Saturday, August 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

T.Cole: 'I'm good.' Birds Make 5 Cuts

Eagles fans can breathe a sigh of relief with the latest update on defensive end Trent Cole's injured right ankle.

T.Cole: 'I'm good.' Birds Make 5 Cuts

Trent Cole (right) gets carted of the field after injuring his ankle against the Chiefs on Friday. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)
Trent Cole (right) gets carted of the field after injuring his ankle against the Chiefs on Friday. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)

 Eagles fans can breathe a sigh of relief with the latest update on defensive end Trent Cole's injured right ankle.

Cole used Twitter to report his own MRI results from this morning.

"Well, I'm good. Nothing serious. Now time to recover and get after Green Bay."

The Eagles said the MRI showed "no structural damage." Cole is listed as day-to-day with a mild ankle sprain, the team said.

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Cole was not going to play in the preseason finale against the Jets on Thursday anyway. It is unknown how much -- if any practice time -- Cole will miss.

Andy Reid is expected to address the media tomorrow after the team returns to practice at the NovaCare Complex.

***

The Eagles, apparently with nothing better to do on a Saturday night, announced the release of five players, three of them with local ties. Former practice squad guard Greg Isdaner, an Episcopal Academy grad, was axed along with Upper Darby linebacker Simoni Lawrence and Newtown safety Ryan Hamilton, along with offensive lineman Zipp Duncan and wideout Jared Perry. The roster now contains 75 players; the next cut, in about a week, is to the regular-season limit of 53.

***
Somehow, the final verson of the Daily News game story from last night never got posted, the one with quotes and a corrected DeSean Jackson diagnosis. So, since your Eagletarian flew literally halfway across the country to write it, we thought we'd provide it for you here, if anyone is still interested:

By Les Bowen
KANSAS CITY --- There is a reason NFL teams don’t play the starters much in the preseason, and it doesn’t really have a lot to do with the crucial need for an extended look at the Martell Malletts, Jerail McCullers and Jared Perrys of the world.

Andy Reid’s plan to sharpen his starting offensive and defensive units with their most extensive preseason playing time last night started to veer off track on the Birds’ first snap, when DeSean Jackson took a wideout screen 4 yards and got clobbered by rookie safety Eric Berry, the guy many fans wanted the Eagles to trade up to draft this year. Jackson left the field with what Eagles coach Andy Reid later described as a neck strain. He did not return to what became a 20-17 victory over the host Kanas City Chiefs. Reid said he held Jackson out for precuationary reasons.

The offense without Jackson certainly lacked sharpness. Picking up blitzes seemed to be a lost art, as former Eagles practice squad linebacker Andy Studebaker roamed free for a pair of first-half sacks of Kevin Kolb.

By halftime, the most indispensable defensive player, defensive end Trent Cole, had ridden a John Deere cart off to the locker room for right ankle X-rays, which were negative. Reid said Cole will have an MRI this morning, back in Philadelphia.

Cole was followed to the locker room by Mike McGlynn, the guy who ought to be the No. 3 center but has started every preseason game because Jamaal Jackson is still recovering from ACL surgery and Nick Cole has lost the past several weeks to mysterious knee soreness. For the final drive before the half, A.Q. Shipley, a longshot to make the roster (before last night, anyhow) was snapping the ball to Kolb.

McGlynn, knowing the enormity of the opportunity in front of him, returned for the second half. He said his ankle had been rolled up.

“It wasn’t quite as sharp as we would have liked it, for sure,” Kolb said after completing 11 of 25 passes for 103 yards and a 39.2 passer rating. “There was a lot of details we have to clean up. There needs to be some special attention paid to it, starting with myself.”

Reid said there was “plenty of work to do” with the first-team offense. He said the unit got “great work” against a 3-4 defense. He said the game also was “great work” for Kolb, who still hasn’t led the offense to a preseason touchdown.

The Eagles scored on that first drive, Shady McCoy taking a Michael Vick handoff 18 yards up the gut, getting excellent blocking from just about everybody on the field. The Eagles started on the Chiefs’ 22 following a fumble recovered by Trent Cole.

The Birds settled for a 39-yard David Akers field goal at the end of their third drive, a 16-play marathon that went off course when Kolb was pressured into an end zone incompletion to Jeremy Maclin (who had a terrible first half in his return to his home state, dropping a long bomb and a couple shorter balls), then Jason Peters took the first of his two first-half false starts.

“That’s not like Jeremy,” Reid said. Maclin was targeted a whopping 11 times, catching 3 passes for 39 yards.

“He’s just got to do a better job of focusing there.”

Asked about Peters’ penalties, Reid said: “That can’t happen.”

Kansas City had the ball much of the second quarter, thanks to a rare defensive delay penalty on the Eagles as the Chiefs were about to punt. Apparently someone tried to entice a false start. Kansas City’s bumbling offense promptly awoke and drove smartly downfield, Matt Cassel hitting a wide-open Dwayne Bowe in the end zone on third and goal from the 3.

The Eagles’ two-minute drill worked well enough to net a first down at the Chiefs’ 24, but a Studebaker sack, a Maclin drop and a Peters false start later, Sav Rocca was punting.

Midway through the third quarter, Kolb had been sacked four times, all by linebackers, and had spent much of his time on the run. Running back Mike Bell, playing for the first time in the preseason, looked rusty. He gained 17 yards on 8 attempts.

