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December 21, 2017

Eagles missing a pair of key defenders in practice today

When the Philadelphia Eagles listed their injury report today, a pair of key defenders appeared on it, as they missed practice entirely. They were DE Derek Barnett (groin) and CB Jalen Mills (ankle).

Barnett has five sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery in his rookie season as a rotational defensive end. The Oakland Raiders get the ball out faster than any other team in the NFL this season (2.44 seconds on average), which can often negate opposing pass rushers. In that sense, Barnett's absence would not have a huge effect on the game should he be unable to go, especially with a good player in Steven Means behind him on the depth chart. Means is typically inactive on game day.

Mills' absence would be more concerning. He is coming off a bad performance last week against the Giants, when he gave up a touchdown on a double-move, as well as a holding call in the red zone that extended a touchdown drive that would have otherwise been stalled by a Vinny Curry sack.

For the most part this season, Mills has been a good tackler, which is crucial against the type of quick-throw offenses the Raiders and Giants employ. Should Mills be unable to go, Rasul Douglas would likely get the start. Douglas was inactive a week ago against the Giants, but has playing time experience this season, and has been good when called upon. With Mills hurting, Douglas would likely be active once again this week regardless.

LB Mychal Kendricks (foot) and OG Stefen Wisniewski (ankle) practiced, but were limited. Kendricks' addition to the injury report is concerning for a team that has very little linebacker depth. However, Wisniewski's participation in practice is a positive development, as he was unable to go last week against the Giants.

CB Patrick Robinson (concussion) left the game last week against the Giants, and did not return. He passed through the concussion protocol and practiced fully.

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