|by Ryan Messick
DeSean Jackson, Asante Samuel and Winston Justice are all listed as questionable for the Eagles heading into Sunday’s game against the Giants. Jackson suffered a foot injury in last week’s game, while Samuel and Justice are working their way back from knee sprains. All three had limited participation in practice today, but head coach Andy Reid saw signs of improvement.
“I want to see how it works out tonight, after this workout here, so we’ll see,” Reid said. “[Jackson and Samuel] got more work today, so that was a plus. Winston got some work today and he’s doing better too.”
While Samuel remained coy about his chances of playing on Sunday, Jackson and Justice both said they felt good enough to play.
“The biggest thing I’ll say is I can’t let my troops go out there and go to war without me,” Jackson said. “I’m not into sitting games out if it’s not serious enough. Getting a concussion is obviously very serious, but a foot injury is not really too serious like that. I should be alright.”
Jackson said side-to-side movements bother him more, but his straight-line speed isn’t affected as much by the injury. “I should be right there man, I should be pretty close [to full speed],” he said.
Jackson is coming off of the best game of his career after hauling in four passes for 210 yards, including a go-ahead 91-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. When the third-year receiver catches a touchdown pass or amasses at least 50 yards, the Eagles are 8-0 this year. When he falls short of those numbers or does not play, the Birds are 1-4.
Justice answered quickly when asked if he’d be able to play a game today if he had to.
“Yeah,” he said. But Justice added that he would not be at 100 percent, which makes it a tough decision for the coaches, since he wants to make sure he’s not hurting the team by playing at limited strength. Justice estimated that he’s at about 80 percent right now.
“My expectation is to play and I want to play,” Justice said. “I’ll know pretty soon.”
Justice has put together a solid season at right tackle, and the tackles will be under pressure Sunday against Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck, who have combined for 19 sacks this year. If he can’t go, it’ll be King Dunlap filling in again.
“I thinke very offensive tackle in the National Football League would tell you that whne you play this defensive line and defensive ends, that that’s a challenge,” Reid said. “So it’s no different for King than the other offensive tackles.”
Samuel wouldn’t tip his hand, saying the same thing he repeated numerous times yesterday. “Every day it feels better so I’m just looking forward to tomorrow and the next day. It felt good though,” Samuel said.
With Samuel in the lineup, opposing quarterbacks have a rating of 68.3. Without him, it’s 104.34. With the three-time Pro Bowler in the lineup, the Eagles have given up 205 passing yards and 1.7 touchdowns, while grabbing 1.9 picks per contest. In four games without Samuel, they’ve given up an average of 267.5 passing yards, 2.75 touchdowns and only picked off 1.25 passes per game.
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