ARLINGTON, Texas – Injuries, they just keep a comin’ for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.
By the time the first half ended on Sunday at AT&T Stadium, the Eagles lost three more key contributors – cornerback Sidney Jones (hamstring), running back Corey Clement (knee), and defensive end Josh Sweat (ankle).
Only Jones returned to the game, in the third quarter, and was victimized for a touchdown pass to wide receiver Amari Cooper before leaving for the remainder of the game.
"It's tough, and I'm frustrated with my hamstring," Jones said. "The hamstring is frustrating. It lingers. I wasn't close to 100 percent out there, but it was do or die so I fought and gave it my best effort."
Adding in the fact that the defense was already missing tackle Tim Jernigan (back spasms), middle linebacker Jordan Hicks (calf), and safety Avonte Maddox (knee), coordinator Jim Schwartz had a challenge just making sure he had enough capable bodies on the field.
The Eagles' defense has been ravaged by injuries. The secondary, which opened the season with Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod at safety and Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, and Jones at cornerback, has only Jenkins standing. The Eagles have used 13 defensive backs this season and played the second half of Sunday’s game with Jenkins and Corey Graham at safety, Rasul Douglas, Jones, De’Vante Bausby, and Cre’Von LeBlanc at cornerback. At linebacker, Nigel Bradham played the middle position flanked by Kamu Grugier-Hill and Nathan Gerry. Along the defensive line, the Eagles leaned heavily on Haloti Ngata and Treyvon Hester, along with Fletcher Cox at tackle and rotated Brandon Graham, Michael Bennett, and Chris Long at end. Bennett played inside as well.
That’s not exactly what the team had in mind entering the season. But the defense has end Derek Barnett, McLeod, Darby, and Mills on Injured Reserve. Hicks has been out three games with a calf injury. Jones has missed four full games and parts of three others with his hamstring injury. Jernigan has played in just one game after suffering an offseason injury. Bradham, who was suspended for the opening game against Atlanta for an off-the-field incident two years ago, is playing with a broken thumb, as is Grugier-Hill.
Offensively, the Eagles lost top running back Jay Ajayi to a knee injury in the Minnesota game back in October, has been without speed receiver Mike Wallace since Week 2. Left guard Isaac Seumalo left the game in the third quarter with a pectoral injury.
The injury woes continue, one week after the next.
Take a look at the best photos from the Eagles' game against the Dallas Cowboys.