Coach Jason Garrett and the Dallas Cowboys play their final game of the year on Sunday, when they take on the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles are 13-2 and heading to the playoffs. The Cowboys are 8-7 and definitely not. Logic says that the Cowboys shouldn’t play their starters because there is literally nothing to gain and they just risk an injury that could impact 2018.
Even, so Garrett sounds like he’s going to put running back Ezekiel Elliott, quarterback Dak Prescott and everyone else right out there on the field.
“We’re going to play the guys who are able to play physically and give ourselves every chance to play our best football,” Garrett said, per ESPN’s Todd Archer. “Obviously we’ve played a lot of young guys throughout the season so they’ll continue to play in roles they’ve played in. But anticipate anybody who’s healthy and ready to go to practice and to play in this game on Sunday.”
Again, there’s no reason to do this. Even if the Cowboys win 50-3, it means nothing. They still go home — with a slightly-worse draft pick — and the Eagles still go to the playoffs.
It may just be pride. The Eagles are a rival, and they thrashed the Cowboys the last time they met. Does Garrett want to get them back for that? He may, but quarterback Carson Wentz has been done for weeks now with his knee injury. Beating the Eagles with Nick Foles behind center isn’t going to impress anyone.
There is a chance that Garrett sits his starters, that he’s really just putting himself in a position to do it while still looking like he wants to win.
“Personal opinion: Jason Garrett’s notion of playing anyone who’s healthy is an admirable sentiment but a bad idea,” wrote David Helman of the team’s official website. “At this stage of the season, you’re at a point where injuries can affect 2018. I see tons of negatives and not enough positives to make it worth it. I’ll say this: He gave himself a heck of a loophole with the phrase ‘anyone who is healthy,’ because no one in the NFL is healthy on Dec. 27. Other than that, I dunno.”
If the Cowboys get through it unscathed, fans probably will like seeing the stars play. If Elliott blows out a knee, though, the team will never hear the end of it.