Behind the franchise: Eagles suffer due to multiple injured athletes

Behind+the+franchise%3A+Eagles+suffer+due+to+multiple+injured+athletes

By Gavin Merschel, Staff Reporter

This season, the Philadelphia Eagles have had some major ups and downs as far as winning and losing games. Looking at their high ranking in the beginning of the season (sixth), it may seem confusing to most why the season is going the way it has been. How could they beat the 7-1 Packers but then lose to the Cowboys, who were beaten by the 1-6 Jets? Although there are several viable reasons for the inconsistency, one explanation could be the injuries.

Currently, eleven players on the team are injured, six of whom are key players. This injury list includes many recognizable stars like Desean Jackson, Miles Sanders and team captain Jason Peters. Yet in previous weeks, that list included even more key players, such as Alshon Jeffery and captains Kamu Grugier-Hill and Fletcher Cox.

So, why the Eagles? Why have the Eagles had such significant injuries compared to other organizations? One reason is the new medical staff. After the Super Bowl win two years ago, the Eagles fired head physician and orthopedist Peter Deluca. Additionally, Chris Peduzzi, the team’s trainer, retired after being with the team for 19 years. This left the Eagles with a qualified but inexperienced group of doctors.

Injuries are inevitable in football. Torn ligaments, broken bones and concussions are all a part of the game, but the steps taken afterward make the biggest impact.

Take Jason Peters for example. Peters tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) against the Redskins back in 2017, ending his season. Although steps were taken to treat Peters and allow a full recovery, he is still on and off with the same injury from two years ago. Like Jason Peters, Darren Sproles suffered a hamstring-related issue connecting to a previous injury that had not been properly taken care of, forcing him to miss 11 weeks last year. The connection? Instead of letting the players fully heal, the trainers have allowed them to play early, making the problem worse and putting the organization in a difficult position in the long term.

The same goes for any player with a soft tissue injury. Players such as Dallas Goedert and Alshon Jeffrey have soft tissue injuries which can flare up at any moment. Although they are cleared to play, is it worth the risk of inflicting greater damage for a game or two in which the players do not even play to their highest potential?

So, how does all of this affect the team and the community? When starters go down, the backups that go in for them are expected to step up and play their role. But however good the backup may be, there is not much that can prepare them for a real NFL game. If a rookie or somebody who has gotten limited game snaps before goes in, it can be difficult for them to adjust to the high-speed pace and physicality that NFL games are run at. The NFL is very different from college football, so anybody not used to the big leagues is bound to struggle.

That said, if an all-pro player goes down, fans expect the player who steps up to be just as good, but this is a rare occurrence. If the second-string player does end up doing a great job, it is usually after experience is built after a couple weeks.

It is extremely important to consider the fact that the NFL is a business with profit in mind. In order to earn money, franchises need to please the fans by doing two key things: win games and make them entertaining. For both components to happen, a team needs to have its best players on the field making big plays every week. The NFL’s current “no time to waste on injuries” attitude only puts players at risk and hurts profit in the long run.

It is understandable why the Eagles have had inconsistent success and why some fantasy football players are not very happy. Not knowing who will be healthy and when/who will and can fill the role leads to difficulties for the birds. Once the Eagles have established a solid team that will last for the remainder of the season, things will start rolling and the team will live up to its high expectations. But the Eagles must first put their players’ needs over money and allow them to recover to create a stable team with fewer injuries for the next several seasons.