Eagles must decide who rests
PHILADELPHIA — Before they tackle rest vs. rust, the Philadelphia Eagles have to approach rest vs. reps.
With the NFC’s No. 1 seed secured, the Eagles (13-2) have nothing to gain against the Dallas Cowboys (8-7) on Sunday other than playing for a franchise-record 14th win.
But coach Doug Pederson can’t really rest all his starters because there aren’t enough players on the rosters.
Banged-up veterans such as defensive end Brandon Graham and left guard Stefen Wisniewski will get extra time off before the Eagles host a playoff game on Jan. 13 or 14. Several others have to play some.
“You’re only limited to 46 (players), and you can only put seven guys down,” Pederson said. “If you do the math, some of your starters are going to have to play.”
Starting quarterback Nick Foles sure seemed as if he needs more time working with the receivers following a shaky performance in a 19-10 win over Oakland on Monday.
Foles has only played nine quarters since Carson Wentz tore his left ACL. He was sharp off the bench against the Los Angeles Rams two weeks ago and tossed four touchdown passes with no interceptions in a 34-29 win over the Giants in his first start.
On a cold, windy night against the Raiders, Foles was 19 of 38 for 163 yards with one TD and one pick. He didn’t complete any passes to Alshon Jeffery and most of his passes were short.
“I’ve got to play and get him as many reps as he can, and then be smart about it,” Pederson said.
“We have a lot of football left. Our season really is just beginning, quite honestly. But we’ll be smart and make good decisions there as a coaching staff, talk to the coordinators about playtime and all that. We’ll have a good plan later in the week.”
Foles isn’t lobbying for rest or playing against the Cowboys.
“There’s good and bad, you can look at it either way,” he said. “That’s where I trust the coaches. I’m going to continue to improve, continue to work and I trust whatever they say. I’m always ready to go and play. So we’ll see what the coaches decide.”
Backup Nate Sudfeld hasn’t thrown a pass in the NFL so it’s wise for Philadelphia to give him some experience and protect Foles from an injury. The Eagles don’t have a third quarterback on the roster or practice squad.
Pegula questions replay
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Bills owner Terry Pegula questioned the lack of consistency in NFL replay rulings and said the issue needs to be addressed after Buffalo receiver Kelvin Benjamin’s touchdown was overruled in a loss to New England last weekend.
“I don’t know what’s going on, but we have to fix it,” Pegula said Tuesday, while appearing on Buffalo’s WGR-Radio. “I’m not saying this as the owner of the Bills. I’m saying it as a football fan. We can’t have stuff like this happening in our league.”
One of Pegula’s biggest concerns is whether the league has taken its review process too far in overturning officials’ calls on the field.
“It just wasn’t consistent. Replay was developed by this league to correct obvious mistakes,” Pegula said. “If you’ve got to look at a play 30 times from five different angles and keep looking at it and looking at it and looking at it, you go with the call on the field. It’s what the league’s been doing ever since replay started.”
Pegula then specifically mentioned NFL officiating chief Al Riveron in being among the only people who might disagree with him.
“Obviously, they weren’t looking at the same television the rest of the country was looking at, were they?” he said.
“You know what, you can probably find somebody in this country who disagrees with that. And I know one guy would be Al Riveron sitting in New York City.”
The NFL declined to comment on what Pegula said.
Lynch named starter
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos will start Paxton Lynch in their season finale against the Kansas City Chiefs — providing he can play on his sprained left ankle that’s sidelined him for more than a month.
“He wasn’t quite ready last week. Hopefully, he’s ready to go this week,” coach Vance Joseph said Tuesday. “That’s the plan to start Paxton this week.”
Joseph insisted the top priority for the Broncos (5-10) is to beat the Chiefs (9-6), who won the AFC West crown for the second straight season and could treat Sunday’s game in Denver like a playoff bye.
“Not saying if he’s playing we can’t win,” Joseph said. “He’s going to be our quarterback, so we expect to win.”
n Tennessee Titans coach Mike Mularkey says he’s not ruling out DeMarco Murray of their regular-season finale against Jacksonville just yet despite an injured right knee that has the running back day to day.
n Redskins coach Jay Gruden said that quarterback Kirk Cousins would start Sunday’s season finale at the New York Giants despite the potential of an injury and no postseason ramifications involved.
n Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians says a report that he and the franchise have agreed to part ways after this season is untrue, labeling it “fake news.”
n Chicago Bears coach John Fox insists he is not worrying about his future.
With a 14-33 record in three years, Fox might be coaching his final game for the Bears when they finish the season at NFC North champion Minnesota on Sunday.
Fox says he has “never had trouble getting employment in this league” and is “not going to start worrying about it now.”
n Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says coach Jason Garrett will return for an eighth full season after Dallas missed the playoffs in a year marred by the six-game suspension of star running back Ezekiel Elliott.
n The Minnesota Vikings have signed long snapper Jeff Overbaugh and placed guard Nick Easton on injured reserve.
n The Green Bay Packers will have another new starting right tackle for their season finale at Detroit after Jason Spriggs was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury.
n The Panthers say starting wide receiver Damiere Byrd will miss the remainder of the season with a lower leg injury.