NEW ORLEANS -- Injured Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham would be a "real stretch" to make the season opener, according to coach Andy Reid.
Graham, the Eagles' top draft pick from a year ago, suffered a season-ending torn ACL to his knee in December. Because of the lockout, he can't rehab with the Eagles but the team is allowed to keep tabs on Graham through doctors.
With Graham in doubt for next season the Eagles may be forced to address defensive end high in the draft much as they did last season when they traded up and took the Michigan product with the 13th overall pick. The Eagles still have starters Trent Cole and Juqua Parker, but both are aging.
Asked about his defensive end dilemma, Reid pointed out that he still had "Te'o, Tapp and Sapp" on the roster. He, of course, was referring to Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, Darryl Tapp and Ricky Sapp. Tapp was part of the defensive end rotation last season but Te'o-Nesheim hardly played and Sapp spent all of last season on injured reserve.
Reid also said that safety Nate Allen "should be there" by the start of the season. Allen ruptured his patella tendon in December.
The Eagles coach sat down with reporters for a 75-minute roundtable session with reporters at the NFL owners meetings. Reid was asked about nearly the entire roster, although much of the interview dealt with the interest the team has received from other teams for backup quarterback Kevin Kolb.
Michael Vick, of course, is the starter. Reid was asked if having a left-handed quarterback changes his view of the importance of the right tackle position and in particular starter Winston Justice.
"I’m comfortable with Winston," Reid said. "You know what was pleasantly – not a surprise – it was a pleasant improvement was King Dunlap. I thought he really improved and showed that he’s a legitimate contender for that spot."
Does that mean there will be an open competition between the two?
"Listen, I’m going to tell you there’s always competition," Reid said. "So I’d tell you, yes. But I think Winston ended up playing hurt last year and still did a pretty good job. There’s always competition. I think that’s one spot that there’s a good competition for."
Reid said that Dunlap could also compete for the right guard opening along with Mike McGlynn, who started at center last season. Reid said that center Jamaal Jackson, who tore his triceps last season, will be back by the start of the season.
"King could play right guard," Reid said. "Michael might hit him in the back of the head. We’ve put him in there and he did very well."
Reid was also asked about his right cornerback situation. He doesn't have one, or at least one many consider good.
"We’re going to evaluate that," Reid said. "We’re evaluating the whole the shebang. Dimitri [Patterson] will get one year better if Dimitri’s back with us."
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