There was a time this season when it looked like rookie Mack Hollins might overtake Torrey Smith in playing time.
That time has passed.
Against Denver and Chicago in November, Hollins had nearly the same amount of snaps as Smith, but that was a long time ago. On Monday night against Oakland, he played just nine offensive downs, his lowest total since Oct. 23, while Smith played 55.
And Hollins, the fourth-round rookie, hasn't had a catch in either of the last three games after having a catch in seven consecutive games.
Is it difficult for him to stay focused when the ball isn't coming his way?
"It's easy," Hollins said. "My job is not to catch the ball. My job is to win games. And we're winning, so it's not hard for me at all."
Some rookies talk about hitting a symbolic wall at some point during their first NFL season, but Hollins said that isn't the case with him. He said he felt better last week than he has all season.
He insisted nothing for him has changed, even with his dip in production and playing time.
Drop the MIKE
It seems like 32-year-old Dannell Ellerbe is the Eagles' new middle linebacker in their base package after DC Jim Schwartz said they're leaning that way going forward.
Ellerbe played a season-high 27 snaps and seems to have overtaken Joe Walker (who was inactive and placed on injured reserve Friday) for that spot.
"I knew it was going to come," Ellerbe said about getting his opportunity. "I just had to stay ready. I just had to learn the defense. It's kind of hard to learn the whole defense in a week or so."
Ellerbe signed with the Eagles on Nov. 13 but played just one defensive snap until Monday night's game. He didn't really show up on the stat sheet aside from a big tackle for loss in the third quarter.
"I feel like I played alright," he said.
Ellerbe isn't sure how much he'll play Sunday, but he could probably use the work and he wants to play. After signing midseason with the Eagles, Ellerbe said Thursday he has no plans to retire anytime soon. He's just hoping to get more on film.
As the Eagles' MIKE in their base package, he'll be on the field primarily on first downs.
"I can help wherever I'm needed," he said. "I've been in some defenses where all I do is cover. This defense, it seems like I'm gonna be in for base, so that's playing more run. I feel like I can do it all. I'm not just a run-stopper or a coverage guy. I can do it all."
Lessons from Dallas
There's a little role reversal in the regular-season finale this season. The Eagles have the No. 1 seed wrapped up, while Dallas is completely out of playoff contention. The opposite happened last year.
In Week 17 of 2016, Dallas was also 13-2. Head coach Jason Garrett elected to rest several of his key players heading into the bye week.
Then, in their first playoff game against the Packers a few weeks later, they got down 21-3 early in the second quarter. They came back to tie the game but eventually lost.
Does Garrett think there was a correlation between the extra rest and the slow start?
"You never really know the answer to that question," Garrett said on a conference call with Philly reporters this week. "I do think we were fresh. I do think, if you just look at the specifics of the things that caused us to get behind, I don't know if it was anything that was directly related to that. Eventually, we started executing and doing the things necessary and we gave ourselves a great chance to win the ballgame at the end.
"Those are some of the age-old questions teams in these situations have been asking for a long time. You never really truly know what the answer is. Ultimately, I think you just do what you think is right for your team and you make that decision and go for it."
Quote of the Week I: "There are times in games like that where guys start turning on each other. And if you look at the sidelines — and I was there — there was never one moment where we doubted we would win that game." -- Nick Foles
Quote of the Week II: "It always cracks me up, I watch Olympic sports and you see those ski jumpers, and you think, ‘Man, that's awesome. They fly through the air and who can go the farthest is the winner.’ But it's not just who can go the farthest. There's somebody who judges whether their skis were straight or something like that. Man, just go the farthest, and that's what we're trying to do." -- Jim Schwartz when asked about the significance of his defense finishing first against the run
Quote of the Week III: "So right now I'm just trying to prove I'm still good. I'm still as fast as I've ever been. Still as quick as anybody in the league. I'm definitely not slowing down." -- Patrick Robinson
Random media guide note: If Nelson Agholor could play another sport, he'd be a point guard for the Knicks.