Return of Isaac Seumalo a "Major Plus" for Eagles

Ed Kracz

It’s been two months since Eagles left guard Isaac Seumalo last played in a game. 

That drought will end Sunday when Seumalo returns to his post against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, helping stabilize an offensive line that has been shuffled every which way this season due to injury.

“That will be a major plus,” said running back Miles Sanders. “It’s basically like getting the band back together. All they’re missing is Big B Brooks (Brandon Brooks). They have really good chemistry with each other, and everything should be working smoothly even though the guys who have been filling in those spots have been doing a helluva job.

“(O-line coach Jeff Stoutland) has been doing a good job coaching them up and getting the job done week in, week out. But having those guys back, especially a guy like Isaac is going to be a big plus for us.”

Seumalo injured a knee in a Week 2 loss against the L.A. Rams on Sept. 20.

Head coach Doug Pederson didn’t reveal who will play right guard, however.

Nate Herbig had been the starter at both guard spots for the first eight games of the season, but a hand/finger injury prevented him from playing in last week’s loss to the New York Giants.

“Herbie is in the plans, (Sua) Opeta is in the plans, we know Matt Pryor is in the plans there,” said Pederson.

The coach also seemed to indicate that rookie Jack Driscoll, who has played tackle this season, could even be an option.

That guard spot has been problematic all season after Brandon Brooks tore his Achilles during a June workout.

“Really, you can’t replace experience,” said right tackle Lane Johnson. “Losing Brooks at the beginning of the year was one of the toughest blows we had. It’s just young guys coming in and playing. They haven’t played a lot of ball, so with each game, they’re getting better.

“With that, I think the communication has to be better. I gotta be better on that standpoint with the younger guys in there. With that, when you have good communication across the board, you usually play pretty clean. We missed a lot of assignments, so we gotta be better on that front.”

Seumalo should help make it better.

As for tight end Zach Ertz, the Eagles have until Saturday at 4 p.m. to activate him, but that doesn’t seem likely based on what Pederson said on Friday morning.

Ertz was activated into the 21-day practice window earlier in the week, as was Seumalo prior to the Giants game, but Seumalo did not play against New York, with the Eagles opting to keep him on IR until Friday.

“Zach probably needs a little more time right now … but this was a good week for him,” said the coach. “Much like Isaac was last week, to get him back out there and get him running around with the team again was good. We'll see at the end of (Friday) how he feels before we make that determination.”

The Eagles have until Saturday at 4 p.m. to make a move with Ertz, just as they do with the three players they placed on the Restricted/COVID-19 list earlier in the week: receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, defensive lineman Vinny Curry, and running back Corey Clement.

Safety Marcus Epps is still on the list but practiced this week as an exemption and could also be activated by Saturday’s deadline.

The Eagles protected three practice squad players for Sunday’s game: DB Grayland Arnold, DT Raequan Williams, and TE Caleb Wilson.

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