Matt Lombardo
nj.com


PHILADELPHIA -- With nothing to play for in Week 17 against the Dallas Cowboys, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson backed off his players and scheduled three walk-throughs instead of a normal practice week.

Some veteran players think that backing off the intensity of last week's schedule contributed to the Eagles' struggles against the Cowboys.

Following a listless 6-0 loss to the Dallas Cowboys to finish the season, some veteran players were calling on Pederson to ramp the intensity back up over the next two weeks ahead of the team's game in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs.

"I think the biggest thing that we need to do, and this team needs especially offensively," Eagles center Jason Kelce told reporters following Sunday's game. "Is we need to practice. I think the last two weeks, obviously, we've tried to get some rest in and get guys' legs back. I think that's important, but toning down the reps and the physical things, we just have to get back after it."

It was a fine line for Pederson to walk over the last two weeks, with home-field advantage secured with a 19-10 win over the Oakland Raiders in Week 16 following three consecutive road games and having lost quarterback Carson Wentz with a torn ACL, to balance staying sharp with backup Nick Foles and preserving health.

Following Sunday's loss, it is expected that the Eagles will have a normal week of practice during the bye week, followed by a normal week of practice leading up to the game.

The result of the two light weeks of practice hasn't boded well for an offense that went a combined 3-for-25 on third down over the last two weeks with Foles and Nate Sudfeld at quarterback.

Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins echoed Kelce's sentiment when it came to more practice benefiting the defense as the playoffs are set to get underway.

"I think everything is within reason," Jenkins said. "We've been kind of resting. It's the end of the year, getting guys healthy has been important to us, especially after that long trip on the west coast and three road games in a row.

"Now, obviously with a little bit of rest for some of our starters this week, and a bye coming up, I think it's important that we get back to some of the basics.Hopefully we don't do anything crazy or out of the usual, but I think it's definitely an opportunity for us to get better as a team. That's where our focus needs to be."