Eagles' Carson Wentz getting DeSean Jackson, Lane Johnson back for TNF

Wednesday, October 21, 2020
(AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Carson Wentz and the banged-up Birds will not have key offensive starters again, but the Eagles are getting back a pair of big time starters for Thursday night's game against the New York Giants.

Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson will return after missing the last three games with a hamstring injury and right tackle Lane Johnson will return as well after missing the last game with a lingering ankle issue following surgery in training camp.

Eagles will not have Alshon Jeffery, who has been out all season. But the return of Jackson gives Wentz a legitimate number one receiver he's been missing. Jackson has nine total touchdowns in his career against the Giants, and the Eagles need his deep threat ability to get their struggling passing offense going.

Doug Pederson would not divulge how much playing time Jackson will have against New York.

Wentz, who has been sacked more than any other quarterback in the NFL, is looking forward to the return of Johnson to help protect him.

Wentz, of course, will be without his top running back Miles Sanders and top tight end Zach Ertz.

"They're both game-changers. Not having those guys can make it tough. It does hurt us. But the guys behind them are going to step up," Wentz said.

With Ertz out for roughly a month as well as Dallas Goedert still being down, the Eagles released guard Jamon Brown and signed tight end Jason Croom from the practice squad to the active roster. Croom scored last week.

Despite all the injuries in their early season issues, hopefully, the Eagles will be able to maintain their Thursday Night Football magic. Eagles are undefeated 5-0 on Thursday Night Football under Doug Pederson. Nobody has been better.

So what's the secret to Pederson's success?

"Honestly, I make light of it, but my wife tells me all the time that you can put a game plan together in a day and go win a game on Thursday night, why can't you do that for a Sunday game, right? So she kind of kids me a little bit that way," Pederson jokes.

"But I do think that there's some validity, so to speak, to keeping it simple, to going back to some of your training camp-type plays, utilizing all your personnel. And a lot of it, too, falls on the players," Pederson adds. "It's more of a narrow focus, a laser focus for a couple of days. Focusing in on the game plan. It's all about mental preparation over the physical. It's going to take preparation and hard work to get it done again with where we are as a football team."

With the Eagles only a half-game out of first place coming into play, they hope to play their best game against the Giants under the bright lights at Lincoln Financial Field Thursday night.

"Every week is heightened. We understand where we are, the sort of the hole we dug ourselves into and it's all about just one game at a time mentality. You don't want to look past the Giants. This is a good football team coming in here Thursday night and we have to be prepared. It's a short week, we came off an emotional game this past Sunday with Baltimore and we got to turn around and play. So, the sense of urgency each week is always there and again it's a one-game mentality, one opponent at a time," Pederson says.