Heading into the wildcard round of the playoffs, the Philadelphia Eagles keep a comparatively healthy team, and they are now also rested, as most of their starters got last weekend off with a playoff berth already clinched.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are also a healthy team, for the most part, though they could be missing some important pieces on Sunday. Here is the Eagles’ and Buccaneers’ inactives, with examination.
The Eagles’ inactives:
The Eagles released the following statement on Sweat:
“On Tuesday night, Josh Sweat was admitted to the hospital. He underwent an emergency procedure due to the severity of the matter. The doctors addressed a life-threatening situation. In the following days, Josh and our medical team did everything possible to help him return to play. He improved every day but it was determined by the doctors today that he was not quite ready. The fact that Josh came so close to playing is a credit to his toughness and our medical staff.”
Sweat is tied for the Eagles’ team rule in sacks, with 7.5. An assortment of players could replace Sweat, including Ryan Kerrigan, Milton Williams, Tarron Jackson.
Herbig is the other noteworthy name on the above list. He’ll be replaced by Sua Opeta.
• DE Brandon Graham (IR): Graham’s season is over with a ruptured Achilles. On the field, Graham was arguably the Eagles’ best defensive player in 2020. It’s clear since his loss that the Eagles miss his contributions as a pass rusher and run stopper, and the Eagles have not been able to adequately replace him. Off the field, Graham has unlimited energy and positivity, and he is a player that you just want to have around if you’re a head coach in the NFL.
• RG Brandon Brooks (IR): Brooks suffered a pectoral injury against the 49ers. It’s “only” a pec strain, as opposed to a tear, so while he’ll likely miss time (about 8 weeks, per Lane Johnson) on injured save, it was initially not thought to be a season-ending injury. Brooks got hurt Week 2, so Week 12 was 10 weeks. Nick Sirianni has been repeatedly asked about Brooks’ possible return, but no useful information has been given.
• LG Isaac Seumalo (IR): Seumalo was carted off the field in the Eagles’ loss to the Cowboys. His season is over after having surgery for a Lisfranc injury.
• OL Jack Driscoll (IR): Driscoll’s season is over after experiencing a high ankle sprain against the Giants. Driscoll showed potential as a rookie in 2020, and he was a valuable player for the Eagles in 2021, initially filling in for Lane Johnson at RT, and later at RG in relief of Brandon Brooks. He played 512 snaps for the Eagles in 2021, and has looked like a capable starter, but his inability to stay on the field is concerning.
• LB Davion Taylor (IR): Taylor started six games for the Eagles. He had his best game as a pro in Denver Week 10, when he forced a pair of fumbles against the Broncos, one of which was returned for a touchdown by Darius Slay. Taylor was drafted as a raw prospect out of Colorado during the 2020 NFL Draft, and while he nevertheless has a ways to go as a specialized linebacker, he has made positive strides during the 2021 season. He has been replaced in the lineup by Alex Singleton, and Nick Sirianni recently revealed that his season is over.
• WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside: Arcega-Whiteside has played a blue collar role for the Eagles this season, mostly as a blocker on the perimeter and on special teams. On Saturday night, he reminded us why the ball almost never comes his way, when he dropped what should have been a touchdown against the Cowboys.
The Buccaneers’ idle:
Sean Murphy-Bunting is the big name above. He starts, playing both on the outside (in base defense), and in the slot (in nickel). Big loss. Jamel Dean will likely start on the outside, with Ross Cockrell in the slot.
MORE: Eagles playoff hype video: ‘You want me to tell you why you should be f***ing excited?’ | Eagles vs. Bucs: Predictions, betting odds and more | Five matchups to watch, when Eagles have the ball | Five matchups to watch, when Bucs have the ball
Notable players on IR, PUP, suspension, etc.
• WR Chris Godwin: Godwin led the Buccaneers in 2021 in receptions (98) and yards (1103). He was third in receiving TDs (5). He was a huge part of Tampa’s offense, whether it be as a possession receiver, in the screen game, or as a blocker on the perimeter, as he is one of Bruce Arians’ favorite players.
• WR Antonio Brown: Technically, Brown isn’t on the team anymore, as he was essentially kicked off the team during a Week 17 win in New Jersey over the Jets, but we’ll include him here anyway since he was clearly a big part of the Bucs’ offense, when healthy.
• RB Leonard Fournette: Fournette led the Bucs with 180 carries for 812 yards (4.5 YPC) and 8 TDs. As we noted in our five matchups to watch when Tampa has the ball, the Eagles have a tough time tackling Fournette during their Week 6 matchup. The Bucs will be without their top two backs in Fournette and Ronald Jones. The remaining backs on their list are Le’Veon Bell, Giovani Bernard, Ke’Shawn Vaughn, and Kenjon Barner.
• CB Richard Sherman: The Bucs signed Sherman when they had some other injuries at corner earlier in the season, but he’s basically cooked.
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