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Eagles 53-man roster decisions on Rodney McLeod and Landon Dickerson loom large | Early Birds

Both the veteran safety and rookie lineman are rehabbing from torn ACLs suffered last December, but McLeod seems further along in his recovery.

Rodney McLeod runs drills during Eagles training camp.
Rodney McLeod runs drills during Eagles training camp.Read moreMONICA HERNDON / Staff Photographer

Hello, Eagles fans! Happy Monday. Good news for you: Aside from the bye week, this is the last week of the year that won’t feature Eagles football. The team is off until Sept. 12, but there will be plenty of news to come with the 53-man roster deadline set for 4 p.m. Tuesday and the Eagles expected to be active even after the initial roster is established.

A few of those moves might involve Rodney McLeod and Landon Dickerson.

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Reading between the lines

Both Nick Sirianni and Howie Roseman have been reluctant to offer much in terms of a timeline when asked about the potential returns of McLeod and Dickerson.

Both the veteran safety and rookie lineman are rehabbing from torn ACLs suffered last December, but McLeod seems further along in his recovery. The 31-year-old said he expected to be ready for Week 1 during the offseason and has spent training camp doing mostly conditioning drills. He might not achieve his goal of being in uniform for the opener — he’s yet to take any live snaps in practice — but there’s a chance he’ll be available shortly thereafter.

While the Eagles won’t reveal when they expect McLeod back, the decisions they make tomorrow will be illuminating. If the Eagles keep McLeod on the physically-unable-to-perform list Tuesday, he won’t even be eligible to return to practice until Week 7.

“That’s what we’re talking through with the doctors and the medical staff and the training staff,” Sirianni said of McLeod’s potential timelines. “So, yes, those are important discussions that we have to have and that we have been having.”

Last year, the Eagles faced a similar decision when they activated wide receiver Alshon Jeffery off the PUP list and it came back to bite them when the veteran receiver missed the first eight weeks of the year anyway.

Dickerson, the team’s second-round pick in this year’s draft, has exclusively watched from the sideline during practice, but Roseman said after the draft that he doesn’t expect this to be a “redshirt” year for the former Alabama standout.

It will be interesting to see whether the Eagles value the potential practice time Dickerson could get in the first six weeks of the season over the roster spot he’d occupy during that time. It’s also unclear if Dickerson would actually be ready to practice soon enough to make that occupied roster spot worthwhile.

What you need to know about the Eagles

  1. If J.J. Arcega-Whiteside ends up on the active roster, his performance against the New York Jets in the preseason finale last Friday will be a big reason. Josh Tolentino has the story about the former second-round pick’s big night.

  2. Speaking of the 53-man roster, Jeff McLane takes his best guess at who will make the team, who will make the practice squad, and who will be sent away.

  3. The Eagles traded for Gardner Minshew over the weekend, bolstering their backup quarterback depth. In our weekly Q&A with Joe Banner, the former Eagles president said he expects Minshew to take the backup quarterback job in short order.

  4. In Jalen Hurts’ limited sample size as a starter, he was extremely productive as a runner. David Murphy explores whether the 2021 Eagles can find success by resembling Lamar Jackson’s Ravens.

  5. Hurts played only two series the entire preseason as the Eagles took a conservative approach to the exhibition games. McLane asks the question: Did the starters get enough work?

  6. Kenneth Gainwell spent much of last week jawing with Jets players during joint practices. As Tolentino writes, the rookie running back put his money where his mouth was during Friday’s game.