Andy Reid said that guard Danny Watkins, who has a chronic ankle injury, would struggle to play Monday against the Saints.
With Watkins questionable, Dennis Kelly could get his second straight start at right guard. Reid said the rookie did a "respectable job" on Sunday against the Falcons. With Watkins' inconsistencies this season, it's fair to question whether he'll retain his starting job even when he returns.
“Yeah, we’ll see," Reid said. "I want to see how he feels once he gets in there [and] we’ll take it from there.”
Kelly said he's up for the challenge.
“Hopefully, if I keep playing at a high level, if they give me the spot, hopefully, I can run with it,” he said.
Kelly, a fifth-round draft pick, was asked if he had been given any indication from coaches that the job was there for the taking.
“Some players have talked about it, just saying, ‘If you’re in there, you’re in there for a reason,’” Kelly said. “Obviously, Danny’s hurt, but there were other options they could have put in. They are telling me to approach it like you can take it, so that’s what I’m doing."
Watkins' chronic ankle came out of the nowhere. Reid said last week that he knew about it as far back as the draft. He said the 2011 first round draft pick re-injured it two weeks ago against the Lions and then again in practice last week.
“He’s got a bit of a component of a high ankle [sprain] and it’s got a bit of a component of a low ankle," Reid said. "Anything that he does lateral hurts him.”
Reid, who was asked if Watkins could be sidelined long-term, said that would assess his progress daily.
"This will pass here," Reid said. "It’s not where it’s going to be career-ending or anything.”
The Watkins' draft pick remains a questionable one. When the Eagles selected him 26th overall, he had only played four years of football after picking it up at the age of 22. He didn't start as a rookie until the fifth game, but seemed to take steps forward by the end of last season.
He's had some low moments this season, especially in pass protection. Watkins hasn't been the only linemen to struggle. The whole unit has been a liability with the injuries to left tackle Jason Peters and center Jason Kelce.
-- Cullen Jenkins has a hyperextended knee and won't practice on Thursday. The defensive tackle said that he expected to play Monday.
-- Reid said that defensive tackle Mike Patterson would practice with the first team and that there was a chance he could play against the Saints. The Eagles have until Nov. 13 to decided whether to activate Patterson or place him on season-ending Injured Reserve.
-- Wide receiver Mardy Gilyard (hamstring) won't practice either. Reid said that Damaris Johnson, who hasn't dressed the last two weeks, will be active Monday and return punts with Gilyard injured.