So much for all that good health the Eagles appeared to be in coming back from their bye week.
The Birds will be without starting cornerback Jalen Mills (foot) and slot cornerback Sidney Jones (hamstring) will miss his third straight game when they host the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night at Lincoln Financial Field.
Running back Darren Sproles is out – again. He was healthy to take the field for Wednesday’s practice for the first time since hurting a hamstring in Sept. 6 but he wasn’t healthy by the time that practice was over.
Head coach Doug Pederson told reporters, however, that he is optimistic the 35-year-old Sproles will play again at some point this season.
The Eagles medical staff thought Sproles would be fine this week, so the team released DeAndre Carter, who was doing a fine job filling for Sproles on punt returns. Carter was claimed by the Houston Texans.
“I'm getting information from our medical staff, I'm getting it from our doctors and I'm getting it from the player,” said Pederson. “And quite frankly, the bottom line is how the player feels, where is he at in his return to play, and we felt very, very comfortable moving forward to make that decision.”
Now, the coach has some decisions to make.
Who returns punts?
Who plays cornerback in place of Mills and how will the slot corner rotation work with Jones out again and Dexter McDougle, who filled in for Jones and played poorly, back on the street after being released during the bye week?
Pederson offered no answers on Friday.
Newly acquired receiver Golden Tate could be the punt returner, though he’s returned just four punts since 2015.
Pederson said he wants Tate on the field, but doesn’t want to overburden him after he arrived just last week from the Detroit Lions in a trade deadline deal.
“I think there's a fine line with how much we want to put him out there, because I want to be careful that I'm not doing him a disservice by putting him out there with something he's uncomfortable with,” said Pederson. “So, making sure that we have a nice, tight plan for him is important this week.
Rasul Douglas will be the likely starter for Mills, who started 15 games last year and all eight this season.
Recently signed Cre’Von LeBlanc could get some snaps on the outside, too, or maybe in the slot as well.
Safety Corey Graham after missing three games with … yes, a hamstring. Graham could rotate in at safety and rookie Avonte Maddox, who stepped in for Graham, could play the slot.
Either way, it will likely be a mix-match situation for defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.