Even against the 2-11 New York Giants, the combination of an immobile quarterback and a banged-up offensive line is less than ideal.
So left guard Stefen Wisniewski is doing everything he can to be ready Sunday when the Eagles visit MetLife Stadium, in a game that could clinch a first-round playoff bye for the NFC East champion Birds. They will attempt that feat in the first Eagles start for backup quarterback Nick Foles since 2014.
Wisniewski officially is “questionable” for the game with what would appear to be a high-ankle sprain, given that he declined to answer when a reporter asked Friday if it was a regular sprain or the more serious high-ankle type, and that Wisniewski agreed that declining to say it was the less-serious variety actually was an answer of sorts.
Wisniewski was a limited practice participant, for the second day in a row. Asked whether Chance Warmack or Isaac Seumalo would start in Wisniewski’s place if he couldn’t go, Eagles coach Doug Pederson said: “Yes.” Then Pederson indicated that Warmack has gotten the bulk of the practice reps this week.
“Ran around a little bit, felt pretty good,” Wisniewski said when asked about his Friday activities. “We’ll see. I’m going to see how it goes over the next few days.”
Wisniewski left during the second quarter of the Eagles’ 43-35 victory over the Los Angeles Rams last week. He said he was injured earlier but didn’t come out right away.
“Second play of the game, [right guard Brandon] Brooks threw a linebacker into me,” Wisniewski said. “You’ll see it if you look at the play. It looks like I, you know, got hurt. I tried to play on it as long as I could. It got to the point where I didn’t want to put the team at a disadvantage by being in there.”
Actually, Wisniewski probably could have hopped up and down on one leg the rest of the way and been more effective than Warmack or Seumalo. Pederson and offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland made the halftime switch from Warmack, who tends to be heavy-footed, to Seumalo, who is much more athletic but seems to have regressed from his 2016 rookie year to the point where he has pretty much forgotten how to play football.
This is not the picture of their offensive-line depth that the Eagles painted earlier in the year. Pederson was asked Friday why Warmack and Seumalo have been so disappointing.
Pederson said Stoutland “prepares everybody the same and they are all expected to know the game plan and understand. Then it comes down to the man sometimes to just do your job and understand your role.
“ ‘Wiz’ has obviously played really well, and he’ll continue to play well for us, and these guys are quality, competent backups that we are going to need going down the stretch. This will be a great opportunity, again, both for Chance, if he gets a chance to play, or Isaac.”
Warmack said Friday he has enjoyed the opportunity to play and practice with the starters, “to try to correct any questions that you might have.”
Warmack said he has no idea if he will end up starting Sunday.
Seumalo, when approached, complained that he had just come in off the practice field, and requested time to change his clothes. Then he took off his uniform, left, and didn’t return during the time reporters were allowed in the locker room.
Achilles healing chronicles
The Eagles started the 21-day clock this week, letting rookie corner Sidney Jones practice with the team. At the end of that period, management will have to decide whether to place Jones on the active roster or move him to injured reserve, where he would be unable to practice or play.
The upshot seems to be, this is more of a tuneup for Jones than anything else, a way to sharpen a player who hasn’t been in a game since his Washington Huskies lost to Alabama in the Peach Bowl last New Year’s Eve. It is theoretically possible that Jones will be doing so well after three weeks that the Eagles will want him on the roster for the playoffs, but that does not seem to be the expectation.
“Average soreness, nothing terrible,” Jones said at the end of his first week of practice as an Eagle. Jones dropped to the second round of the draft after tearing his right Achilles tendon in March. “Ice baths, Epsom salt baths fix everything.”
Asked if it is important to him to get into a game this season, Jones said: “We’re just going to take it slow. … I would love to get in a game. It’s not up to me. It’s my decision how I feel, it’s their decision how I look.”
Another Eagles right Achilles tendon victim also spoke with reporters Friday. Middle linebacker Jordan Hicks, who went down Oct. 23 against the Redskins, said he expects a six- to nine-month recovery period and would like to be on the field for OTAs in the spring. Hicks said he is scheduled to shed his current walking boot on Christmas Day.
An extensive injury at Texas helped drop Hicks to the third round of the 2015 draft, and his excellent rookie season was derailed by a pec-tendon tear. Hicks was very proud of playing 95 percent of the Eagles’ defensive snaps in 2016, feeling he’d shown he wasn’t injury-prone, but now he is back under that cloud.
“To me, it was all a matter of me trying to prove myself too much,” Hicks said. He said he felt he injured his right Achilles overcompensating for a left ankle injury suffered four games earlier.
“I was dealing with my left ankle for weeks, ever since the [Week 3] Giants game. It lingered,” Hicks said. “I think [taking off] a couple of weeks could have helped me. Hindsight is 20/20. I wouldn’t change anything, just because it’s my personality, it’s who I am. All I want to do is be there for my teammates, right? That’s all I want to do.
“The biggest goal for me is to have my teammates know that I’m their leader and I can be accountable. For me to sit here and say I shouldn’t have been out there those weeks … It’s hard for me to say that because all I want to do is be out there and play with them.”
The Giants listed safety Landon Collins as “doubtful” after he did not practice, with an ankle injury … Injured Eagles special teams captain Chris Maragos, asked what the return of Bryan Braman will do for the special teams, said: “He’s a big guy [6-5, 241] that runs really well, he’s a physical player. I really think he’s going to help us, specifically on kickoff coverage … He’s a veteran guy who really understands the game.”