Eagles Safety Kevin Byard set for his big debut against the Commanders

FILE – Tennessee Titans free safety Kevin Byard (31) makes an interception on a pass to Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool, left, during the second half of an NFL football game Dec. 19, 2021, in Pittsburgh. Byard emerged as one of the top safeties when he led the league with eight interceptions as a second-year player in 2017 and has maintained a high level ever since.(AP Photo/Don Wright, File)

The Philadelphia Eagles filled a huge void in their makeshift secondary earlier this week when the team traded for All-Pro safety Kevin Byard. Everyone is expecting the newcomer to see significant snaps in Week 8 against Washington, although Eagles’ head coach Nick Sirianni would never reveal how much he plays for fear of ruining competitive advantage.

“I won’t give away any information of how much he’s going to play or anything like that,” Sirianni told reporters on October 27. “I just think that’s not — I don’t want to tell the Commanders anything, right? But we feel like he’s had a great week of practice. Everything is considered … But man, he’s a pro, and he’s worked really hard this week, so we’re confident in him. We’ll see how much he plays in this football game.”

Reading between the lines: there is a very good chance that Byard draws the start. If so, the 5-foot-11, 212-pounder would form a formidable one-two punch at safety with Reed Blankenship who is making his triumphant return after missing last week with a rib injury. Blankenship was a full participant in practice all week and figures to bring his trademark physicality back to the field. Ditto for Byard. He has wowed Sirianni from the opposite sideline for years, with his former Titans pals — Julio Jones, Zach Cunningham, A.J. Brown, Marcus Mariota — hyping up his intangibles.

“Very high praise as a player, very high praise as a person, very high praise as a leader,” Sirianni said of Byard. “So, we know we’re not only getting a good player, but also a good person, and that’s exciting because, when you get the right people in here, they’re going to be able to handle the ups and downs of the season. So really excited about that.”

More importantly, Byard has already impressed his new teammates in the locker room. According to Pro Bowl defensive end Josh Sweat, the Eagles are trying to win right now and they have all the right pieces to do it.

“I mean we’re trying to win right now, you know what I’m saying? We got a lot of people and we got everybody together,” Sweat said. “We’re trying to win. We’re taking whoever is trying to contribute. And I think we are making the right moves for sure.”

Eagles Inactives: Bradley Roby Out, Jordan Davis In

PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 30: Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Jordan Davis (90) rushes during the game between the Pittsburg Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles on October 30, 2022 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

Bradley Roby was the biggest name highlighting the inactive list for the Eagles on Sunday about 90 minutes prior to kickoff. It wasn’t a surprise. Roby hadn’t logged a full practice all week, plus the team designated him out with a shoulder injury on Friday. It’ll be interesting to see how defensive coordinator Sean Desai shuffles the secondary around against the Commanders. He may decide to slide James Bradberry into the slot and put Eli Ricks on the outside.

Meanwhile, Jordan Davis will suit up on Sunday after getting a “questionable” designation on Friday. The hulking defensive tackle surprisingly showed up on the injury report earlier this week with a previously undisclosed hamstring injury. He’ll look to build on his stellar start to the year: 19 total tackles (2 for loss), 2.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 5 quarterback hits.

“Obviously, it’s a constant evaluation,” Sirianni said of Davis on October 27. “It happened yesterday as you saw that it popped up on the practice report yesterday. We got to see him out there today, the rehab today, then we got tomorrow. We got time to figure it out. We’ll see what happens.”

DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 02: Seattle Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny (20) runs with the ball during the third quarter of an NFL football game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Detroit Lions on October 2, 2022 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire)

The other inactives for Week 8 include QB Tanner McKee, RB Rashaad Penny, LB Patrick Johnson, DT Moro Ojomo, TE Albert Okwuegbunam. All players appear to be healthy scratches. Remember, McKee is the team’s emergency quarterback and is permitted to enter the game if starter Jalen Hurts and backup Marcus Mariota exit via injury or disqualification. It’s a new rule for 2024 thanks in large part to the Eagles’ dismantling of the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.

AP Photo/Don Wright, File