PHILADELPHIA - The Eagles were playing it safe Saturday night by sitting the vast majority of their starters in a 51-26 loss to Dallas but you can’t fully legislate injuries in the NFL.
Philadelphia lost backup tight end Tyree Jackson to a torn ACL, according to NFL Media.
Jackson, a former college quarterback at Buffalo, will obviously be lost for the playoffs and will have about a nine-month rehabilitation period, something that could be a significant setback for what is considered a developmental player.
Starting tight end Dallas Goedert and backup Jack Stoll both missed the game against the Cowboys while on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Jackson got his first NFL start and snared his first professional catch for a touchdown, a short three-yard shovel pass from Gardner Minshew with 9:41 left in the first quarter which gave Philadelphia an early 7-0 advantage.
"So excited for Tyree," said Minshew. "That’s my guy, we’ve been going at it on scout team, been doing some really good things. He’s going to be a really special player and to get him involved for his first touchdown, I think I was probably as excited as he was, if not more.”
Overall, Jackson played a career-high 39 snaps before injuring himself while covering a poor 24-yard Arryn Siposs punt early in the fourth quarter. He finished with three receptions for 22 yards on five targets.
The Eagles have veteran Richard Rodgers and second-year player Noah Togiai on the practice squad. Both were elevated for Saturday’s game with Rodgers playing 38 snaps and Togiai 24.
As the more veteran presence, Rodgers would likely be the choice to replace Jackson on the 53-man roster.
Multi-tight end sets have become a big part of the Eagles’ offense as the season has worn on.
In the four games prior to the Cowboys outlet on Saturday Philadelphia has used 12 personnel (two TEs) 37.1 percent of the time and 13P 16.2 percent.
Since the Eagles switched to a run-heavy offense after a 2-5 start, they’ve used 12P 30.0 percent and 13P 13.4 percent. To compare in the first seven games, they used 12P just 19.9 percent and 13P just 4.7 percent.
Philadelphia will learn their wild-card round opponent later Sunday afternoon with the reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers remaining the most likely outcome but the LA Rams, Arizona, and even Dallas are still possibilities depending on what happens Sunday.
-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on both PhillyVoice.com and YouTube. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.