The Eagles have been decimated by injuries this season — that’s no secret at this point. But despite the injuries, the team has fought over the past four weeks, and now sit atop the NFC East with a 2-4-1 record. You are what your record says you are in the NFL, but it’s been clear that this team has been trending in the right direction.
There are a handful of players who have been activated for the 21-day practice window on Monday. Jalen Reagor, Jason Peters, Rudy Ford, and T.J. Edwards are all eligible to return this week, but it’s still unclear if any of them will take the field Sunday night.
Let’s take a look at each of these players and if they’ll actually return to the field this week:
According to NBC Sports’ John Clarke, Reagor is ahead of schedule with his recovery from the UCL tear in his right thumb.
Most fans would agree that getting Reagor back in the lineup excites them the most of all the current injured players. The first round pick only played in two games before getting hurt, catching 5 balls for 96 yards.
His return couldn’t come at a better time either. With DeSean Jackson on IR, the offense could really use an injection of speed on the outside. Reagor proved in his first two outings that he has big play potential, averaging 19.2 yards per reception. He should be able to seamlessly fill that role for the Eagles offense.
Putting a guy like Reagor in a receiving corps that’s trending upwards would be huge. Having Reagor, Travis Fulgham, Greg Ward and John Hightower as the WR nucleus moving forward is really exciting. It’s the best young group of wideouts this team has had in a long time.
Even if Reagor is unable to go this week, he’ll almost certainly be ready after the bye week when the Birds head to New York.
Last Friday, Doug Pederson stated that his coaching staff hadn’t decided where they would put Jason Peters along the offensive line once he’s ready to return. But it truthfully shouldn’t be that hard of a decision.
The Eagles have struggled immensely along the interior of their offensive line, with the exception of Jason Kelce at center. When Peters was the starting left tackle, he looked like a shell of what he once was. While Jordan Mailata did struggle last week against the Giants, he has played relatively well since taking over for Peters.
Benching Mailata in favor of the 38-year-old Peters would be a lateral move. This offensive line probably wouldn’t look any better or worse. But sliding Peters back to guard, where he was originally supposed to play this season, could potentially help. I have to imagine he’s a better at guard than Matt Pryor or Nate Herbig.
The timetable on his return could be a bit longer than Reagor’s given Peters’ recent injury history, but it would be surprising if he wasn’t ready to go in 20 days when the Eagles face the Giants in Week 10.
With Will Parks now back in the lineup, I don’t see Ford getting much playing time in Jim Schwartz’s secondary once he returns. He’s a nice depth piece if Parks, Rodney McLeod or Jalen Mills goes down, but Ford isn’t good enough to unseat any of those guys at the moment. And even if any of those guys get hurt, Marcus Epps will probably get the nod.
I imagine Ford will see the majority of his playing time on special teams once he’s fully healthy.
Before Edwards went down, he was the best linebacker on this team. He was still only playing 24% of the defensive snaps this season, but with how bad the linebacking group has been this year, Edwards should be a welcomed addition.
According to Pro Football Focus, Edwards has the third highest defensive grade (60.3) of any linebacker on the team. Right behind rookie Shaun Bradley (73.6) and Alex Singleton (71.7). Once Edwards is healthy, maybe Schwartz will feel more comfortable taking Nate Gerry off the field — at least we can hope.
Hamstring injuries can be dicey, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Edwards is able to go this week against Dallas.