The Eagles’ much-maligned secondary received some positive news Monday: Help is on the way.
Injured cornerbacks Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills are expected to return to practice this week, coach Doug Pederson said during his Monday news conference.
Darby has missed the team’s last three games after suffering a hamstring injury in Week 3 against the Detroit Lions. He’s a year removed from a torn ACL, and he had his struggles early in the season keeping up with receivers, especially Falcons wideout Calvin Ridley. But the 25-year-old did manage an interception in the Week 2 loss in Atlanta, and started each of the first three games.
Mills has spent a much more significant amount of time away from the field. The 25-year-old out of LSU suffered a foot injury midway through last season and has been on the physically unable to perform list since the start of training camp. Mills has been able to rehab on the field but could not practice with the team during that time.
He is eligible to come off the PUP list and return to practice in full this week, and it sounds as if he’ll do just that. What’s still unknown is if Mills will be able to take the field when the Eagles travel to Dallas to face the Cowboys in a high-stakes division game Sunday night.
“We’ll see where he’s at by the end of this week,” Pederson said. “If he’s capable, then, maybe there’s an opportunity there. ... You have got to be careful with Jalen. No. 1, he hasn’t played in a while. That’s why the practice is so important this week for him. I think you still have to have a plan, obviously, if he can’t go 60 minutes. I don’t think it would be smart on our part to put him out there for a full 60-minute game."
Pederson said Darby would be less restricted if he’s able to make a full return this week in practice because he has played more recently.
“We expect him to ramp his workload up a little bit and see where he’s at,” Pederson said. “I would expect Darby to play a little more if he’s healthy.”
The two starting corners will be a sight for sore eyes in a secondary room that’s fresh off a 38-20 loss at the hands of Kirk Cousins, Stefon Diggs, and the Vikings. Diggs had touchdown catches of 62, 51, and 11 yards Sunday. Adam Thielen caught a 6-yard TD pass after beating corner Sidney Jones with a double move during Minnesota’s first drive.
In related news, the Eagles waived cornerback Ryan Lewis from the 53-man roster on Monday.
They also added running back De’Angelo Henderson to the practice squad. Henderson played three games for the New York Jets last season and five games for Denver in 2017.
While the secondary is getting healthier, the Eagles were still waiting to learn the severity of injuries to linebacker Nigel Bradham (ankle) and left tackle Jason Peters (knee). Both left Sunday’s loss in the first half and didn’t return.
“I’m expecting to get a little more information [Monday],” Pederson said. “We’re sending their information off. They want second opinions, obviously, so we grant that for them. ... It looks like it’s a little more day to day with those guys.”
The Eagles replaced Peters with first-round rookie Andre Dillard. Nate Gerry came in for Bradham, who was responsible for calling the defense.
Pederson said wide receiver DeSean Jackson also is day to day with his abdomen injury. Jackson’s trainer told The Inquirer the tentative goal was for him to return for Sunday’s game against the Cowboys.