Tight end Richard Rodgers will make his Eagles debut on Sunday after the team activated him from Injured Reserve on Friday afternoon. To make room for Rodgers, the Eagles placed tight end Joshua Perkins on IR.
There is also good news surrounding both cornerback Sidney Jones and right tackle Lane Johnson.
Johnson was listed as questionable on the Eagles’ Friday injury report, but head coach Doug Pederson said Johnson is closer to playing than he was last week against the Dallas Cowboys. As it was, Johnson was close to playing. He wasn’t ruled out until about 90 minutes before kickoff and after he tested his lailing left knee in a pre-game workout.
“He's had a really good week of practice,” said Pederson when he met with reports on Friday morning. Feels a lot better health-wise. So I would expect him to go, yes.”
The Eagles could certainly use Jones, with Jalen Mills due to miss a second game and Ronald Darby having season-ending surgery for a torn ACL suffered against Dallas. Rasul Douglas will start at one of the outside spots and Jones, who injured a hamstring on Oct. 11 and hasn’t played since, would start at the other, despite having played only in the slot this year.
Also, defensive tackle Tim Jernigan may also be close to a return. Jernigan hasn’t been added to the 53-man roster, yet.
“Starting with Tim, still optimistic,” said Pederson. “We have to get through (Friday) and (Saturday) obviously with him and see where he's at. So it's just a matter of – it's kind of day-by-day, and getting through practice to see where he's at.
“Sidney is probably a little better situation. Again, we want to make sure he gets a full-week's work of ball and see where he's at at the end of the day, but he's done a nice job so far this week.”
Jones can move outside with Avonte Maddox moving back into the slot from safety, because Corey Graham is healthy again and can play safety in the nickel defense.
In order to activate Jernigan, should be deemed well enough to play some snaps on Sunday, Darby would be placed on Injured Reserve.
NOTES: In addition to Johnson, also listed as questionable for the game was defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (knee). Ngata has had trouble staying healthy this year. In addition to Darby, Mills, and Perkins being ruled out for the game in New Orleans, running back Darren Sproles was as well …
Odd from Bovada have the Eagles as nine-point underdogs on Sunday, which makes them the largest Super Bowl underdog since the Steelers were also nine-point dogs in 2009. Pittsburgh lost to Baltimore in that game, 20-17, but covered the spread. So far, Bovada said that 74 percent of the action is on the Saints to cover the spread against the Eagles.