Eagles' defensive line in shambles, too; and were Doug Pederson, Carson Wentz too aggressive vs. Washington?
The patchwork offensive line is getting plenty of attention for the Eagles' 27-17 loss Sunday against Washington, and rightly so.
The Eagles allowed eight sacks, their most in nearly 13 years, and quarterback Carson Wentz was hit 14 times, which obviously isn't good for his health.
But the Eagles might have just as big of a problem on the defensive line.
Eagles coach Doug Pederson said Monday that defensive end Vinny Curry, along with special teamer Craig James suffered "significant injuries," and "are going to miss some time here in the next couple of weeks."
The NFL Network reported that Curry, who left the game in the third quarter with a hamstring injury, could miss up to four weeks.
In addition, defensive end Brandon Graham left the game in the fourth quarter to be evaluated for a concussion. Pederson said Monday that Graham is in the concussion protocol. There's no predicting how long it will take for Graham to be cleared to return.
OVERRUN BY WASHINGTON:Carson Wentz, Eagles start fast, then get buried in deflating loss to Washington
Derek Barnett was ruled out of the game the day before with a hamstring injury that kept him out of practice for the entire training camp, which began Aug. 17. Barnett returned to practice last week, but on a limited basis.
Pederson said he hopes to increase Barnett's practice regimen this week in preparation for the game against the Rams on Sunday.
Still, it's possible that the Eagles' top three defensive ends could miss the game. That would leave Josh Sweat and Genard Avery, who finished out the game Sunday, along with defensive tackle Malik Jackson, who could move out to end if needed.
The Eagles also have seventh-round pick Casey Toohill, who wasn't on the game-day roster against Washington, along with Joe Ostman, who can be promoted from the practice squad.
Here are some other takeaways from the Eagles' loss:
Pederson too aggressive?
The Eagles got the ball back at their 28-yard line with 1:44 left in the second quarter, leading 17-0.
So, why not run the ball and go into halftime up by 17?
Instead, quarterback Carson Wentz tried an out pass to rookie Jalen Reagor that was picked off by Fabian Moreau at the Eagles' 45. Washington scored a touchdown with 40 seconds left.
Pederson said he wanted more points before the half, knowing that the Eagles would also get the ball to start the second half.
Last year, in the season opener, Washington had a 17-0 lead in the second quarter over the Eagles, and the Eagles ended up winning that game.
"A 17-0 lead, or a 27-10 lead, in any football game is not enough," Pederson said. "You have to continue to maintain aggressiveness, especially when you have momentum and it’s kind of on your side. You gotta use that to your advantage."
What about the 4th-and-4 from the Eagles' 45 late in the third quarter, the Eagles still ahead 17-14? Would the Eagles have been better off punting the ball and making Washington start from deep in its own territory?
Remember, Washington had just 239 yards of total offense, and didn't have a scoring drive longer than 48 yards.
Wentz was sacked on the play by linebacker Jon Bostic, who was untouched on a blitz up the middle. Washington took over at the Eagles' 46, and ended up with the game-tying field goal.
"We have a guy open and we don’t execute the (blocking) protection," Pederson said.
Was Wentz too aggressive?
Then there's quarterback Carson Wentz.
There were times when he held the ball too long and ended up taking a sack when he should have thrown the ball away. That, of course, has been an issue for Wentz ever since the Eagles drafted him in 2016.
Sure, at times he would make a spectacular play doing just that in the past. That's why Pederson said it's still a balancing act with Wentz, even though he's in his fifth NFL season.
"We still have to address him, and address those issues," Pederson said. "It’s part of the football game. We have to keep talking to him, that it’s OK to throw the ball away, it’s OK to dirt the ball on a screen pass."
Where was DeSean?
In the 2019 season opener, DeSean Jackson had TD receptions of 51 and 53 yards, and finished with 8 catches for 154 yards. On Sunday, Jackson played just 54% of the offensive snaps, and had 2 catches for 46 yards.
Jackson's first catch, for 19 yards, came on the Eagles' opening drive. His second came late in the third quarter. He was on the sideline for long stretches in the first half.
Of course, the season opener in 2019 was the only full game Jackson played in. He suffered a core muscle injury the next week and later had surgery.
"Obviously, he’s a big part of the offense, but at the same time we want to make sure that he’s healthy and fresh for us down the long haul here," Pederson said. "I think each week, I would anticipate his rep count to increase as we go."
Still, it seemed like Jackson should have played more. The Eagles had two rookie receivers – Jalen Reagor and John Hightower – making their NFL debuts, and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside played 41% of the snaps without having a single pass thrown in his direction.
This and that
Pederson said Nate Herbig will remain the starter at right guard going forward ... Pederson said he expects Barnett, RB Miles Sanders and RT Lane Johnson, who all missed Sunday's game, to ramp up their practice regimen this week.
Contact Martin Frank at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.