The Eagles started this week preparing for the San Francisco 49ers with six receivers on their active roster.
Now, they might be down to just one.
The injury issues that have haunted this team the last few seasons seemed to hit a crescendo on Thursday as the team practiced with just one healthy wide receiver — Greg Ward — on their roster.
Jalen Reagor? On injured reserve.
Alshon Jeffery? Not practicing with a foot injury.
DeSean Jackson? Not practicing with a hamstring injury.
J.J. Arcega-Whiteside? Not practicing with a calf injury.
John Hightower? Not practicing — and it isn’t known yet why.
The team is holding out hope that some of the injured receivers will be able to play on Sunday, but at the very least, they won’t be practicing during the week. It is unlikely that Jeffery plays, and while there is a slightly better chance Jackson does, it also seems unlikely he will suit up. Arcega-Whiteside could be a last-minute decision, but the calf injury limited his reps last week, and it is looking less-and-less likely he will play.
As for Hightower, the team has yet to issue an injury report, so it is hard to get a read on his chances — but the rookie missing practice is not ideal.
So what are the Eagles going to do?
It is likely they will call up Deontay Burnett to the active roster, but even if they do, it is possible they will only have Ward, Hightower and Burnett. Receivers Marcus Green and Travis Fulgham are also on the practice squad and are options to be called up.
Hakeem Butler, who played receiver in college, could be an option — but the team is listening him as a tight end.
Adding to the issues at receiver? Tight end Dallas Goedert was placed on injured reserve this week, meaning the team’s top target in the passing game so far this season won’t be playing. That leaves the team thin at tight end as well.
Overall, of five players projected to be a big part of the passing game this season — Jackson, Jeffery, Ward, Ertz and Goedert — three likely won’t be out there on Sunday night.
On Wednesday, quarterback Carson Wentz said that having to deal with injuries at the end of last season — and playing with practice squad players — could help them prepare for Sunday night.
“Without a doubt it can be a resource. It is something to look back on and say ‘how did I get on same page with some of these guys even though it was a short week or short amount of time and building that chemistry quickly?’ That is really the story of this season just because of no OTAs and all of that. No even moreso here going into Week 4,” Wentz said. “Some things that I have learned are to play fast, not try to do too much and just let the playmakers do their job, and I think it is a good week for that and guys will be ready to go.”