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Eagles injuries come into focus with Week 1 approaching

The Eagles practice Tuesday and Wednesday, and then the difficult job of reducing the roster to 53 players ahead of Saturday's 4 PM deadline gets underway.

The team will also need to figure out who will be available for the regular-season opener on September 13 in Washington. Most of the pressing questions in that regard are on the offensive side of the ball.

Two of the projected starters along the offensive line – guard Brandon Brooks and tackle Andre Dillard – are out due to injury. Since Dillard's season-ending biceps injury last Thursday, Matt Pryor has taken the first-team reps at left tackle. Jason Peters, the future Pro Football Hall of Famer who manned the left tackle spot since 2009, is settling in at right guard. Head Coach Doug Pederson knows that Peters is always an option at left tackle, that is one of the reasons he was re-signed when Brooks was injured, but he will remain in his new position for now.

"Jason has really embraced a new role for him," Pederson said. "He's done it well. He's playing at a high level in what we've asked him to do there and he's comfortable."

All-Pro right tackle Lane Johnson has been sidelined with a lower-body injury. On Tuesday, rookie Jack Driscoll lined up with the first-team offense during the portion that was open to the media. Fran Duffy and I discussed the possibility of moving Johnson to left tackle on a recent Eagle Eye in the Sky podcast, but Pederson dismissed that idea because it would create a domino effect – who would go to right tackle in that scenario?

Quarterback Carson Wentz is day to day with a lower-body injury. He missed his second straight practice on Tuesday. Pederson deemed it as "nothing major." The silver lining of the injury, Pederson noted, is that it came during a week where typically the final preseason game is played, something Wentz would not suit up for anyway.

"This is really a good time for him to really rest, for the majority of our starters, to kind of rest and prepare themselves for next week," Pederson said. "I have no issues of where Carson is, where he's headed. He'll be ready to go."

Who will Wentz be throwing to in the opener? That remains to be seen. Rookie first-round pick Jalen Reagor is week to week with an upper-body injury suffered in Sunday's scrimmage at Lincoln Financial Field.

"I've been really, really impressed with Jalen, his work ethic, picking up our system," Pederson said of the rookie's development. "One of the things I guess from our virtual meetings that we've had with him in the offseason to now to Training Camp, is how well he carried the information over, how well he retained the information, right? Then his competitive drive in practice has showed up. His explosiveness, his speed. He has really good hands."

Alshon Jeffery has not yet practiced since suffering a foot injury late in the 2019 campaign. Pederson did not put a timetable on the veteran's return, citing that "it's a long season" and it's important to have players available for the entire year, not just the beginning of it.

Pederson expressed confidence in second-year man J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and rookie John Hightower, who could be in line for bigger roles.

"I'm very comfortable with J.J. He's played. He has some game experience. I think he's worked well with Carson. Carson is understanding him better this year, having worked now more I would say exclusively together," Pederson said.

"Hightower has had a good camp. The one thing with him right now is just game experience. He's a rookie, a first-year player. It doesn't seem to be too big for either one of those players right now. I'm looking forward to both of them competing and helping us as we start the season."

The good news is that no players deemed "day to day" by the team are in danger of missing Week 1 at Washington, according to Pederson: Wentz, Johnson, defensive end Vinny Curry, defensive end Genard Avery, and wide receiver Quez Watkins.

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