Eagles Are Slowly Getting Healthier
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Darren Sproles was on the practice field for a third consecutive day on Saturday, a clear indication that the veteran running back and returner will return to the lineup against the Washington Redskins on Monday night.
The 35-year-old has missed 10 consecutive games with lingering hamstring issues after playing in the season-opener against Atlanta.
"I guess you can't just say, 'Hey, Darren, here is the game plan, let's go, you're back one hundred percent, rocking and rolling, we are going to put you in and you are going to get ‘X’ numbers of touches and return every punt and do all that,'” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said before practice on Saturday morning. "I think that's a disservice to him and in fairness to the rest of the guys."
Pederson did, however, give a few hints on what he would like to see from Sproles against the Redskins.
"I would love to see him back on some punt returns," the coach said. "I would love to see him get into the mix on some third downs, offensively, first and second down. For him it's now about getting back to game speed and getting caught up with that and the physical nature of the game, being tackled again, but yeah, we'll see. We've got another day today to see where he's at physically, but he's doing well and on track to playing this weekend."
Pederson also indicated that cornerbacks Rasul Douglas (knee, ankle) and Sidney Jones (hamstring) “should be available” for the Redskins.
Douglas was injured in the Week 11 loss at the New Orleans Saints and played sparingly in the win over the New York Giants last week. Jones, like Sproles, has been dealing with persistent hamstring issues, first tweaking it against the Giants in Week 6 before aggravating things against New Orleans.
Douglas and Jones have been full participants in practice this week and could start outside with Cre'Von LeBlanc handling nickel duties.
“Sidney and Rasul have done well this week in practice,” the coach said. “Again, we get another day today. I would say they're on track to helping us defensively in the game. As far as starting, those are things we just got to get through today and tomorrow and see.”
Veteran defensive end Michael Bennett hasn't practiced because of a toe injury suffered against the Giants but is expected to play on Monday night as is left tackle Jason Peters, who has missed the week of preparation while dealing with a personal issue.
“He's doing well,” Pederson said of Bennett. “He's done all our walkthroughs this week, just hasn't performed in practice. We're just giving him some rest on that toe, and he'll be fine.
“... Jason is dealing with something, it's a personal issue and I don't want to disclose that. I'll let you talk to him, but very optimistic and hopeful he plays.”
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen