The Eagles officially sent Pro Bowl left guard Evan Mathis to the short-term injured reserve earlier this week after he sprained his MCL in Week 1. The move makes Mathis unavailable until Week 9 at the earliest, and it means Philadelphia needs a contingency plan for one of the top guard in football.
The bad news doesn’t stop there for the Eagles’ offensive line, either. Right tackle Allen Barbre, who was filling in for the suspended Lane Johnson, was also placed on season-ending IR after he injured his ankle in the win against the Jaguars on Sunday.
Johnson, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, can return to the team for Week 5, but it still means the Eagles are in a bind for their next three games. The answer to that, for the time being, appears to be the addition of veteran tackle Wade Smith, who the Seahawks released at the end of the preseason.
At 33, Smith’s best days are probably behind him, but he did make the Pro Bowl for Houston in 2012. The signing is a move the Cowboys can certainly empathize with, as it feels familiar to the early-season signing of Brian Waters last year.
If you’ll remember back to 2013, Waters wasn’t immediately ready to go upon signing with the Cowboys – although, he didn’t’ take part in spring practice or training camp. Smith went through a month of training camp in Seattle, which would seemingly make him more likely to play when the Eagles travel to Indianapolis on Monday night.
If he can’t go, the
likely replacement is Andrew Gardner, who filled in for Barbre in the Jacksonville game. Gardner was drafted in the sixth round of the 2009 NFL Draft by Miami, but he had spent time with three other NFL teams when Philly added him in March.
The replacement options for Mathis look likely to be either David Molk, the backup center to Jason Kelce, or reserve lineman Dennis Kelly. Kelly has been practicing at left guard during the Eagles’ practices this week.
If you’ll remember back to last season, the Eagles famously dealt with one of the lowest injury totals on their way to a 10-6 season and the division crown. That usually isn’t the type of luck you can expect to carry over from one season to the next – as is proving to be the case so far.