Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said healing quarterback Jalen Hurts was a “full go” for Tuesday’s walkthrough practice.
That is an improvement for Hurts, who did not fully participate in the three practices before the Week 18 game against the Giants. Hurts was not listed on Tuesday’s Eagles injury report.
Hurts spoke later to the media and it sounded like he’s ready to move forward, full-speed ahead, against the Giants in Saturday night’s divisional playoff game.
It’s one-and-done season in the NFL.
- “It’s football. I’ve got a bounty on me every week I go out there on the field,” Hurts said. “I’m going to go out there and play my game. Whatever happens, happens.”
Hurts, who said he’s “feeling good,” didn’t mean he had a particular bounty on him.
“The quarterback gets a lot of attention,” Hurts said. “I think every quarterback in the league has a bounty on them, in a sense, to stop them.”
Hurts’ health directly is tied into the Eagles’ success. He missed two games with a SC joint shoulder sprain — both losses — and he made a tentative return in Week 18, a 22-16 victory over the Giants.
Will we see a full 100 percent Hurts, the guy who has running plays as part of his package? The guy whose pinpoint passing and quality decision-making led the Eagles to 14 wins in the 15 games he started?
- “I don’t know. I think it depends on how it goes,” Hurts said.
Hurts has played one game since injuring his shoulder on Dec. 18 at Chicago. When he returned on Jan. 8 against the Giants, he looked rusty. The Eagles had no running plays for him in the game plan. (He did successfully run a quarterback sneak for a first down.)
- “He’s better today than he was two weeks ago,” Sirianni said. “He’s continuing to get better and he feels good. I’ll let him tell you how he feels.
- “But looking forward to seeing him go out there and practice today and go through everything today.”
OVERALL GOOD HEALTH
Twenty-one of the Eagles’ 22 opening-day starters are available for Saturday night’s divisional playoff game against the Giants.
Injured nickel back Avonte Maddox is the only starter who might not be available.
- “He’s still pushing through,” Sirianni said. “He’s getting better, but we’ll see on him.”
The Eagles’ injury list probably isn’t long for the middle of January, when every team is bruised and hobbled.
Lane Johnson is another player who makes the offense click. He suffered a torn abductor against the Cowboys on Christmas Eve. The right tackle missed two games. He decided to delay surgery to try to play in the postseason.
Johnson said he expects to play against the Giants.
- “I don’t know the depth of the whole, entire situation, but I know he’s a true warrior,” Hurts said about Johnson. “He eager to be out there with us. That will have to be a decision he will have to make.”
The Eagles can’t expect an easy game. The Giants played tremendously in defeating the Vikings in the wild card game. The Giants also played well in the regular-season finale, when the Eagles were going all-out and the Giants rested most of their starters.
A long-time Giants observer said the team picked up an enormous amount of confidence in hanging close to the Eagles in the finale. The Eagles are a familiar opponent to the Giants, so there might be less of an intimidation factor from the Linc crowd.
There also is a tendency to watch the wild card games and become enamored with the winning teams. That already has happened in the media and with fans about the Giants.
- “We’re playing a really good team that has a really good defense and they do a lot of really good things on both sides of the ball,” Hurts said.
- “We have to come prepared, put in a good week of preparation to go out there and play well Saturday.
- “They’ve shown to change a little bit throughout the course of the year, after we played them that first time.
- “Regardless of what they’ve done, I think they’ve done it well. Whether they’re playing man coverage, they do that well. Whether they’re playing zone coverage, they’ve played that well.
- “For us, it’s on us executing more than them. At this point of the season, I think that’s what it’s all about — just execution and doing your job the best on both sides.
- “They have really good players, in the interior, on the edge. A really good defense, a really good opponent we’re about to play again.”
How limited Hurts might be could determine the Eagles’ offensive success. With Daniel Jones looking like the Giants’ answer at quarterback, and strong, flashy running back Saquon Barkley, the Giants suddenly don’t look like the team the Eagles defeated, 48-22, back in Week 14.
Hurts played in pain in Week 18 against the Giants. He “hurt like hell,” Sirianni said afterward.
Hurts was asked Tuesday what it takes to play through injuries and the accompanying pain.
“Get it done,” Hurts said.