To win a Super Bowl or to play in one, teams need to be relatively healthy down the stretch. The Philadelphia Eagles were very healthy heading into last year’s Super Bowl and had all 22 starters available for that game.
Philadelphia Eagles’ Injury Situation Ahead of MNF
Starting QB Jalen Hurts (left knee) confirmed during his media conference last week when asked that he did not practice with the sleeve that he had been wearing for weeks.
A league source confirmed that the injury he had been dealing with is a bone bruise. That injury typically can linger for weeks due to swelling and soreness, a medical source explained, but the Eagles’ Week 10 bye clearly helped the fourth-year pro get the injury behind him.
Jalen Hurts v Chiefs
— All About The Birds (@AATBirds) November 16, 2023
And there’s some other good news on the offensive side of the ball.
Starting RG Cam Jurgens (foot), who was placed on injured reserve in Week 5, was activated over the weekend and is expected to be in the lineup Monday night.
Jurgens, a 2022 second-round pick by the Eagles, was drafted to be starting C Jason Kelce’s eventual replacement. He played at a very high level before suffering his injury during the team’s Week 4 victory over the visiting Washington Commanders, a personnel source who reviewed the Eagles’ game tape told Pro Football Network recently.
Jurgens, who played his first two years as a tight end in college (Nebraska), is only in his fourth season playing on the offensive line.
As for the key players who won’t be in the lineup against the host Chiefs, starting TE Dallas Goedert (broken forearm/out) is expected to be out for at least the next few games, but a league source with knowledge of the situation told PFN that Goedert would “definitely be back before the end of the (regular) season.”
Philadelphia head coach Nick Sirianni, who typically will decline to discuss injury timetables for his players, was asked during his most recent media session over this past weekend whether there’s a reason that Goedert is not on injured reserve yet.
“We have high hopes that Dallas is going to be back. Again, I don’t know when. I think that’s unfair to Dallas. Yeah, there is a reason he’s not on IR yet,” the head coach explained.
With Goedert out at least for the near future, the coaches will turn to backup tight ends Jack Stoll and Grant Calcaterra to fill in, just as they did last season when Goedert missed time due to a shoulder injury. However, one player who could add a receiving element to the position is former Denver Broncos TE Albert Okwuegbunam, a 2020 fourth-round pick whom the Eagles acquired in late August.
Okwuegbunam, known in personnel circles for his athleticism, will handle the No. 3 role at the position until Goedert returns. Stoll is the team’s top “Y” or inline TE, and Calcaterra, who has been cleared to return from a concussion after a one-game absence, is more of a “move” tight end than for playing inline, though a personnel source said he has improved as a blocker this season.
Eagles Defense Injury Overview
Defensively, Philadelphia has been hit hard by injury — especially in the secondary. In a fact that seems hard to believe, the team has played at least eight players in a nickel role this season.
Starting slot/nickel CB Avonte Maddox (torn left pectoral-placed on IR in Week 3) is expected to miss at least the rest of the regular season, and third-year CB Zech McPhearson (torn Achilles-IR), who suffered his injury during the preseason and was going to be Maddox’s backup, is out until next season, leaving the coaches to mix and match on the back end.
Unfortunately, the other players they have tried in nickel, including a large combination of cornerbacks who have little or no experience playing the slot and a few safeties, have struggled to play consistently well in that role.
Still, there is some good news coming Monday evening.
Veteran CB Bradley Roby (shoulder), who took over immediately as the Eagles’ primary nickel defender in his first game after signing a one-year deal last month, is set to return from missing the past three games.
Roby practiced fully all week and has no game status designation, which means he’s expected to play.
He played a nickel role most recently as last season with the New Orleans Saints and played “fairly well” during his first game with the Eagles during their Week 5 victory over the host Los Angeles Rams, a personnel source said. Unfortunately, he suffered his injury during the team’s Week 6 loss to the host New York Jets.
— Chris Franklin (@cfranklinnews) November 16, 2023
No team has given up more production (receptions, yards, touchdowns) to opposing wide receivers through the NFL’s first 10 weeks, so Roby’s return can only help their struggling secondary.
On the back end, Philadelphia will be without veteran S Justin Evans (knee), who was a surprise starter to open the season.
Evans, who suffered a knee injury in Week 5, was placed on IR in Week 6 and started practicing last week. His injury — coupled with rookie S Sydney Brown also missing time due to injury — seemed to necessitate the team’s decision to acquire veteran S Kevin Byard from the Tennessee Titans late last month.
In the middle of the defense, starting ILB Nakobe Dean, who now has suffered two separate foot injuries (right and left), was placed on injured reserve last week.
Kansas City Chiefs Injury Update
As for the defending Super Bowl champions, the Chiefs are in much better shape from an injury standpoint.
The only starter that K.C. will be without is MLB Nick Bolton (wrist surgery-IR). Bolton, who won’t be back until sometime next month, was placed on IR in Week 8.
Former Los Angeles Chargers ILB Drue Tranquill, who started for Bolton for three games earlier this season when he was unable to play due to an ankle injury, has also started for him for the past two games.
Tranquill, known in personnel circles for his athleticism and instincts, started 32 out of 56 games played from 2019 through the 2022 season for the Chargers.
Tranquill, a fourth-round pick out of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Chargers, signed a one-year, $3 million contract with the Chiefs back in March with roughly $2.5 million fully guaranteed, a league source confirmed.
Kansas City got some good news over the weekend when veteran PR/KR/WR Richie James (knee-MCL sprain) was activated off injured reserve on Saturday. James opened the regular season as the team’s primary punt and kick returner, but he suffered his injury during the team’s Week 2 victory over the host Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Chiefs used a variety of options for their return game before acquiring WR Mecole Hardman from the Jets prior to the recent NFL trade deadline.
Hardman, a second-round pick of the Chiefs out of the 2019 NFL Draft, has had ball-security issues when handling returns during his second stint with the team bringing into question whether he’ll remain in that role.
Assistant head coach/special teams coach Dave Toub, who started his NFL coaching career with the Eagles during the 2001 season, was asked last week during his weekly media session whether Hardman would remain as the team’s returner.
“Yeah, we have faith in Mecole, Mecole’s fine. Keep improving on his decision-making, and we’ll be fine. We have a long way to go, we’re getting better and better each week,” Toub said.