For the second-straight week, the Eagles have received great news on the injury front, regarding one of their top offensive playmakers.
Last week, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson announced that third-year quarterback Carson Wentz was cleared for contact and would be the starter against the Indianapolis Colts.
And now on Wednesday, Pederson announced that No. 1 wide receiver Alshon Jeffery has been cleared for contact, but his status for Sunday’s game will be determined later in the week.
Nevertheless, this is great news to hear as Philly’s wide receiver unit desperately missed the presence of Jeffery through the first three weeks of the season.
Pederson was asked about having Jeffery back in the fold and what he brings to the offense.
“It definitely gives us, offensively, a shot in the arm, and he can become a big impact, quite honestly, with the offense and the way [Eagles offensive coordinator] Mike Groh and myself, the formations and moving our guys around, moving him inside, moving him outside,” he explained.
“There’s going to be a progression with him, and I don’t think it will be instantaneous, but at the same time the more comfortable he gets, the better he becomes. He becomes a target defensively as you saw in some of the games last year where he was doubled a lot, especially in the red zone and we know that is going to happen. He or [TE Zach] Ertz are going to be sort of taken away if defenses can, but yeah he makes a huge difference for us.”
Without having the likes of Jeffery, both quarterbacks Nick Foles and Wentz have had to lean on tight ends Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Josh Perkins, and wide receiver Nelson Agholor.
In last Sunday’s game, the Eagles tight ends were targeted 21 times for 13 receptions and a touchdown. In comparison to the wide receivers, Agholor and Jordan Matthews were only targeted seven times for six receptions. Those numbers should go up a bit with Jeffery returning to the lineup.
Over the last few weeks, it was speculated that Jeffery could return sometime during the early part of the regular season. ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen reported late last month that Jeffery was expected to miss the first two weeks of the season and there was optimism that he could be back by Week 3.
Jeffery had torn rotator cuff surgery after the Eagles defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII back in February. The veteran wide receiver suffered the injury back in training camp last summer and played with it throughout last season.
Despite having a banged up shoulder, it did not slow down Jeffery from having a productive 2017 campaign. Last season, he had 57 receptions (120 targets) for 789 yards and nine touchdowns.
The 28-year-old Jeffery also came up huge in the postseason as he had 85 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the NFC championship game and 73 receiving yards and a score in the Super Bowl.
With that being known, the Eagles are definitely happy to have Jeffery back because it should open up things for other players on the field and give Wentz a viable option to stretch the field. Philly has not been able to create big plays through the air to begin the season, but that could change if Jeffery plays against Tennessee.