Rest vs. rust was the prevalent question in the Eagles' locker room following Wednesday's walkthrough.
Now that the NFC's best record is firmly tucked away in the team's pocket, Sunday's game against the Cowboys provides head coach Doug Pederson the potential luxury of resting players. On the flip side, the upcoming bye week means the Eagles will go two weeks before playing a playoff game.
While the season finale's outcome would do nothing as far as playoff seeding, history is on the line. A win Sunday means they would finish 14-2 – the franchise's best mark. It would also be the first time the Eagles finished 8-0 at home since 1992. Playing Sunday could help keep the team's key cogs from picking up rust during the time off.
The players weighed in on the matter.
Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox
"From a D-line standpoint, I can't afford to miss, not play a game in two weeks. We're preparing as if we're playing the whole game. Some people may say it's the dumbest thing but it could be the smartest thing also to keep guys in game shape because I think game shape and practice shape are two totally different things. So I'm preparing every day as if I'm preparing the whole game."
Tight end Zach Ertz
"I stand with Coach Pederson. Whatever he wants me to do, I'm willing to do. Whatever he wants the offense to do, the defensive guys to do, we're going to do it. I'm not in the business of second-guessing the coach. I'm focused on winning the football game no matter how many snaps I take whether that's five plays or 70 plays. That's all I'm focused on, winning the football game and trying to be the best Eagles team in Eagles franchise history, 14-2."
Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery
"I think we as a unit and as a group do a great job just staying in shape and just running and stuff like that. Just continuing to practice and do whatever it takes because we're trying to make this push."
Tight end Brent Celek
"That's ultimately up to Doug. I'm not going to sit here and say, 'Oh we need this, we need that.' He decides that. I know that we're all going to get work and however much that is up to him.
"Every person, every team's different. Obviously, when we have our bye week we're still going to be practicing doing things so I think we're going to be good."
Running back LeGarrette Blount
"Two weeks off is a really long time off before a playoff game. I can't tell you 100 percent who's playing and who's not playing and how much. Obviously, we want to play. We want to fix all the things that haven't been going right for the offense the last couple of weeks. We'll do everything we can to cross our t's and dot our i's and make sure that we're sharp and ready to roll whenever it's time to go."
Defensive end Chris Long
"That's the importance of practice and getting the reps. Those two weeks can seem like a really long time but that's what makes this Sunday really important for us is being at our best and treating this like an opportunity to improve and do those things and build that momentum so we can go and have good practices."