Father Time is undefeated. And, this season, the Eagles are losing that battle.
The Birds have seven players who are 32 or older. Five of those seven have been injured and have missed time.
That shouldn’t be much of a surprise, but the Eagles were hoping to get more out of these veterans. It hasn’t happened so far this season. Take a look. The star denotes a player who has been injured this season:
*36 — Jason Peters
*35 — Darren Sproles
*34 — Haloti Ngata
*33 — Corey Graham
33 — Chris Long
32 — Michael Bennett
*32 — Mike Wallace
The only players on that list who have stayed healthy are Long and Bennett. They've been half of the Eagles’ rotation at defensive end and Bennett has proved valuable playing inside. That’s great.
But Peters has been hampered by a quad injury and partially tore his right biceps in the last game. He’s going to keep playing through injury, but he’s played every snap in just two of six games so far. The Eagles plan to let him play through this most recent injury.
Sproles has missed the last five games after suffering a hamstring injury following the season opener. There’s no such thing as a minor hamstring injury for a 35-year-old running back.
Corey Graham is also hamstrung. He left early in the Vikings game, missed the Giants game and is in danger of missing this week.
And Ngata missed the last two games with a calf injury but looks like he might be able to play this Sunday.
Wallace is probably a little bit of a stretch. He broke his fibula, which makes it much harder to think age mattered. But hamstrings, quads and calves … those are soft tissue injuries and age might have played a big role.
On Wednesday, I asked Doug Pederson if these injuries will make the Eagles rethink their philosophy:
"I don't think so. I think sometimes it's kind of the expectation a little bit. You kind of know what you're getting with guys. Listen, these guys have all contributed wherever they have been. Obviously, Darren, couple stops he's been at; Jason has been here most his career; Corey, the stops he's been at. These guys have played a lot snaps.
"It's one of the things where we know if we can just manage and get them through each week and get them ready for game day where they can give us valuable game snaps, that's what you want. You kind of know what you're getting and that's OK."
That’s an interesting answer. The Eagles know that older players are prone to break down, but they decided to rely on them anyway. For what it’s worth, Malcolm Jenkins, Jason Kelce and Brandon Graham are all 30 and have been able to stay on the field this whole season. The Eagles have been able to rely on some players over 30.
But those guys are getting older each day. And we’ve seen what that age can do to football players.
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