New coordinator Todd Bowles won't be the only change for the Eagles' defense when it hits the practice field Monday for the first workout after the bye. Defensive tackle Mike Patterson is expected to practice for the first time in 2012, a source close to the situation confirmed Sunday.
Comcast SportsNet's Derrick Gunn raised the possibility of Patterson practicing in a Saturday report. Patterson underwent surgery in the offseason to correct a tangle of blood vessels in his brain that had caused a seizure at training camp in August 2011. Patterson, who played the 2011 season with medication protecting against another seizure, expected to return for training camp this year, but Dr. Robert Spetzler, the Phoenix-based surgeon who performed the procedure, examined results from July tests and wasn't sure Patterson's skull had healed sufficiently to risk contact. Now, Spetzler has given the OK.
Patterson, who felt he was healthy enough to practice in July, has been working out on his own, around the team continuously since camp began. It's unclear how long it might take for him to get in game shape, but the Eagles have three weeks to decide whether to place him on the 53-man roster. If they decline to do that, Patterson would go on injured reserve and miss the season.
A few weeks ago it might have seemed there was no spot for Patterson, 29, the team's first-round draft pick in 2005, who only missed four starts from the time he joined the regular lineup in 2006 through last season. But the Birds' defensive tackles haven't performed all that well in losses to the Steelers and Lions; Derek Landri, struggling with a knee problem, has been much less effective than expected, and Cullen Jenkins, who turns 32 in January, has no sacks and is generating little pressure.