The Eagles were back on the practice field again on Friday as they continue to prepare to face the Seahawks on Monday Night Football. But they were without three key starters.
Cornerback Darius Slay (knee), right guard Cam Jurgens (pectoral) and linebacker Zach Cunningham (knee) all missed practice for the second straight day.
Jurgens was at practice but as a spectator. He watched as veteran Sua Opeta took reps at right guard between Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson during the offensive line drills when reporters were present.
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Opeta started four games earlier this season when Steen was on IR but rookie Tyler Steen ended up starting that last game against Dallas before the bye week. Opeta is healthy now, though, and it looks like he’s in line to start if Steen can’t go this week. If Jurgens can’t play on Monday, this would be his sixth missed game in 2023.
During his career, Opeta has played in 34 games with 8 starts. The Eagles originally acquired Opeta as an undrafted free agent from Weber State in 2019.
We’ll see what happens with Slay, who was also a non-participant in the first two days of last week before returning on Friday and playing in the game. Although, this week the Eagles have removed the “resting player” part of Slay’s injury designation from last week.
If Slay can’t go the Eagles have some young players as options: Josh Jobe, Kelee Ringo, Eli Ricks. This would be a tough game without Slay, though, because the Seahawks have a talented trio of receivers in D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
If Cunningham is unable to play, then expect newcomer Shaq Leonard to play a whole lot more in his second game with the Eagles. Against the Cowboys, the Eagles got Leonard’s feet wet with 14 snaps in a rotation with Cunningham and Nicholas Morrow. If Cunningham is out, then the Eagles would likely start Morrow and Leonard and their top backup would be rookie UDFA Ben VanSumeren.
The other injury note from Friday’s practice was that Reed Blankenship (concussion) was able to participate for the second straight day. Blankenship suffered a concussion in the second quarter against the Cowboys but could clear the NFL’s concussion protocol with the extra day before Monday Night Football.
While Avonte Maddox (pectoral) has been on IR since Week 3, the Eagles haven't ruled out a possible return during the playoffs. Maddox was seen working with a trainer on a side field on Friday:
As the Eagles prepare to play with the possibility of rain in Seattle on Monday night, they were getting their return men ready. As Britain Covey and the other returners fielded punts, receivers coach Aaron Moorehead sprayed the air in front of them with a water bottle. The Eagles have done this a lot this season; they seem to play in the rain quite a bit.