Eagles could have Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby back to bolster secondary

In this Sept. 30, 2018, file photo, Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Jalen Mills walks on the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans in Nashville, Tenn. (Mark Zaleski/AP)

PHILADELPHIA — Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby were back at practice Wednesday, boosting the Philadelphia Eagles’ depleted secondary.

The team’s starting cornerbacks haven’t played together in a game since last Oct. 28. They could be on the field Sunday night when the Eagles (3-3) visit Dallas (3-3).

"It’s like the first day of school," Mills said. "At this point, the mindset is to play the whole game. I’ve done it before, coming off an injury in college."

The Eagles are 13-5 when Mills and Darby both play, including a victory over New England in Super Bowl 52 in which Tom Brady threw for 505 yards.

Mills suffered a foot injury last October that sidelined him nearly one full year. Darby has missed the past three games with a hamstring injury after tearing his ACL last November.

The Eagles are also missing cornerbacks Avonte Maddox and Cre’Von LeBlanc. Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones had a tough time in a 38-20 loss at Minnesota last Sunday, allowing four touchdown passes.

Overall, the secondary has struggled the past two seasons. The Eagles have the fourth-most yards passing allowed this season. They were 30th against the pass last year and 17th in 2017 when they won the Super Bowl.

Fans hoping the team would acquire three-time Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey were outraged when Jacksonville traded him to the Rams. Eagles coach Doug Pederson pointed to the players returning from injuries as an upgrade.

"I’m excited about the guys we have coming back and getting in the mix," Pederson said. "That’s the encouraging part from our side."

There’s more good news and some bad news on the injury front. Nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters has a knee injury that is expected to keep him sidelined for a while. Pederson said he’s week to week. Rookie Andre Dillard will make his first career start in Peters’ place.

Wide receiver DeSean Jackson is close to returning from an abdomen injury suffered in Week 2. It’s possible he plays against the Cowboys.

Notes: Jackson, Peters, Maddox (concussion, neck), LB Nigel Bradham (ankle), DT Fletcher Cox (illness), DT Timmy Jernigan (foot) and RB Darren Sproles (quadriceps) missed practice.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.