What If – Injury Edition

Posted: May 16th, 2023 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 5 Comments »

There isn’t a pressing topic right now and I saw this on Twitter last night. It got me to think about a lot of players and situations.


Is there one Eagle who you go “What if he had stayed healthy?”

I can’t think of one great example. There are tons of guys in the sports world…Bo Jackson, Greg Cook, Grant Hill, Eric Lindros, etc. We still got to see flashes of greatness, but not what could have been.

The Eagle who fits this the best is probably Shawn Andrews. He was the first round pick in 2004 and earned the starting RG spot on a team that was loaded. He got hurt in the season opener and missed the rest of the year. Andrews started from 2005-2007 and was arguably the best RG in the NFL. He was an absolutely dominant run blocker, but still light on his feet and able to get out in space. He was a wall in pass pro. Andrews was special.

He only played in 2 games in 2008 and that was it for his time with the Eagles. Andrews played one season for the Giants a few years later. It is beyond frustrating to think that his final game as an Eagle came at age 25. He had 8 to 10 years of time left in his career.

Part of the issue is that Andrews didn’t love football. He played because he was big, athletic and liked the money. He was a big kid at heart and was more at home watching Spongebob Squarepants than studying game film. It seems cruel of the Football Gods to give that body and that ability to a guy who would rather play video games than knock the crap out of Dallas Cowboys. Unfortunately, that’s what happened.

Interestingly, Andrews played RT at Arkansas. The man who lined up beside him was an odd TE named…Jason Peters. At least the Eagles got a decade of good play from one of those guys. It is crazy to think that Andrews and Peters were blocking side by side and ever had issues in college. They were a matchup nightmare.


I’m sure some of you would bring up Randall Cunningham. He tore his ACL in 1991 and got hurt again in 1993. He was healthy in 1992, 1994 and 1995. He just didn’t play well enough in those years. He still had dynamic athleticism and an explosive arm. His issues were more mental than anything.

It probably also didn’t help that Rich Kotite was coaching him.


Carson Wentz makes for an interesting discussion. He started 56 of 64 possible games between 2016-2019 so it feels weird to talk about injuries. But his torn ACL in 2017 cost him a shot at winning the Super Bowl. That injury had a transcendent effect. Wentz hasn’t been the same player ever since. Beyond just his play, the injury and Eagles winning the Super Bowl without him changed him. It sure felt like Wentz has spent the rest of his career competing with Nick Foles and the Super Bowl run.

I understand where Wentz is coming from. He was on his way to being NFL MVP. The Eagles were the best team in the league. Foles came in and was so-so in a few late starts and even the Falcons game before having a pair of epic performances in the NFC CG and Super Bowl. Wentz had a season of sustained excellence and that went out the door with a pair of Foles unbelievable games dominating the scene. How could that not affect you?

Wentz played well down the stretch in 2019 and seemed like he might be finding his own groove. Then he got hurt early in the playoff game vs Seattle and that basically did it for his Eagles career. He started 12 games in 2020, but wasn’t the same player. It doesn’t look like he’ll ever get back to that, but who knows.

If Carson had stayed healthy in 2017, there is no guarantee the Eagles would have won the Super Bowl. They would have been the best team and very well might have pulled it off, but you don’t know for sure. I do think Wentz would have been much better, on and off the field. He wouldn’t have been chasing the ghost of Foles and past glory. The injury might have done the Eagles a favor. It did lead to the team winning it all and then drafting Jalen Hurts.


Really, the biggest thing for injuries and the Eagles is specific seasons/moments.

1991 – What if Randall stayed healthy all year? The Gang Green defense was special. The offense was highly erratic and used five QBs that year. Stability and playmaking ability from Cunningham would have made a huge difference. The Eagles would have made the playoffs and could have made a Super Bowl push.

1994 – The Eagles got off to a 7-2 start and then faced the Cleveland Browns. MLB Byron Evans suffered a brutal leg injury and missed the rest of the season. The Eagles didn’t win another game that year. They finished 7-9. If Evans stays healthy, the Eagles win some of those games and might have gone to the playoffs.

2002 – Donovan McNabb got hurt at midseason. He was replaced by Koy Detmer and AJ Feeley. The team finished 12-4 and was the top seed in the playoffs. McNabb came back for the postseason and played well enough in the win over the Falcons, but struggled in the title game loss to Tampa. That is one of the great defenses of all time. Maybe that’s the reason the Eagles couldn’t move the ball, but you wonder what would have happened if McNabb had been completely healthy and had played all year.

2003 – Brian Westbrook got hurt in the season finale and missed the postseason. The Eagles lost the NFC title game to Carolina 14-3. No way they score only a FG if Westbrook was healthy. The Eagles scored 25 points on the Panthers in November and Westbrook had 96 total yards in that game. I don’t know if the Eagles would have won that game, but it would have been different.

2004 – The Eagles made the Super Bowl, but you wonder how things might have been if Andrews didn’t get hurt in the season opener and then TO in December. Andrews absence affected the running game against stout defenses. TO’s injury opened a can of worms that led to one of the most bizarre situations in league history. His meltdown in 2005 and constant trashing of Donovan McNabb affected the franchise for years.


All Injured Eagles Team

QB Randall Cunningham
FB Thomas Tapeh
RB Correll Buckhalter
WR Chris T. Jones
WR Mack Hollins
TE Cornelius Ingram
OL Andre Dillard
OL Shawn Andrews
OL Scott Young
OL Adrien Clarke
OL Eric Floyd

DE Jerome McDougle
DT Andy Harmon
DT Sam Rayburn
DE Derrick Burgess
LB Ray Farmer
LB Byron Evans
LB Stewart Bradley
S Earl Wolff
S JR Reed
CB Ben Smith
CB Sidney Jones