Saturday, January 1, 2011

Eagles Reid Doesn't Say So, But It Looks Like He'll Be Resting Playing Against Dallas

By Jeff McLane
Inquirer Staff Writer

Even stone-faced Andy Reid couldn't mask the obvious.

The Eagles' coach wouldn't come out and say that he was resting most of his starters in Sunday's regular-season finale. But with a number of significant regulars injured; with the team coming off a short week; and, most important, with the first round of the playoffs looming, Reid will use an otherwise-meaningless game against the Cowboys to give his reserves some extra playing time.

"Your roster's not big enough where you can" sit every starter, Reid said Friday behind a devilish grin. "You have to be careful."

Reid wouldn't even declare Michael Vick out, even though the quarterback didn't take a practice repetition all week. Kevin Kolb did and will start, team sources have confirmed. Vick suffered a bruised thigh on Tuesday against the Vikings. While Vick is officially listed as questionable for Dallas, of greater concern is how ready he'll be in a week.

"He's making progress, and that's a plus," Reid said.

The NFC East champion Eagles have the No. 3 seed locked up and will face one of three teams - the Packers, Giants, or Buccaneers - on either Jan. 8 or 9. A Saturday game would mean the Eagles, who had the Minnesota game controversially pushed back two days, would have to play three games in 12 days.

"They're aware of it, the crazy schedule there," Reid said of the NFL schedulers. "I'm sure they're taking it into consideration."

An extra day of rest would benefit not only Vick, who has taken a beating this season, but several other Eagles. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson (foot), cornerback Asante Samuel (knee), tackle Winston Justice (knee), and defensive tackle Trevor Laws (shoulder/chest) also didn't practice this week.

Put in this position before, Reid has always elected to rest most of his starters. His decision this time was clouded by a woeful effort against Minnesota in which the Eagles bungled away any hope of a first-round bye.

"We had too many penalties, substitutions were off, and that's my responsibility to get that right," Reid said. "And so, we're aware of that now, now we just have to make sure we do it right and get it straight."

Reid had to weigh the possibility of going into the postseason off a two-game losing streak against resting his regulars. He chose the latter even though the 5-10 Cowboys, out of the playoff picture, are expected to play full-speed.

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