By Kevin McGuire
The debate over whether or not the Philadelphia Eagles should spend much time playing their starters in the regular season finale against the Dallas Cowboys will continue until kickoff, but a couple of players have already been ruled out of action for Sunday’s matchup at Lincoln Financial Field. Defensive end Brandon Graham will be given the week off and linebacker Joe Walker has been placed on injured reserve on the last Friday before the regular season finale.
Graham did not practice at all this week while he focuses his time off the practice field nursing an ankle injury. Given the situation this weekend, it was never expected Graham would be pushed to get back on the field quickly, but the ankle injury will be worth watching over the next two weeks as the Eagles prepare for their first postseason game at home. With Graham out of action, the Eagles will be able to bump Chris Long into a starting role at the defensive end position. The entire defensive line’s starting lineup could get an early rest as well if things start off well for the Eagles on Sunday.
The Eagles are a bit thin at linebacker with the loss of Walker. Walker was placed on injured reserve after not practicing this week due to a neck injury. That does open up a position on the roster to fill, and the suspicion is the Eagles may use this to activate second-round draft pick Sidney Jones. The cornerback has not played a game this season, but has been working his way back to full health. Expect the Eagles to give Sidney Jones a chance to get on the field on Sunday, but what kind of impact he may have in his first professional game is anyone’s guess. Jones likely won’t be a key player in the playoff run, but seeing what he can do in a low-stakes game may not be a horrible idea, either.
Cornerback Jalen Mills is officially listed as questionable for the Cowboys game despite being available for full practices all week long. Mills has been working on an ankle injury. Because he has been available for full practices all week, it would seem he would be good enough to potentially play if needed. Because the Eagles already have the No. 1 seed in the playoffs wrapped up though, giving Mills a light week would seem to make sense as the focus on keeping key players as healthy as possible is the first order of business this weekend.
- DE Brandon Graham (ankle)
- LB Joe Walker (neck)
- CB Jalen Mills (ankle)