Kolb hit halftime 4 for 13 for 29 yards. He missed a few throws, but as so often was the case with his predecessor, other people’s shortcomings made it hard to evaluate him. No blocking, several drops, no running game after the first few series. We did learn that Kolb can scramble effectively, something that was way down the list of important things to establish last night. And again like with his predecessor, there were times when you thought maybe the ball could have gotten out a little quicker.

“Like always, it starts at our position,” Kolb said.

Reid said he thought his offensive line “did good” but noted the blitz pickup problems, primarily from the running backs.

Kolb, on the run, heaved a deep ball for Maclin into double coverage and got it picked off by safety Kendrick Lewis a bit past midway through the third, setting up a touchdown that gave the Chiefs a 14-10 lead, with 4:42 left in the third. Eagles reserve corner Dimitri Patterson suffered a finger injury on the touchdown play, an 11-yard Thomas Jones run against Birds reserves. Patterson later returned.

After the pick, these were Kolb’s stats: 6 for 19, 47 yards (2.5 yards per attempt), one interception, 19.0 passer rating.

Kolb, with Vick snaps interspersed, drove the Eagles into the red zone at the end of the third quarter. He faced second and 6 after completing a pass to Maclin at the 12. But Vick came in for a QB draw that netted only 3 yards, leaving Kolb with a third down to convert. He had no receivers in sight as he rolled left and ultimately threw the ball away, his last snap of the evening, on the first play of the fourth quarter, before David Akers kicked a 27-yard field goal that brought the Eagles within 14-13.

The Eagles to that point had converted just 3 of 13 third downs, and managed just 4 passing first downs.
He said he felt the Birds let down after scoring so easily on that first possession.

“You could see it – it was one mistake here, one mistake there, it just kept hindering us,” Kolb said. “We couldn’t ever get any rhythm. We finally got some rhythm on the last drive, we went down there and put it down there inside the 10, had a good drive all the way through, except putting it in the end zone.”

Birdseed: The Eagles won when rookie quarterback Mike Kafka led a late drive, hitting rookie wideout Riley Cooper for an 18-yard touchdown with 23 seconds remaining … Despite an emphasis on directional kickoffs from David Akers, the coverage once again was haphazard … Asante Samuel might still be celebrating the lick he laid on tiny rookie running back/wideout Dexter McCluster, Samuel blowing up a red zone screen … McCluster averaged 37 yards on three kickoff returns … Rookie corner Trevard Lindley got some first-unit snaps for Ellis Hobbs and came up with a nice interception, tipping the ball away from the receiver and then catching it. Andy Reid said he wanted to give Lindley some snaps against the Chiefs’ first-team offense, with the Birds’ first-team defense … This was the Chiefs’ first game in renovated Arrowhead Stadium … Todd Herremans played the first half at left guard; Reid said he felt good … Rookies Brandon Graham and Nate Allen seemed to play well again … Chiefs linebacker Cameron Sheffield left the field immobile on a back board after his helmet hit Mike Bell’s shoulderpads and helment, Sheffield making a third-quarter tackle. The Chiefs said only that he suffered a neck injury.
 

EARLIER:

With the Eagles hoping for an improved pass rush to take the pressure off the secondary, Trent Cole, the team's top pass-rusher, is scheduled for an MRI today on his injured right ankle.

Cole limped to the sideline during the second quarter of last night's win over Kansas City and then was carted into the locker room. X-rays were negative.

"Getting MRI this morning. I hope I'm alright because this [stuff] sucks," Cole told his followers this morning via Twitter.

The Eagles have to hope he is just fine, too. Darryl Tapp took most of the snaps after Cole was hurt. Rookie Brandon Graham has moved into the starting role on the other side.

***

Chiefs linebacker Cameron Sheffield reportedly was moving his extremities after leaving the field strapped to a board. The Chiefs supplied no information, other than that Sheffield suffered a "neck injury" in a collision with Mike Bell, but teammates told the Kansas City Star that he was moving.

***

On a happier note, today is a special day for Eagles fullback Leonard Weaver, as he returns to Carson-Newman College in Tennessee for a day in his honor when the team plays Winona State in the opener.

"I can't believe Carson Newman College is having a Leonard Weaver Day," Weaver wrote this morning.

"This is pretty cool because I get a chance to go back and see some old teammates and coaches."

Weaver played linebacker as a freshman and moved to tight end as a sophomore, catching one pass. As a junior, Weaver caught 16 passes for 410 yards and six TDs, including a 67-yard touchdown in the Eagles’ playoff win at Valdosta State.

 

As a senior, Weaver would go on to catch 27 passes for 571 yards and eight touchdowns. He was part of Carson-Newman’s first 300-yard passing game under Ken Sparks, a 49-34 win at Catawba, in which Weaver caught three balls for 136 yards and two TDs. For his career, he averaged a deep threat, wide receiver-like 23 yards per reception.
 

Weaver was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Seattle Seahawks and was eventually converted to fullback.

Weaver wrote that he was a little sore from last night's game and that his back was doing fine. Apparently, Todd Herremans blocked someone into Weaver.

"My back is okay, it was just the wind being knocked out of me.," he wrote. "My boy Todd power drove somebody into my back."

***

The Eagles take today off, then practice tomorrow. Their preseason finale is Thursday at home against the Jets. Traditionally, Andy Reid does not play his starters at all in the last preseason game, but the sketchy performance of the first-team offense last night in Kansas City raised questions over whether he might want that unit to get a little more work. Reid was noncommital. In previous situations like this, he has opted to just work on sharpness in practice and not risk more injury.

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Les Bowen Daily News Staff Writer
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