Eagles news

Eagles lose another defensive back for at least a month

Evans was placed on IR with a knee injury

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The Eagles placed oft-injured starting safety Justin Evans on Injured Reserve Friday with a knee injury, shutting him down for at least a month.

Evans played every snap in the Eagles’ win over the Rams Sunday but popped up on the injury report Wednesday and didn’t practice at all during the week.

He must miss a minimum of four games, which means he’d be eligible to return for the Eagles-Chiefs Monday night game at the Linc on Nov. 20.

With the open roster spot, the Eagles promoted recent acquisition Bradley Roby to the 53-man roster. The Eagles signed Roby to the practice squad last Wednesday, and he played 25 snaps in the slot against the Rams. That figure is expected to rise as he gets into football shape and continues to learn the defense.

As for Evans, he’s been in the league for seven years – he was the Bucs’ 2nd-round pick in 2017 - but has played only 43 games. He missed the entire 2019, 2020 and 2021 seasons and also missed the Eagles’ win over Washington on Oct. 1 with a neck injury.

Evans won a training camp battle with Terrell Edmunds, K’Von Wallace and Sydney Brown for the starting safety spot opposite Reed Blankenship, but the injury woes that have plagued him throughout his career have continued. 

With Evans out, presumably Edmunds will start Sunday against the Jets in East Rutherford. Edmunds, the Steelers’ 1st-round pick in 2018, started in place of Evans against Washington and played all 78 snaps. He’s played 182 snaps on defense so far this year but didn’t play any last week in L.A.

Edmunds started 75 games for the Steelers between 2018 and 2022. Brown has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury and was a limited participant at practice each day this week. He played 16 snaps on defense against the Vikings and Bucs before getting hurt in Tampa. The only safety on the practice squad is Tristin McCollum, who played 20 snaps on special teams in his NFL debut against Washington as a game-day call-up.

With punter Braden Mann and Roby both now on the 53, the Eagles have the flexibility to make their two game-day call-ups without worrying about adding a punter and slot corner.

The Eagles have used a different starting secondary in each game this year. They’ve played a total of 13 different defensive backs so far in five games and eight starters. Roby will be the ninth if the Eagles open in nickel.

With Darius Slay out, the Eagles won’t have a defensive back start each of the team’s first six games or a d-back to play defensive snaps in all six games.

Slay, Evans, James Bradberry, Blankenship, Avonte Maddox and Zech McPhearson have all missed games. After Sunday, only Jobe, Edmunds and Kelee Ringo will have gotten on the field on defense or special teams in all six games.

Josh Sweat, Haason Reddick, Jordan Davis and Zach Cunningham will presumably be the only players on defense to start the Eagles’ first six games.

Starting linebacker Nakobe Dean, who returned to practice on his 21-day window after missing four games on Injured Reserve, remains on Injured Reserve but practiced all week. The Eagles would need to clear another roster spot to activate him for the Jets.

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