SATURDAY'S PLAYOFF elimination game against Washington will be the first the Eagles have played in the Chip Kelly era without Bennie Logan as a force on the defensive line.
Backup Beau Allen and defensive end Cedric Thornton will try to bridge a significant gap in a struggling defense, probably for more than just this one game.
"Bennie's one of my best friends. I love him. He said he'll be out a couple weeks. Hopefully, we'll be in the playoffs, he'll come back," Thornton said Wednesday.
Logan, who turns 26 on Monday, has started 38 Eagles games in a row since taking over for Isaac Sopoaga midway through Logan's rookie season. But even before that, Logan was playing more snaps than Sopoaga. He arrived from LSU in 2013's third round ready to roll, something that has been a rarity for Eagles draft picks in recent years.
It helps that the d-line is the Eagles' deepest unit, and there usually is a six-member rotation, this week including Brandon Bair, who has been active for only four games all season. Logan usually plays somewhere between half and 65 percent of the defensive snaps.
Allen, 24, usually plays 15 to 20 snaps a game. That figure should go up against Washington. He has played in all 30 Eagles games since arriving last year as a seventh-round pick from Wisconsin, but Allen has never started.
"I don't see myself as green, by any means," Allen said. In the previous Washington game, injuries along the line gave him a season-high 54 snaps.
"I think their o-line has come a long way. We're pretty familiar with their offensive line coach (Bill Callahan), since he was in Dallas the last couple years. They run the stretch game pretty well; we've played these guys so much, this'll be the fourth time in the last couple years . . . I think we have a pretty good expectation of what they're going to bring to the table," Allen said.
"I just ask Beau to do one thing, and that's play fast. Don't worry about the mistakes. Play fast and be physical," Pro Bowl defensive end Fletcher Cox said.
Thornton, 27, gets some snaps in the middle most games. He said playing nose tackle for more than just the occasional rotation wouldn't be awkward, or difficult.
"It's no difference from the end. We strike, see, throw, go, whatever position. It's nothing unfamiliar to me," Thornton said.
Bair's 16 snaps against New England Dec. 6 were his first since he suffered a groin strain in the first Washington game, Oct. 4.
"I gotta put the team ahead of myself in this situation, and when I get a chance to come in and participate, I gotta make the most of it," said Bair, 31, who is in only his third NFL season, thanks to a Mormon mission and a lot of time spent on practice squads.
Making the Pro Bowl isn't a big deal for some players - the Eagles couldn't get a quote from Jason Peters for their news release Tuesday night after he received the honor for the eighth time - but for someone like Fletcher Cox, trying to build a reputation and position himself for a big second contract, it's a coveted step.
"I got super excited" when Chip Kelly called with the news, Cox said. "I was real, real excited, man. As soon as I hung up the phone with Chip, I instantly told my family. They actually were at the house; everybody just started screaming . . . I think they were on edge all day, to find out, and so was I. It's a monkey off our back, and everyone was excited."
Cox said he looks forward to meeting all his Pro Bowl peers, but he also wouldn't mind not meeting them - if the Eagles were to make the Super Bowl and he had to skip the trip to Hawaii the week before.
Cox was prodded into agreeing that he had "guaranteed" an Eagles win Wednesday, after he said he'd reached an important goal by making the Pro Bowl, but "the biggest relief will be when we win Saturday."
Asked whether that meant he was guaranteeing a win, Cox said: "Yeah, I'm guaranteeing a win. What am I supposed to say - that I think we're going to lose or something? No."
It might be hard for a 3-4 defensive end to be in a position to single-handedly deliver victory.
Special teams ace Seyi Ajirotutu again sat out practice with an ankle sprain, but held out hope he could improve enough to play . . . Chip Kelly said the Redskins' Jordan Reed is "as tough a matchup as a tight end as there is in the league right now" . . . The three previous Eagles-Redskins games were each decided by three points . . . Washington can clinch its 15th all-time divisional title with a win . . . The Redskins are trying to win a third game in a row for the first time since 2012.
On Twitter: @LesBowen