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December 24, 2022

Eagles-Cowboys Week 16 inactives, with analysis

Eagles NFL
122422LeightonVanderEsch Raymond Carlin III/USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch is out.

The Philadelphia Eagles have some drama on their hands in the injury department, as Jalen Hurts is trying to get well after suffering a sprained right shoulder against the Bears. The Eagles' Week 16 opponent, the Dallas Cowboys, have some injury concerns along their offensive line and at cornerback. 

Here are the Eagles' and Cowboys' inactives, with analysis.


QB Jalen Hurts: Gardner Minshew gets the start, and Ian Book will back him up.

• RB Trey Sermon: No. 4 running back.

• OG Sua Opeta: Andre Dillard will likely be the backup at LT and LG, while Jack Driscoll will likely be the backup at RG and RT. Cam Jurgens will back up Jason Kelce at center.

• OL Josh Sills: No. 10 offensive lineman.

 DE Janarius Robinson: Robinson was activated from IR last week, but he's still inactive.

LB Kyron Johnson: This last inactive spot was probably between Johnson, K'Von Wallace, and Josh Jobe.

Notable players on IR, PUP, suspension, etc.

• S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (Week 13): Gardner-Johnson lacerated a kidney in the Eagles' win over the Green Bay Packers. He will miss a minimum of one more game, after missing the Eagles' wins over the Titans, Giants, and Bears. Undrafted rookie Reed Blankenship filled in for Gardner-Johnson initially, and then later K'Von Wallace after Blankenship went down. Blankenship is back this week and should get the start at safety.

DE Robert Quinn (IR - Week 14): The Eagles traded a fourth-round pick for Quinn at the trade deadline, hoping that he could add some juice to their pass rush in a role reminiscent of Chris Long's in 2017, or Ryan Kerrigan's in 2021. So far he's been more like Kerrigan than Long, as he has just 2 tackles and 2 QB hits with no sacks in five games.

P Arryn Siposs (IR - Week 15): Siposs collected a loose ball after a blocked punt and was injured while trying to run for a first down Week 14 against the Giants. The Eagles signed 15-year vet Brett Kern to the practice squad to replace him. 

• DE Derek Barnett (IR - Week 2): Barnett tore his ACL Week 1 against the Lions, and his season is over. After a 2021 season in which he had 8 penalties vs. 2.5 sacks, Barnett lost his starting job, but remained a depth player poised to get his share of snaps in 2022.

DT Marlon Tuipulotu (IR - Week 11): Tuipulotu has 16 tackles, a sack, and a fumble recovery in a rotational role this season.


LB Leighton Vander Esch: Vander Esch is Dallas' leading tackler and their best off-ball linebacker. His absence could open up some opportunities for Dallas Goedert in the middle of the field.

DE Sam Williams: Explosive rookie edge rusher who got into a car accident earlier this week.

Here are the rest of the Cowboys' inactives:

Notable players on IR, PUP, suspension, etc.

RT Terence Steele (IR): Steele was the Cowboys' starting RT. He tore an ACL and MCL against the Houston Texans Week 14, and is done for the season. The Cowboys felt comfortable enough with Steele as their starting right tackle to let La'el Collins go this offseason, and Steele rewarded them with solid play. With Steele out, the Cowboys played Tyron Smith for 54 snaps and Jason Peters for 21 snaps at RT Week 15 against the Jaguars. 

CB Anthony Brown (IR): Brown tore an Achilles Week 13 against the Colts, and his season is over. While Brown is not an ideal CB2, he was the best option they had. Brown was replaced in the lineup by DaRon Bland, with Kelvin Joseph coming in as the nickel.

CB Jourdan Lewis (IR): Lewis was the Cowboys' starting slot corner. Like Brown, Lewis was far from a star player, but the Cowboys thought he was their best option in the slot. Obviously, Dallas is thin at CB, which has to be their most concerning matchup against an Eagles offense with A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith.

DT Johnathan Hankins (IR): The Cowboys acquired Hankins from the Raiders at the trade deadline. He immediately became part of their defensive line rotation, and even started three games. He suffered a pectoral injury and landed on IR.

OL Matt Farniok (IR): Farniok has played in seven games this season (mostly at LG), starting two.

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