HomeDa Birds NewsInjury-Plagued Team Adds to Eagles' Lineup Stress vs. Seahawks

Injury-Plagued Team Adds to Eagles’ Lineup Stress vs. Seahawks

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PHILADELPHIA – It’s never ideal for any team to enter a game without its starting quarterback and last year’s MVP, Jalen Hurts, let alone a team like the Philadelphia Eagles who are desperate to end a two-game losing streak and beat a franchise they haven’t had a win over in 15 years.

That’s what they are up against, though, as the Eagles prepare to meet the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field on Monday night.

Hurts was downgraded to questionable for the game after coming down with an illness on Saturday that prevented him from practicing.

Marcus Mariota is the obvious replacement. Jason Kelce said this Week 15 battle is like a playoff game with huge implications. Not having Hurts would make things extremely challenging, obviously.

What isn’t as obvious are the replacements for the three starters who have already been ruled out: cornerback and captain Darius Slay (knee), linebacker Zach Cunningham (knee), and right guard Cam Jurgens (pec).

Where do they turn to replace those three?

Replacing Slay is the most difficult one to predict because they don’t have many other options at linebacker other than recently-signed Shaq Leonard and it appeared during practice this week that Sua Opeta was getting first-team reps at Jurgens’ spot.

Cam Jurgens (left) goes over some pointers with Sua Opeta, who could make the Week 15 start in Seattle with Jurgens ruled out with a pec injury.

Ed Kracz/SI Eagles Today

As for Slay, the Eagles have several different ways they can go, but none of those options inspire confidence against a veteran 1-2 punch of the Seahawks in D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.

It could be as simple as rolling with rookie Kelee Ringo, who got a career-high 22 snaps last week. Asked this week if he knew he would get that many snaps in the loss vs. the Dallas Cowboys, Ringo said he thought there was a chance he’d play more.

“There was a possibility, but I would say throughout any type of week, no matter if it was 100 percent sure or not the best thing you can do is just be prepared,” he said. “I feel like you would be disserving in yourself if you weren’t so the realistic situation is you have to be prepared for any type of situation.”

The Eagles also have Eli Ricks and Josh Jobe available to replace Slay. Another possibility is Bradley Roby, who was signed to play the slot but could be the best outside option due to his experience.

Having Reed Blankenship available after he made his way through concussion protocol during the week could allow Sydney Brown to get some reps at the slot if Roby shifts outside.

Perhaps the Eagles go with a rotation on the outside of Ringo, Ricks, and maybe Roby, having cooled somewhat on Jobe after he filled in for James Bradberry when Bradberry missed time with a concussion and filled in at the slot.

The Eagles seem content to go with Opeta as Jurgens’ replacement even though he was inactive for three of the last four games with rookie Tyler Steen the top reserve on game day.

Predictably, head coach Nick Sirianni wasn’t tipping his hand.

“I like the practice that Tyler and Sua have had this week,” he said on Friday. “Again, like the depth that we have at the offensive line. We’ve seen Jack Driscoll come in at a critical time to play good football. Sua has done well in critical football. We won a big game with Tyler Steen – I think we’ve won with all these guys in the lineup, got the right guys in place, and feel good and confident with those guys.”

Related: Darius Slay Surgery News Headlines Eventful Saturday for Eagles

Center Jason Kelce seemed to indicate that Opeta was the front runner to step in and gave the silent count, so important in a loud, hostile environment like Seattle’s home field, good reason for that possible decision.

“The key of the silent count is our timing, so if a new guy’s in there and the timing’s off it can take the unit a little bit of getting used to,” said Kelce.

“The benefit for us is Sua’s not only played this year but he’s played a lot for us, so I think everybody feels very comfortable with him operating if he has to. Steen has played, so whoever’s operating there should be good.”

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