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Nick Sirianni updates injury situation and more

Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro
Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro

Injuries are creating some uncertainty for the Eagles, and with that, presenting some options for the coaching staff and the roster as the team prepares for a welcomed return home to Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday against the Saints after three consecutive road games.

Adversity is knocking on the door for the 13-2 Eagles, who are ready to answer with leadership and the understanding that they are just one win away from accomplishing all of their regular-season goals. To sum up the injury story, Head Coach Nick Sirianni met the media on Monday and presented the overall picture.

• Sirianni said that right tackle Lane Johnson (abdomen/groin) and cornerback Avonte Maddox (toe) "probably think they'll miss a little bit of time" but that there is no timetable for their return. "It's early on in the process here with these two guys so we want to get some more information back."

• On quarterback Jalen Hurts, who missed Saturday's game at Dallas with a shoulder injury suffered in Chicago, Sirianni said the team is taking it "one day at a time" and that if Hurts "is healthy, he'll play."

• Safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson has spent four weeks on Injured Reserve after suffering a lacerated kidney in the win over the Green Bay Packers and is now eligible to come off IR and open his practice window and possibly return to the 53-man roster. Sirianni said more information is needed to "see how everything is healing in there" with regard to the kidney. "We'll see where he is," Sirianni said.

• Sirianni emphasized that the players' health from a short-term and long-term perspective is first and foremost as the team makes the decisions on when players will return.

Within all of these injuries, the Eagles are formulating a plan to replace those positions. Along the offensive line, for example, the Eagles used Jack Driscoll to step in for Johnson in both Dallas games when Johnson suffered injuries and had to exit the lineup. The Eagles could start Driscoll on Sunday against the Saints or they could move around other pieces. Sirianni was asked if the Eagles would consider moving left tackle Jordan Mailata to right tackle and use Andre Dillard at left tackle, and the head coach responded by saying that "everything will be on the table. Whatever we feel is best for us," as far as options. Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach Jeff Stoutland cross-trains his players and understands how important versatility is to the guys up front.

"I love the fact that Jordan has some versatility," Sirianni said, "that he's able to do so (play right tackle). I love the fact that Andre and Jack are really good backups and we have a lot of faith in them to be able to go out there and do their jobs. We have versatility there and Stout does a great job of getting those guys ready and those guys do a great job of getting themselves ready. Obviously, we're bummed about Lane in the sense of missing any time, but we also are confident in the guys that we have on the roster."

At nickel cornerback, the Eagles know that Gardner-Johnson played for three seasons in the slot when he was a member of the New Orleans Saints and transitioned – very successfully and very quickly, at that – to safety when the Eagles traded for him prior to the regular season. He could potentially play nickel cornerback, but he hasn't been cleared to return to the practice field at this point and there is no specific timeframe for him to do so.

A win over the Saints on Sunday clinches the NFC East and the No. 1 seed in the NFC postseason, which brings them a bye week and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. That's the focus. Win and the Eagles have accomplished all of their regular-season goals.

Dawg mentality.

"When you have a group of guys like we have and the leaders that we have with a Lane Johnson, with Brandon Graham, with Jason Kelce and Jake Elliott and Jalen and Fletch (Fletcher Cox) and (Darius) Slay and those captains, and even those guys on our leadership council and even guys beyond that, these guys aren't going to be phased," Sirianni said. "We're going to move on, we're going to correct our mistakes (from the loss at Dallas) and move on from that.

"One of the earliest talks that we have in Training Camp is 'how are we going to, adversity is coming. I don't know when it is and in what direction it will come, it could come in your personal life, it could be in your football life, it can be anything, how are we going to handle that?' That's something that you just know about life, and football is no different. When you have to go through those things in life and when you have to go through those things in football when you have the leaders we have, it makes those roads a little bit easier to navigate.

"We're going to dig deeper, we're going to find more answers."

Coming home to Lincoln Financial Field for the final two regular-season games against New Orleans and the New York Giants and being in front of the Eagles fans will be a boost as well, Sirianni said.

"Always important," he said, "especially in Philadelphia. We know how electric that stadium is. We know how awesome our fans are. We know how intimidating our fans and that place can be to an opposing team. Any time you're home, you love that."

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