With the loss of middle linebacker Stuart Bradley for the season with a torn ACL, and yesterday’s announcement that rookie tight end Cornelius Ingram will sit out the year after suffering the same injury, the training camp storyline seems to be stuck on the injury bug that just won’t stop biting the Birds.
Mix in the continued absence of Shawn Andrews, nursing the back injury that never dies, and the fact that fellow offensive linemen Stacy Andrews and Jason Peters are still not going full speed with just four days left before the preseason opener, and Andy Reid found himself entrenched in injury updates following today’s soggy morning practice at Lehigh.
The coach (as always) began with what seems to be an ever-expanding roll call of the wounded, providing updates on Bradley (knee surgery set for Tuesday), Ingram (no surgery date yet) and wide receiver DeSean Jackson (held out of this morning’s practice after hyperextending his knee yesterday).
New to the list was guard Todd Herremans, who missed the morning session with a swollen knee. Max Jean-Gilles ran with the first-team offense in his place.
Eagles fans tend to do their best Chicken Little impersonation at times like these, but the sky isn’t necessarily falling in this case. Let’s keep in mind that the Eagles season opener against Carolina is still more than a month away. There’s plenty of time for the o-line to get healthy, and plenty of opportunity for young players to step up and fill the void left by the losses of Bradley and Ingram – and for the Birds to go out and bring in outside help (especially at the tight end position).
There was doomsday talk today about fullback Leonard Weaver sliding over to play some tight end in an emergency situation, but unless the Birds find themselves on the receiving end of the punishment in a replay of “The Body Bag Game,” I seriously doubt that little scenario ever comes into play.
Rookie free agent Rob Myers – signed after Ingram’s injury was announced late yesterday – took the field for the first time today and showed that he can catch the ball. Not much else you can take from one practice though, and there’s a high probability that he won’t be much more than a camp body when all is said and done.
“We’ve got to keep our eyes open I think – which we’ve been doing,” Reid said of possibly bringing in another tight end. “We’ll see how it works out.”
As far as the offensive line goes, things are improving (although the continued absence of Shawn Andrews grows more ominous by the day). Peters participated in live action today, and looks like he could play Thursday night against the Patriots. Stacy Andrews was held out of full contact again but took part in some “thud” drills.
Reid admitted he’s kept track of Jon Runyan’s rehab from knee surgery, but didn’t go much beyond that. Big Jon likely remains an option for the Eagles if Shawn Andrews doesn’t progress as they hope. And let’s not forget that this group of Eagles o-linemen is probably the deepest they’ve had under Andy Reid. Jean-Gilles and Nick Cole both played well as injury replacements last season, and either can slide in at guard without too big of a drop-off.
True, their top reserve at tackle is still Winston Justice. If I had something to make you feel better about that, I would throw it out there. Coming up empty at the moment though.
--- Mike Potter