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Rest vs. Rust? Scheduling quirk adds uncertainty to 8-0 Eagles


Photo Credit by John McMullen/JAKIB Sports

PHILADELPHIA – When the Eagles take the field Monday night against the Washington Commanders, it will be just the third time in 29 days that the NFL’s only unbeaten team will be tested.

More so, the two games the Eagles have already played over that span — wins against Pittsburgh and Houston — were just four days apart.

The issue comes with the scheduling of the bye week and the mine-bye week Thursday night games afford in close proximity. Philadelphia had its actual bye week after moving to 6-0 with a 26-17 win over division-rival Dallas on Oct. 16.

When the Eagles routed Pittsburgh, 35-13, on Oct. 30, the locker room celebration included massage table, stationary bikes, and portable stimulation equipment in an effort to get ready for the Texans on a short week.

It was mission accomplished in South Texas, 29-17 over the Texans, and another long layoff, extended one day further by moving from “Thursday Night Football” to “Monday Night Football.”

From here it’s a whirlwind in comparison — nine games in 48 days.

“Myself, I feel really rested and energized,” edge rusher Haason Reddick said on Thursday when discussing the strange stretch. “I don’t think it’s about getting myself to go. I just feel good and it’s about going out there and going.”

Star receiver A.J. Brown pointed to practice when it comes to staying sharp.

“I wouldn’t say I’m concerned,” Brown said. “This is what practice is for, knocking all the kinks off and doing what we have to do. We’re professionals and we play at a high level for a reason.

“If we can’t adjust after having a couple days off, we’re not professionals.”

Left tackle Jordan Mailata also downplayed the low traffic.

“It’s fine,” Mailata said. “It’s the NFL. I don’t know what the schedule is like for everybody else, so I’ll say it’s the NFL. We gotta do our best to prepare. We’re getting paid. We’re professionals and we get paid to do this for a living, so it’s up to the players to be ready.”

Mailata is one player whom the slowdown has helped because he’s playing through a shoulder injury that can be painful if he’s hot wrong.

“I would never say there’s too much me-time during the season because when you get those short turnarounds, you wish you had me-time, so it’s depending on the situation,” the big LT said.

As for his situation, Mailata said the extra rest has calmed the shoulder down but he’s one ding away from pain again.

“It’s just something I try to manage week to week and just making sure I’m trying to increase the range and increase the strength in it,” Mailata told JAKIB Sports. “It depends on how it goes for the game. Get a couple dingers and you feel like you get set back, so you go to the sideline, tape it up again, do what you can to strengthen it.”

For Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay, none of the talk of three games in a month is even an issue.

“That’s what we do,” the always confident Slay said. “Y’all ain’t talked to us in how long, and y’all find a way to still ask some good questions, don’t you?
“You gotta (the extra time to) critique your job. … Just locked in, we focused. Just work. That’s our job.”

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