Quarterback Kevin Kolb and linebacker Stewart Bradley were able to sit in on team meetings today, the Eagles said.
Neither will take part in practice, as they attempt to make progress from concussions suffered in Sunday's loss to Green Bay. Both players would need to be cleared by an independent specialist before they can return to the practice field, according to the league's guidelines.
As reporters left the locker room just before practice Thursday, Bradley was visible in the weight room, running in place, under a trainer's supervision.
Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said he has "a lot of confidence" in Omar Gaither, should he be needed to fill in for Bradley at middle linebacker.
"He’s done a good job and having worked with Omar over the years I have a lot of confidence in him and I think his teammates have a lot of confidence in him, as well," McDermott said. "So, it is like having a fourth starter when he steps into that role.”
Eagles special teams coordinator Bobby April took responsibility for the team's problems covering kicks, which began in the preseason and continued through last week's opener. April vowed to fix the problem; he also said he would reevaluate how he runs OTA and training camp practices. But kick coverage at full speed with tackling is the one thing teams never, ever practice, which can make a deficiency hard to fix.
Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg expressed great respect for Detroit's front four; given the Eagles' blocking struggles, that will be an especially important matchup.
"Yeah, it’s just a whole different squad there," he said. "On defense, I believe they have as many as 17 different players and I believe it’s eight that are starting. And they have a quality guys. They’ve got a five-time Pro Bowler in [LB Julian Peterson] and they’ve got an excellent front. He’s a five-time Pro Bowler, so they’ve got some excellent players on the defensive side of the ball.”
Mornhinweg indicated that Owen Schmitt, acquired to replce injured Leonard Weaver at fullback, will be able to transition quickly enough from a similar offense in Seattle to help out this week.
"He’s had a good practice yesterday, a good walkthrough yesterday, a good practice yesterday, a good walkthrough just now, so great confidence in him," he said. "He’s been in this terminology before, so he’s pretty sharp. He’s a big, physical guy.”
He also was asked about the balance of getting the ball in DeSean Jackson's hands without forcing it.
"We’ve been through that before," he said. "It’s cyclic just a little bit. There will be games where he catches a bunch of balls. I would suggest, I would think there will be others where other guys are catching the ball. Certainly tried to get it to him down the field several times. Got it in underneath several times to him. That’s a real fine line there. Look, when we don’t have it down the field to him, we’ve got to complete the ball and gain yards.”
On the Eagles injury report, only Bradley and Kolb missed practice.
Everyone else listed was a full practice participant: WR Jason Avant (back), DE Antwan Barnes (wrist), RB Mike Bell (toe), G Nick Cole (knee), G Todd Herremans (ankle), T Austin Howard (back), LB Akeem Jordan (groin), DT Trevor Laws (oblique), P Sav Rocca (left hamstring). Avant, Jordan and Rocca were not listed on the injury report on Wednesday.
Detroit linebacker DeAndre Levy took part in the open portion of practice today, his first practice since straining his groin in the third preseason game. Levy told the Detroit Free Press that "I feel close" when it comes to the issue of whether he is ready to play against the Eagles.
Safety Louis Delmas (groin) returned to practice today. Defensive end Cliff Avril (knee) and quarterback Matthew Stafford (shoulder) remain sidelined.
The Lions are still 2,000 tickets short of a sellout as the deadline hits for the game to be blacked out in Detroit. The team has been granted an extension until 1 p.m. Friday.
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