Eagles-Buccaneers inactives, with analysis

As usual, the Philadelphia Eagles will head into another matchup with more than just a handful of significant absences, though their Week 2 opponent, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, have serious injury concerns as well, as they’ll be missing both of their starting cornerbacks.

Here are the Eagles’ and Buccaneers’ inactives:

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QB Carson Wentz: Doug Pederson didn’t bother trying to hide his Week 2 starter like he did against the Falcons, as he announced on Wednesday that it would be Nick Foles.

• WR Alshon Jeffery: Jeffery will reportedly be back closer to Week 3 as he continues to recover from his rotator cuff surgery. In his absence, Mike Wallace and Nelson Agholor will start.

 RB Darren Sproles: Pederson said on Friday that Sproles’ hamstring injury is “minor.” Sproles got the bulk of the work in the backfield for the Eagles in the first half Week 1 against the Atlanta Falcons, and as always, he is the team’s primary punt returner. Corey Clement and DeAndre Carter could handle that role on Sunday with Sproles out.

• OT Jordan Mailata: The project of all projects will be inactive for the foreseeable future.

• OT/OG Matt Pryor: Pryor is a rookie who could use time to grow.

• DE Josh Sweat: Another Eagles rookie project will sit with a strong rotation of defensive ends ahead of him.

• OL Chance Warmack: The Eagles will roll with seven offensive linemen.

Notable players on IR/Suspension/Other

• DT Timmy Jernigan (NFI): Jernigan will start the season on the NFI list, which is essentially an extension of the PUP list, meaning he’ll be out for at least the first six weeks of the season, though it’ll likely extend beyond that. Jernigan was very productive early in the season last year, but his play tailed off a bit down the stretch. He’ll be replaced in the lineup by a combination of Destiny Vaeao and free agent acquisition Haloti Ngata.

• WR Mack Hollins (IR): The Eagles will also be without their No. 4 receiver, as the Eagles placed Hollins on IR with a groin injury. After Wallace and Agholor, the remaining healthy receivers on the roster are, in order of Week 1 snaps, DeAndre Carter, Shelton Gibson, and Kamar Aiken.

• ST Chris Maragos (PUP): Maragos is still recovering from a serious knee injury suffered Week 6 last year against the Carolina Panthers. He’ll start the season on PUP, so he’ll miss at least the first six games. Like Jernigan, it is not anticipated that Maragos will be ready at the conclusion of those six weeks.

• TE Richard Rodgers (IR): Rodgers had a good training camp, and looked like he could be a quality third tight end. However, he injured his knee on a touchdown reception from Nate Sudfeld in the preseason, and has been seen walking around the NovaCare Complex in a bulky cast. As a result, the team kept a fourth tight end, Joshua Perkins, at final cutdowns. Rodgers will have to stay on IR for at least eight weeks, after which point the team can decide to use one of their two “return from IR” designations on him at any time.

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• CB Brent Grimes: Grimes missed the Bucs’ Week 1 game with a groin injury. In his absence, third-year corner Ryan Smith got the start. With Grimes and the Bucs’ other starting corner, Vernon Hargreaves (see below), both out, the Bucs will probably start Smith, rookie second-round pick Carlton Davis on the outside, and rookie second-round pick M.J. Stewart in the slot.

• DT Tevita Tuliʻakiʻono Tuipulotu Mosese Vaʻhae Fehoko Faletau “Vita” Vea: Vea was the Buccaneers’ first-round pick (12th overall) in the NFL Draft, and a personal favorite of mine. He’s out with a calf injury.

The other five Buccaneers inactives Week 1 were OG Alex Cappa, OG, DE Noah Spence, OG Michael Liedtke, RB Ronald Jones, and WR Justin Watson. The only player of note among that group is Jones, who is a healthy scratch despite being the Bucs’ second-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. 

Notable players on IR/Suspension/Other

• QB Jameis Winston (Susp): Winston is suspended for the first three games of the season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Winston was accused of groping an Uber driver in March of 2016, an incident for which he (sort of, but not really) apologized.

The Buccaneers probably wouldn’t have won Week 1 had Winston played, as journeyman backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was on fire.

• CB Vernon Hargreaves (IR): The Buccaneers put Hargreaves on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. He started Week 1 against the Saints. Hargreaves was the Buccaneers first-round pick (11th overall) in the 2016 NFL Draft.

• LB Kendall Beckwith (NFI): In his rookie season in 2017, Beckwith played in 16 games (11 starts), and had 73 tackles, 2 pass breakups, 2 pass breakups, and a forced fumble. Beckwith is on the NFI (non-football injury) list with a broken ankle sustained in a car crash.

• DT Mitch Unrein (IR): Unrein is a journeyman veteran interior defensive lineman who had a nice season for the Bears in 2017. He signed a three year, $10.5 million contract this offseason, but was placed on IR with a concussion.


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