For the second straight day the Eagles practiced without Alshon Jeffery on Thursday, and as Sunday creeps closer, it appears unlikely that the receiver will play against the New England Patriots due to an ankle injury.
Speaking Wednesday about Jeffery, head coach Doug Pederson called Jeffery "day-to-day."
"He's still sore," Pederson said. "Obviously a lot of guys are still sore, but it helped him. We'll see."
If Jeffery can't go the Eagles, already without DeSean Jackson as well, will take on the Patriots with Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Mack Hollins as their top receivers.
Jeffery, 29, has not looked like himself this season. Jeffery has just 353 receiving yards and three touchdowns on 34 catches in eight games. His 6.4 yards per target and 10.4 yards per receptions are both career lows.
"His value to the offense has been very good. The ball's going to find the open guy. Sometimes he's the primary, sometimes he's not," Pederson said of Jeffery. "He might be the secondary or the third guy in the progression. He's a guy that gives of himself to the team. That's who Alshon is. He doesn't gripe or complain. He does battle through injury. He's battled through it his whole career. He's battled through it here. He's a tough kid."
Nevertheless, losing Jeffery for Sunday's game against the Patriots would be a major blow to the Eagles' offense, which is already suffering from a lack of playmakers with DeSean Jackson now on IR. If Jeffery is indeed out, the Eagles will likely start Matthews and Hollins on the outside, with Agholor in the slot. The injuries at receiver will also put more pressure on the tight ends, especially second-year player Dallas Goedert, as the Patriots will almost certainly focus on taking tight end Zach Ertz away.
Jeffery signed a four-year extension worth $52 million with $27 million guaranteed in December of 2017 after signing with Philadelphia as a free-agent in March of 2017, and had his 2020 salary guarantees prior to the start of this season. After a dissapointing year to date, however, the Eagles might have to explore ways to move on from him this offseason.
You can follow Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org!