Five underdogs who could see significant playing time in week 17 for the Eagles


The Eagles enter an interesting predicament ahead of week 17. Do they rest starters? Can they afford to? There is a long road to the Super Bowl that will run through the City of Brotherly Love and if the Birds do rest starters in order to be suitably prepared, it opens the doors for some underdogs to impress the coaches one last time before the season is over. Here are five names we could see enter the fray on Sunday.


Wendell Smallwood:
It’s been a strange year for Wendell Smallwood. One of Training Camp’s brightest stars, Smallwood seemed poised for a big year behind Blount with his ferocious new running style and mindset. However just like his rookie year, inconsistency followed in every shape and form possible. From a breakout against the Giants and the next week where he had just as much usage and added 4 receptions to his tally, to just one carry against the Niners and being listed active in just seven games this season, this has not been the year many expected.

Thanks to the arrival of Jay Ajayi, Smallwood’s role has diminished entirely and this may be one of the few opportunities to prove to the coaching staff that he can be a valuable part of this offense before the season closes and teams begin looking to acquire new talent.

Shelton Gibson:
Another WVU standout, Gibson had a tricky first offseason with the Eagles. Plagued by drops and what seemed like a lack of confidence, the rookie wideout fell below Mack Hollins on the depth chart during preseason and has spent most of this season watching on from the sidelines. The Eagles may allow Gibson to gain valuable experience against the Cowboys should they choose to rest Alshon Jeffery or Torrey Smith.


Nate Gerry:
Originally kept on the practice squad to start the year, this Eagles rookie is waiting for his time in the sun. Gerry has carved out a role on special teams, playing in 38% of the unit’s snap this season. A unique type of player who can play as both a linebacker and a safety (very much like Kurt Coleman), Gerry has a high upside as shown by his ballhawk tendencies during his time at Nebraska. With linebacker depth lower than ever and durability absolutely crucial moving into the playoffs, don’t be surprised to see Gerry appear inside, or outside the box on Sunday.


Will Beatty:
The Eagles acquired the veteran offensive lineman during the regular season but he has remained inactive ever since. While Dannell Ellerbe, who was acquired in the same week, is now taking huge defensive strides, the former Giant remains inactive. The Eagles lack offensive line depth. With Wisniewski’s uncertainty and the injury to Jason Peters, the Eagles would be wise to rest a starter or two here. They don’t have the luxury of doing so without inserting Beatty into the mix.


Sidney Jones:
The player every Eagles fan has waited patiently to see. Sidney Jones was drafted in the second round by the team this year but a heartbreaking injury sustained prior to the draft led the Washington star watching and waiting in the wings. With reports indicating that he’s nearing full health, the Eagles have a one-game window in order to allow Jones to test the waters. In doing so, they would have to drop a player from their roster and sign him to the practice squad, causing another ripple, but it would also mean that they can rest Darby or an injured Jalen Mills. Will we finally see the coveted young corner take the field?



Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports