Doug Pederson touched on a number of different Philadelphia Eagles topics during his weekly day-after press conference. One of his most interesting answers was in response to a question about Sidney Jones’ availability for this week’s game against the Cowboys.
Again, that’s one of the spots we’ll have to take a look at this week. See where he’s at physically. I know football [wise], he’s healthy and all that, but he hasn’t taken a hit in a long time, too. So it’ll be day-to-day. I want to see where he’s at by the end of the week.
Now, that’s hardly a guarantee Jones will play this week. But Pederson could have ruled it out and he didn’t. In previous weeks, Pederson hasn’t been so quick to leave the door open for a Jones return.
This week marks the last stretch of practices that Jones can participate in without being activated to the 53-man roster. Jones is currently still on the non-football injury list. The Eagles started practicing Jones on December 13, which means his 21-day window ends on January 3. The Eagles have until then, at the latest, to either activate him to the 53-man roster or shut him down for the rest of the season.
If the Eagles are satisfied with Jones’ progress, they can activate him prior to this week’s game against Dallas. The Eagles can afford to throw him into the fire, too, since they don’t have to worry about winning the game. Philadelphia officially clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC by beating the Raiders on Christmas.
The Eagles made it clear they were very high on Jones, who they selected in the second round, leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft. Philadelphia said he was a top 10 prospect on their board prior to the Achilles injury he suffered in March.
With Jalen Mills struggling recently, it sure wouldn’t hurt to see what Jones can offer.
And now for some other takeaways from Pederson’s Monday presser ...
DECISION HASN’T BEEN MADE ON RESTING STARTERS IN WEEK 17
I have not [decided]. It’s going to be day-to-day, quite honestly. Obviously, injuries play a factor in that. Listen, you’re only limited to 46 [players on the active game roster] and you can only put seven guys down. If do you the math, then some of your starters are going to have to play.
Pederson hasn’t finalized his decision, but I’d guess he rests the guys who are dealing with nagging injuries. It’d also make sense to rest some of the players who have played a ton of snaps this year, such as Nigel Bradham and Malcolm Jenkins.
But with the Eagles’ offense looking so bad against the Raiders, they might need some extra work in Week 17 to get things ironed out. Which brings us to ...
SOUNDS LIKE NICK FOLES WILL START IN WEEK 17
If [not getting him hurt] is the approach, then I would have rested him last night, quite honestly. I can’t worry about that. I gotta get him as many reps as he can [get] and be smart about it. Obviously, we have a lot of football left. Our season really is just beginning, quit honestly. We’ll be smart. Make good decisions there as a coaching staff. Talk to the coordinators about play time and all that. And we’ll a good plan later in the week.
The read here is that Foles will play for at least a few series against Dallas. But not the entire game.
PEDERSON WANTS TO SEE “STUDFELD”
That’s another one. You’d love to hopefully get him some time in there. We haven’t really seen him in an Eagles uniform take snaps under center, outside of practice. So it’d be good to get him some time.
Pederson mentioned last week that he’d like to get Sudfeld some playing time. He reiterated that message on Monday.
DANNELL ELLERBE COULD STICK AT MLB
Nothing really against Joe [Walker] and Najee [Goode], felt like it was a great opportunity for Ellerbe to get in there and see what he could do. He’s a big, physical guy who gives you a presence in the run game and he made some plays last night, showed up. So it was good to see him play.
He did well. He did well in the game. It’s hard to say right now that the job is his. Joe’s still fighting through a little bit of that [neck] injury and working himself back, and Najee’s played well in there. Right now, if I had to stand here today and say Ellerbe is the guy, then he might be the guy moving forward.
After only playing one defensive snap since signing with the Eagles after the Week 10 bye, Ellerbe handled 39% of Philly’s defensive snaps in Week 16. Sounds like he could be the team’s new starter at middle linebacker. That’s been an obvious area of weakness since Jordan Hicks went down. Ellerbe isn’t in his prime, but he’s been a reliable starter at the NFL level before in his career. The same can’t really be said for Walker or Goode.
BRANDON GRAHAM IS OKAY
He’s OK. He’s going to be day-to-day. It’s unfortunate, ankle and all that. But we’ll get him where he needs to be and see where he is at the end of the week.
I’d expect Graham to sit out in Week 17. No need to rush him back for a meaningless game. He should be back for the Eagles’ first playoff game.
STEFEN WISNIEWSKI EXPECTED BACK FOR THE PLAYOFFS
I do [expect him back]. He’s getting better, too. He’s another one in that same boat, as BG. It’s been two weeks. He’s feeling better today.
Wisniewski suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 14. The Eagles’ starting left guard missed two games since then. There’s been a feeling that Wis could be playing if he had to, but Philly is taking a cautious approach with the playoffs in mind. Plus, Chance Warmack hasn’t been a total disaster while filling in for Wis.