Eagles’ Darren Sproles, Lane Johnson expected to play this week against Cowboys
Corey Graham is also expected to play for the first time since Oct. 7. The injury picture is getting a little clearer, but the defensive backfield still seems to be a scramble.
Eagles coach Doug Pederson's Wednesday news conference was a testament to the healing powers of the NFL bye week.
Pederson said running back/returner Darren Sproles would practice Wednesday, with the idea that Sproles will play this week against Dallas — Sproles' first action since he suffered a hamstring injury in practice Week 2. Pederson said the same goes for right tackle Lane Johnson, who suffered an MCL sprain in the Oct. 28 London game against Jacksonville. Also back this week is safety Corey Graham, who suffered a hamstring injury against Minnesota Oct. 7.
The picture seemed cloudier for nickel corner Sidney Jones, out since the Oct. 11 Giants game with a hamstring. Pederson didn't seem to expect Jones back this week, and he was equally iffy about starting corner Jalen Mills, who suffered a foot sprain in the London game. Mills has missed only one game in three seasons as an Eagle — the meaningless 2017 finale against Dallas.
If Jones and Mills don't play this week against the Cowboys, that probably would mean Rasul Douglas starts opposite Ronald Darby, and rookie Avonte Maddox moves down from safety to nickel corner with Graham taking Maddox's safety spot. The Eagles also have a new corner, Cre'Von LeBlanc, whom they acquired on waivers this week from the Lions. When the team added LeBlanc it released Dexter McDougle, who started at nickel corner against the Jaguars and struggled mightily. LeBlanc was to practice Wednesday for the first time as an Eagle; it's hard to see how he would know the defense well enough to be much of a factor against Dallas.
Pederson said "we have time" to get defensive tackle Tim Jernigan back in the flow; Jernigan is practicing this week for the first time since undergoing offseason back surgery for a herniated disk. It will probably take a few weeks to get Jernigan ready to play, since he missed all the spring work, training camp, the preseason and the first half of the season. Jernigan can practice for three weeks before he has to either join the 53-man roster or go on injured reserve.
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