Tinker McDermott; Vick unlikely for Sunday

Sean McDermott unveiled another twist to his defense on Tuesday night.

Needless to say, it didn't work.

McDermott, in his two seasons as the Eagles defensive coordinator, has become a bit of a tinkerer with his unit. It's something partly borne of the number of injuries he has to deal with it, but oftentimes is has nothing to do with losing players.

Against the Vikings, for instance, he had Akeem Jordan stepping in for weak-side linebacker Ernie Sims in certain situations. Last week against the Giants, he implemented a seven defensive back scheme whenever New York face third and long. Last year, he hardly ever had a linebacker play all three downs. The list goes on.

"What he's done is he's using everybody, trying to work everybody's strengths into the game plan, which is a good thing," Eagles coach Andy Reid said on Wednesday, a day after the Eagles "pathetic" -- his word -- loss to Minnesota. "He's trying to put everybody into a good position there and that's OK. That's the way that works."

McDermott's defense only surrendered 17 points to Minnesota, but gave up 31, 27, 24 and 31 points in the Eagles' previous four games.

Reid said that injuries had something to do with the too-many-player-on-the-field penalty the defense was called for in the fourth quarter with the Vikings on the Eagles 1-yard line.

"There's got to be a communication when you're coming in and on and off and we had a couple guys that got banged up a little bit and had to come out," Reid said.

Cornerback Dimitri Patterson was benched in favor of Joselio Hanson in the second half. Patterson, who took over as the starter after the bye in late October, has struggled of late.

The defense suffered another season-ending injury when defensive tackle Jeff Owens tore the patella tendon in his knee. He will head to injured reserve, joining three other rookies -- defensive end Brandon Graham, safety Nate Allen and cornerback Jorrick Calvin -- and nine total players.

In other injury news, defensive tackle Trevor Laws has a shoulder sprain and a chest contusion and was sore, Reid said. Linebacker Stewart Bradley has been ruled out for Sunday's game with his elbow injury, but there's a chance he'll be ready for the playoffs, Reid said. Linebacker Keenan Clayton (hamstring) is back and "should be full speed," according to the coach.

The most notable injury, of course, was Michael Vick's quad contusion. Even if Reid were to want his quarterback to play in an otherwise meaningless game on Sunday against the Cowboys, the coach isn't sure if it's even possible.

"I'm not even sure he can get back from what he's got here with the quad," Reid said. "It's very sore right now. I got to look at that. He'd be one that you'd have to look at to see what you do there."

Reid is likely to rest Vick with the short work week. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson (sore foot) and cornerback Asante Samuel (sore knee) are also likely candidates to get a needed game off.