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November 13, 2018

Which players are the Eagles likely to bring back from injured reserve?

Eagles NFL
111118MackHollins Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

It's mildly surprising that the Eagles have not yet added Mack Hollins back to the 53-man roster.

The Philadelphia Eagles have six (soon to be seven) notable players that they have placed on injured reserve since they trimmed their roster to 53 players at the conclusion of training camp. They are DE Derek Barnett, RB Jay Ajayi, S Rodney McLeod, WR Mike Wallace, WR Mack Hollins, and TE Richard Rodgers. Ronald Darby will be joining them at some point this week.

Per NFL rules, the Eagles will have the ability to reactivate two of those above players back to the 53 man roster once they've stayed on IR for at least 8 games. Barnett, Ajayi, McLeod, and Darby won't be among them, as their injuries will keep them out for the season. Wallace, Hollins, and Rodgers, however, all have injuries that are less serious, as they could return at some point this season.

(To note, the Eagles also have two players on the non-football injury (NFI) list, in Timmy Jernigan and Chris Maragos. Their statuses don't apply to injured reserve rules, and won't count toward the two reactivation players the Eagles are allotted if/when they return.)

So how are Wallace, Hollins, and Rodgers progressing?

"We’ve got a couple guys that we’re going to evaluate here in the next couple of weeks," Pederson said on the Monday after the win over the Jaguars two weeks ago. "Richard Rodgers is one of those guys. He got hurt in preseason, and so he’s getting close. Mack Hollins is there. Mike Wallace is going to be a little bit later because of the lateness of his injury."

Let's take a look at who the Eagles could be bringing back from IR.

WR Mack Hollins

When did he go on IR? September 6.

Is he eligible to return from IR yet? Yes. He was eligible after the win over the Jaguars.

Analysis: Last season as a rookie, Hollins was a core special teamer as well as the team's fourth wide receiver. He had 16 catches for 226 yards and 1 TD. Hollins had surgery to repair a sports hernia injury at the end of the 2017 season. Prior to the Eagles' Week 1 game against the Falcons before they placed him on IR, Hollins was listed on the injury report with a "groin" injury. To note, a sports hernia is a strain or tear of any soft tissue in the lower abdomen or groin area, though Doug Pederson said at the time that Hollins' surgery and the groin injury prior to Week 1 were unrelated.

Should the Eagles activate him? Above, Pederson said that Hollins was ready to play. Because Hollins is a special teams contributor and has deep threat ability, it's surprising that he has not yet already been activated.

WR Mike Wallace

When did he go on IR? September 19

Is he eligible to return from IR yet? No. Wallace has been on IR for 8 weeks, but only 7 games. He'll be eligible to return after the Eagles' game against the Saints.

Analysis: The Eagles added Golden Tate at the trade deadline, meaning that their clear top three receivers are now Alshon Jeffery, Tate, and Nelson Agholor, even if Tate isn't wasn't used much on Sunday after the team traded a 3 for him. Still, a healthy Wallace could very well still have a role on this team as a deep threat.

Should the Eagles activate him? As of two weeks ago, Pederson indicated that Wallace wasn't ready to return. Without more reliable information as to Wallace's recovery from a broken fibula, it's hard to say if/when the Eagles should use one of their two allotted return from IR designations on him.

TE Richard Rodgers

When did he go on IR? September 4.

Is he eligible to return from IR yet? Yes. He was eligible after the win over the Jaguars.

Analysis: Rodgers had a good training camp, and looked like he could be a quality third tight end. However, he injured his knee on a touchdown reception from Nate Sudfeld in the preseason, and was placed on IR. As a result, the team kept a fourth tight end, Joshua Perkins, at final cutdowns. On the season, Perkins has five catches for 67 yards. 

Should the Eagles activate him? While Rodgers would be an upgrade over Perkins, the importance of a third tight end isn't exactly that great. If Zach Ertz or Dallas Goedert were to go down, however, Rodgers would suddenly become a player of some importance to the team, if, you know, the season isn't already over.

Conclusion

It's interesting that the Eagles have opted not to reactivate Hollins yet, even though Pederson has said that he is healthy. It's certainly possible that they view Wallace as the deep threat piece their offense presently doesn't possess, and are waiting for him to (A) be eligible to return, and (B) get healthy enough to contribute. There's also perhaps no rush to reactivate Hollins, especially if the Eagles suffer an injury to Ertz or Goedert, thus making Rodgers a more valuable player.

In other words, while the Eagles are able to bring back one or more of their players from IR, there's no real rush on their part to do so.

Also, to note, I wrote this on Saturday, when I thought people might still care about this topic, which I understand most now will not after the Eagles' embarrassing loss to the Cowboys on Sunday.


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