The Eagles formally activated defensive tackle Jordan Davis off Injured Reserve to the 53-man roster Saturday afternoon, paving the way for their rookie 1st-round pick to return to action Sunday against the Titans.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that the Eagles also placed NFL interception leader Chauncey Gardner-Johnson on Injured Reserve with his lacerated kidney, so he’s out for at least a month.
Davis has been on IR since Nov. 2 with the high ankle sprain that he suffered two days earlier against the Steelers. He missed the Texans, Commanders, Colts and Packers games while rehabbing. The Eagles opened his 21-day practice window on Tuesday, and he practiced all week with encouraging results.
Davis, the 14th pick in this year’s draft, averaged 22 snaps in the Eagles’ first seven games and was playing at a high level in the Eagles’ defensive line rotation when he got hurt. ProFootballFocus ranks him as the 13th-highest interior lineman with a 78.4 grade and 8th against the run with a 77.7 grade.
During his absence, the Eagles added veterans Ndamukong Suh and Linval Joseph. It will be interesting to see how d-line coach Tracy Rocker and defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon use the Eagles’ six interior linemen with Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave and Milton Williams now joining Joseph, Suh and Davis for the first time.
Davis said after practice Thursday he felt really good but said he’s still not 100 percent.
“It tweaked on me a few times (during practice), but you just wait a little bit and it kind of goes away and then we just get back full tilt,” he said. “So taking this just a play at a time, just doing what I can a play at a time.”
As for Gardner-Johnson, he now has to sit out at least four games before returning to action, a huge blow to the Eagles’ defense.
Gardner-Johnson will miss at least the Titans, Giants, Bears and Cowboys games. He’ll be eligible to return Jan. 1 when the Eagles face the Saints at the Linc – their next home game after Sunday.
Gardner-Johnson is the first Eagles safety with six INTs in a season since Greg Jackson in 1994, and he set a franchise record with an interception in five consecutive games – from the Cards game to the second Washington game.
With Gardner-Johnson out, undrafted rookie Reed Blankenship will make his first NFL start Sunday. He became the first undrafted rookie ever to record an interception off Aaron Rodgers last week in his first extended regular-season action on defense.
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