No one told the Philadelphia Eagles the season was over. The team activated Brandon Brooks and Davion Taylor to the 21-day practice window on Wednesday in the hope both players can get some valuable learning reps ahead of the season finale. The Eagles host the Washington Football Team on Sunday at 8:20 p.m.
The first name may be a bit shocking at first glance considering Brooks was thought lost for the year. The All-Pro right guard — the highest-graded offensive lineman in football for 2019 — underwent Achilles surgery in July after tearing his left Achilles tendon at the team facility prior to training camp. Ironically, Brooks was rehabbing from a torn labrum at the time.
Today marks 6 months since my Achilles surgery. STILL HUNGRY 🤫🤫🤫 @ The Rothman Institute Field House – Moorestown https://t.co/ouYarKefTW
— Brandon Brooks (@bbrooks_79) December 19, 2020
The 31-year-old won’t be suiting up in Week 17 but the move allows him to practice with the team and “ramp up” his rehab ahead of the 2021 offseason. His most recent Achilles tear marked the third significant injury for Brooks in less than three years since he tore his right Achilles during a 2018 playoff game.
“Gosh, my heart sunk when I got the news about Brandon’s injury,” head coach Doug Pederson said in June. “This guy has worked extremely hard to get himself back and back in shape, back in playing shape to have a solid 2020 season. So obviously we feel for him, to have to go through this again, but we know that he’ll push through and he’s done a great job with all his rehab and getting himself back, so we’re very confident there.”
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Taylor Looks to Wow in Linebacker Audition for 2021
There has been no shortage of calls for the Eagles to add a linebacker in the 2021 draft. Penn State standout Micah Parsons should be sitting there for the taking at No. 6. But the team invested a third-rounder (103rd overall) in Taylor last year and he’ll get one more game to showcase his skills. Unlike Brooks, he is expected to play in Week 17.
Taylor, the speedy tackler out of Colorado, was drafted as a raw developmental player and struggled to get meaningful snaps in his rookie year. He saw action in 12 games, including one start, and has 10 total tackles. He was placed on injured reserve on Dec. 9 with a knee injury.
Look at the HUSTLE from Davion Taylor hawking down Lamar Jackson.
Gerry would’ve ran to the parking lot. pic.twitter.com/JwJ5CTTuDB
— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) October 19, 2020
The 22-year-old was used primarily on special teams where he played on 178 snaps versus 32 snaps on defense. His biggest claim to fame this season came in Week 10 when he chased down Lamar Jackson at the end of an explosive run. The play earned some very slight praise from Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.
“I would say this, we did get to see Davion’s speed on that one play and that’s really not his play,” Schwartz said on Oct. 20, “but he saw the quarterback pull the ball and chased, and Lamar Jackson is a tough guy to catch. So we did see Davion’s speed on that one.”
‘No-Hat Rule’ Being Enforced for Washington
Sure, the Eagles could lose on purpose this week and move up two or three spots in the draft. The No. 3 pick would garner them a long look at one of the top rookie quarterbacks, Justin Fields or Zach Wilson. Remember, Pederson told reporters on Wednesday that he “always evaluates the quarterback position.” Gulp.
But, according to Schwartz, no one will have to worry about that. The Eagles are playing to win on Sunday night and be the spoilers. The team has too much pride to watch their opponents put on those division champion hats and celebrate on their turf. Don’t look for them to give the game away.
“We’ve got to have a no-hat rule this week,” Schwartz told reporters. “We can’t let opponents put division win hats on at the Linc. There’s a lot of pride in that, and all our focus has to be [on] accomplishing that this week.”
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