The NFC East is basically a derailed train that refuses to come to a stop. Not only are the four teams in the division playing really bad football, but the inability to put a good product on the field is continually halted by the injury bug that's ravaged teams like the Philadelphia Eagles, and they just received another round of bad news on that front. Zach Ertz, the team's resident top receiver leading into the 2020 season, was initially expected to miss 3-4 weeks with an ankle injury, but that is no longer the case.
The timeline for his recovery has been extended, per Mike Garofolo of NFL Network, and Ertz is now expected to sit 4-6 weeks instead. Factoring in the Eagles bye week in Week 9, a worst-case scenario would see the three-time Pro Bowler sidelined until the Dec. 6 matchup against the Green Bay Packers. Should he have a more speedy recovery and return after missing only four weeks, he'd potentially suit up on Nov. 22 against the Cleveland Browns.
He's now been moved to injured reserve, the team announced on Thursday. That guarantees he'll be out for at least three weeks, but time will tell if his absence is ultimately twice as long. It's yet another blow for an Eagles offense that can ill afford it, particularly considering who else they're taking the field without in the coming weeks.
Currently sitting at 1-4-1 on the season, Philadelphia will battle the New York Giants in Week 7 absent both Ertz and Miles Sanders, with the latter reportedly set to miss 1-2 weeks with a knee injury. They might get veteran wideout DeSean Jackson back after having been without him the last three games, but Alshon Jeffery remains on the rehab sheet, still recovering from a Lisfranc injury suffered last December. And the Eagles other prominent tight end, Dallas Goedert, suffered a fracture in his ankle three weeks ago and has been on injured reserve since -- head coach Doug Pederson not putting a timeline on his return just yet.
Despite his struggles in 2020, the mere presence of Ertz is a huge boost to the offense and makes for a top target opposing defenses must always account for. Without him, the field gets smaller for an already struggling Carson Wentz, who's thrown nine interceptions to only eight touchdowns through the first six games, and has a passer rating of 71.2 on the year.
As with other teams in the NFC East -- particularly the Dallas Cowboys -- it's next next next man up in Philadelphia. And the longer players like Ertz are sidelined, the more difficult it'll be to string together wins in 2020.