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Items On Table For Eagles At The Bye

Posted Nov 6, 2017

This is a great time for a bye week with the Eagles at 8-1, atop the NFC standings and a tough stretch run of seven games ahead. The players are long gone, with a full week off, and they are going to enjoy every minute of it ...

This is a great time for a bye week with the Eagles at 8-1, atop the NFC standings and a tough stretch run of seven games ahead. The players are long gone, with a full week off, and they are going to enjoy every minute of it. In the meantime, we discuss some items surrounding a football team with seven straight wins and a lot of confidence in the locker room.

1. When Will CB Ronald Darby Return To Action?

There is nothing definitive here with Darby, who ramped up his work last week and should be, given another week of rehabilitation at the NovaCare Complex and a week of practice after the bye, very close to all the way back.

Let’s put it this way: The Eagles are hopeful that he’s ready to go against Dallas in prime time. It’s really worked out perfectly in terms of how the Eagles have recovered after losing Darby, with Jalen Mills, Patrick Robinson and Rasul Douglas stepping up in such positive ways. The secondary has played very well without Darby, out since the injury he suffered in the Week 1 victory at Washington.

“He really got more reps in practice, and even though it was limited, it was almost full last week, too,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “He's another one that will be around, working on his treatment and his rehab, and we'll see where we're at next week when they get back. We'll evaluate it some more. But he's in a really good spot to possibly come back and help us here in the next week or so.”

Darby, when he’s all the way back, brings a level of athleticism and speed to the secondary to match up against speedy, downfield threats. It remains to be seen how the Eagles work Darby back into the lineup, or how the playing time would be divided among the four cornerbacks.

But let’s all think back to September and the feelings we had when Darby went down. It looked awful. It looked potentially season ending. Now the Eagles are 8-1 and on the verge of getting a very good player back on the field.

2. What Do The Coaches Do This Week?

The coaches reviewed Sunday’s win over Denver on Monday and they’ll spend the next couple of days self-scouting their X’s and O’s and studying tendencies and being extremely critical of everything they see, no matter the team’s record.

This is no time to get soft. Instead, the coaching staff may be even more critical having to look deep inside a team with seven straight victories.

Of course, all eyes are on Dallas and the prime-time game next Sunday against the Cowboys. Dallas plays at Atlanta on Sunday, no easy game for the Cowboys.

3. How Do The Players Come Back Razor Sharp?

It certainly helps that Dallas is next on the schedule. The Cowboys are playing outstanding football and are clearly one of the best teams in the conference. So having the arch rival next on the schedule after the bye week makes for an extremely intense week after the bye.

“We know what Dallas is all about and how much it means to be them,” Mills said. “Let’s go win a game there and pick up right where we left off. That’s the goal.”

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Pederson is following the Andy Reid plan for the bye week: Give the players a week off and get them out of the building and into the real world, where they can visit friends and exhale and heal from a long run of four preseason games and nine regular season games. And then when they get back, stay on top of them, make sure they are working in practice and are on top of everything at meetings.

It’s nice to be 8-1, but it won’t mean much if the Eagles don’t keep winning in the final seven weeks with crucial games against high-powered NFC foes Dallas (twice), Seattle and Los Angeles ahead. Hosting Chicago and Oakland with a road game at the Giants won’t be easy, either.

“The best thing is to get away and rest. Just down time,” Pederson said. “(We) still want them to sort of seek some sort of physical activity, whether they lift or condition during the off week. The guys that are around can come into the facility and work out, get treatment, and make sure that they're ready for next week and the next seven games. So get away from it, clear their mind, understand that, yeah, we've started something special and we want to make sure that we finish it the right way.”

4. Anything else?

No, not really. There isn’t any news update on rookie cornerback Sidney Jones, who is eligible to practice in a three-week window. There are no other lingering injuries, other than a hamstring injury that sidelined tight end Zach Ertz on Sunday. He will rehab and should be, barring any setbacks, good for the Cowboys.

The Eagles are on a roll and they know. They’re going to scout themselves, they’re going to dig deep on the Cowboys and they’re going to make the most of a week away from the game.

A week from now, we’ll be in Beat Dallas mode. Until then, enjoy 8-1 and have great excitement about what’s ahead.

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