ATLANTA – Tight end Dallas Goedert spent the entire game on Sunday night in uniform, on the Eagles sidelines, giving the appearance that he was ready to play against the Atlanta Falcons but nursing a calf injury that forced him off the field during pre-game warmups. Wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson saw a few snaps each before coming off the field, Jeffery with a calf injury and Jackson a groin injury.
“We’ll check tomorrow, when we get back,” Doug Pederson said on the seriousness of the injuries. “It’s hard to comment on those injuries right now. Long-term, we don’t know.”
Three of the weapons at quarterback Carson Wentz’s disposal in this explosive, beat-a-defense-in-a-number-of-ways offense essentially spent the entire game watching from the sidelines.
And the Eagles felt the impact.
Without Goedert, the Eagles had just one tight end, Zach Ertz, available to play. The team has only two tight ends on the 53-man roster, with Alex Ellis on the practice squad after being active on gameday for the regular-season opener against Washington. Minus Jeffery and Jackson, the Eagles went with Nelson Agholor, Mack Hollins, and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. While Wentz and Agholor have had plenty of reps and have developed chemistry in the past three seasons, neither Hollins nor Arcega-Whiteside have worked much with Wentz.
“Well, the adjustments started in the first quarter when guys started falling for us,” Pederson said. “I give credit to Mike Groh and Jeff Stoutland in the run game and passing game, keeping guys like J.J. and Mack Hollins and the running backs and Nelly and Zach, just keeping them kind of abreast to what we were doing and the changes we were making. We had to switch some personnel groups tonight in mid-stream which is hard to do. I give credit to those guys for doing it.”
It showed, as Wentz threw errantly for much of the first half, when he completed just 6 of 16 passes for 47 yards, with two interceptions. Wentz compiled a passer rating of 6.2. Wentz averaged just 2.4 yards per passing attempt before he left the field and went into the blue medical tent for evaluation of a possible concussion as Josh McCown came on and led the offense for six snaps of the final drive of the second quarter. McCown completed 3 of 5 passes for 24 yards before Wentz returned.