team that can wrap up the NFC East title with a win, considering that he leads the team in catches with 88 and yards with 916. He is tied for second on the team in touchdowns with six, including both TD receptions in the win over the Giants in their first meeting three weeks ago.
The injury occurred early in the game when Cowboys safety Xavier Woods delivered a hard hit to Ertz’s back on a high throw from Wentz.
“Any time that happens, I feel bad,” said Wentz on Thursday. “Not just because he’s a friend, but any teammate. You put a ball a little high, you get him hit, that stuff happens. Unfortunately, it led to an injury there. But we’re all good. I do feel bad when that stuff happens, but at the same time, that’s football.”
The Eagles have made it hard on themselves all season, having to use practice squad players to fill in the gaps for the injured players. Yet, they have gone on a three-game winning streak to control their own destiny.
Not having Mills could also hurt the defense, since the Eagles’ other starting cornerback, Ronald Darby, was placed in Injured Reserve earlier in the week. Without Mills, the Eagles would likely start Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones on the corner.
Without Ertz, the Eagles will rely on second-year tight end Dallas Goedert, who had career-highs in catches with nine and yards with 91 and his fifth touchdown last week.
“Zach obviously draws a lot of attention,” said Goedert. “I think the coaches will do what they can to try to eliminate that, try to get us in the best situations so that’s not happening.”
Josh Perkins, who was only just promoted from the practice squad in Week 13, and Richard Rodgers, who wasn’t on a roster all season until the being signed by the Eagles, will also be used.
Rodgers is a veteran, having played in 70 games including nine in the playoffs, seven of which came with Green Bay and the other two with the Eagles last year.
“I’ve been in playoff games before, I’ve been in some pretty big games, so for me it’s just that approach, that playoff approach,” said Rodgers. “You have to lock in and everyone focus on their job. We’re all trying to win a game.”
Winning this one figures to be more difficult without Ertz and possibly Mills, too.