The Eagles are expected to get DeSean Jackson back into the fold for Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys.
The veteran wide receiver returned to practice earlier this week from an ankle injury that cost him seven games and landed him on injured reserve. Jackson was activated off injured reserve Saturday after practicing all week. The Eagles also placed Josh Sweat and Kevon Seymour on injured reserve.
Eagles coach Doug Pederson hinted that the deep threat wideout could return during his Thursday news conference but said it would depend on how Jackson felt after the week’s final practice.
“He’s getting close,” Pederson said. “We activated it for that reason. We feel like he is close. He was able to get some snaps in [on Wednesday] with the offense. And we’ll integrate him more [Thursday] and just see where he’s at. It’s the first time he’s been able to do any kind of football activity with the team, more football maneuvers, running routes and blocking and things of that nature.”
It’s unclear what role Jackson, 34, will have now that he’s back. Jalen Reagor, Greg Ward, and Alshon Jeffery have been the starting receivers in the last few games with Quez Watkins and Travis Fulgham getting the backup snaps. Fulgham has seen his role steadily decline since his midseason tear, and could be in for even less snaps now with Jackson’s likely return.
For at least the beginning of Sunday’s game, the Eagles will likely lean more heavily on proven veterans rather than younger players. If the Eagles lose to the Cowboys, their playoff hopes are gone, but they still have an outside chance with a win. They’d need the Washington Football Team to lose its 4:05 p.m. matchup against the Panthers on Sunday, and the Giants to lose one of their final two games to set up a play-in game for Week 17 against Washington. If Washington beats the Panthers, the Eagles will be eliminated.
Although Jackson should be back, the Eagles are still waiting for a final call on Fletcher Cox and Cameron Johnston. Cox missed the entire week of practice with a neck injury, while Johnston is still in the concussion protocol. Both players are questionable, but Johnston was a full participant in Friday’s practice and has a chance to clear the protocol before Sunday’s game. If Johnston can’t go, kicker Jake Elliott will likely do double-duty as punter like he did last weekend after Johnston suffered the injury.
Sweat and Seymour will miss the rest of the regular season and, at the very least, three total games after being placed on injured reserve. Sweat hurt his wrist against the Cardinals last Sunday, while Seymour is dealing with a knee injury.