Thoughts on Hunt, Tapp and Peters

Phillip Hunt should get a chance to play this weekend with Darryl Tapp sidelined. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

The guys over at Eagletarian and Birds' Eye View have the latest from NovaCare on the Eagles' injury situation.

The team has listed Darryl Tapp as out; Akeem Jordan as doubtful; and Jason Peters, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Vince Young as questionable.

Nate Allen, Winston Justice, Juqua Parker and Steve Smith are all probable.

So what does this mean for the 46-man gameday roster? And which other players are affected?

Let's start with Tapp. He played 17 snaps in Week 1 before leaving the game with an injury. I believe all of those snaps came at right defensive end, in place of Trent Cole. Tapp was on the field for eight plays where he had a chance to rush the quarterback, and he piled up a sack and three hurries. Very impressive performance in a limited amount of time.

The most logical guy to replace Tapp is Phillip Hunt. The former CFL star, who beat out Daniel Te'o-Nesheim to make the roster, was inactive in Week 1. But that figures to change against Atlanta.

It'll be interesting to see Hunt on the field though. The Eagles clearly feel like he's someone who can flourish under Jim Washburn. I'm not sure how much they expected him to contribute this season. But Hunt got a shot at camp and made the most of it. And now he'll get a chance in a real game.

Also, keep in mind that Jason Babin played both left defensive end and right defensive end last week, so he could take some of those snaps too. Babin only played 31 snaps last week, less than Juqua Parker (38) and Trent Cole (46). But his second sack against the Rams came from right defensive end.

The only other Eagles option at DE would be Cullen Jenkins, but my guess is they'd like to keep him at DT since he's the team's best interior pass rusher.

As for Peters, he told Jeff McLane and Jonathan Tamari of the Inquirer that he's playing. But if he were to miss time, it'd likely be King Dunlap replacing him.

Dunlap, you may remember, was called on to start at left tackle last year against the Falcons. Here's what I wrote about him in Man Up at the time:

And finally, Mr. Dunlap. He got the job done at left tackle in place of Jason Peters. But, really, the coaching staff and Kolb deserve a lot of credit. By my count, Kolb dropped back to pass 30 times, and on only 10 of those plays was Dunlap asked to block a lineman one-on-one. He was helped with chips from McCoy, Celek, Avant and even Hall (on one play). In other instances, Herremans slid over to help. And the gameplan was very smart. The Eagles ran screens and rolled Kolb out at times. And play-action worked very well, which also helped. The Falcons sometimes dropped John Abraham back in coverage too. In other words, a lot of things came together. It wasn't just Dunlap lining up one-on-one with defensive ends and dominating them. Dunlap looked more comfortable in pass protection than he did in the run game. He was whistled for a 15-yard personal foul penalty in the red zone. Overall, a far better performance than I expected, but there's still a ways to go.

The Eagles did a good job on John Abraham in that game, but as I noted above, the gameplan was really smart. I'd expect a similar gameplan if Dunlap played this week: Move the pocket for Vick, give Dunlap help with the running backs and tight ends, and so on. Abraham looked good in Week 1, sacking Jay Cutler twice.

And finally, Rodgers-Cromartie. The truth is Joselio Hanson is probably more comfortable than Rodgers-Cromartie in the slot right now anyway. Rodgers-Cromartie will have to get used to that role, and the Eagles are likely hoping he just improves every week and is playing at a high level later in the season. But if he misses this game, it's not really a downgrade for the defense with Hanson in.

Last week, the Eagles played nickel on just 20 of 66 snaps (30.3 percent). And while the Falcons are trying to reshape their offensive identity a bit this season with the addition of rookie wide receiver Julio Jones, it's worth noting they went with two tight ends on 40 percent of their plays last year, according to Football Outsiders. That was second-most in the league. In other words, the Eagles could be in their base defense quite a bit once again Sunday.

And finally, since it looks like Jordan will be inactive, that opens up a spot for someone else. The Eagles have six linebackers on their roster and will likely be looking to fill Jordan's role with someone who can play special teams. Maybe that means rookie Jaiquawn Jarrett dresses this week?

In case you missed it, earlier today I posted What they're saying about the Eagles.

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