There comes a point in every Eagles season when, with a heavy sigh, the coaching staff comes to grips with the fact that it needs to elevate Akeem Jordan to the starting linebacking corps again.
This year that time arrived Sunday, when Andy Reid announced Jordan is now his weakside starter, ahead of Brian Rolle, who so far this preseason has not played to the level he reached down the stretch last year. Reid more or less indicated that if Jamar Chaney hadn't kept tweaking his hamstring, Chaney would be starting instead of Rolle, but with Chaney still not completely healthy, he'll go to Jordan, the five-year veteran, instead of sticking with second-year man Rolle.
"He's been very consistent, and he deserves the opportunity," Reid said of Jordan, who has been practicing on the strongside this camp, but started his Eagles career at WIL. "He's a battler, that's what he is. I'm not gonna tell you there's anything fancy about him. He's tough and he knows his assignments. He plays tough, hard-nosed football."
"I'm blessed with the opportunity to play in the National Football League," Jordan said, when asked if it seems he's continually proving himself here, year after year. "Every day I just go out there and work as hard as I can. Let the chips fall."
Jordan, 26, arrived in 2007 as an undrafted rookie from James Madison, three defensive coordinators ago, when Jim Johnson ran that side of the ball. He has started 27 of the 68 games he has played for the Eagles; in terms of Eagles service, he is far and away the grizzled veteran of the young group.
"Nothing's a given, nothing's written in stone," said Jordan, who excelled on special teams last year. "That's why you go out and play like your hair's on fire."
Other tidbits from Sunday morning's practice, which preceded "Flight Night" at the Linc Sunday evening:
*Reid more or less officially indicated that defensive tackle Mike Patterson will not be ready to play anytime soon, as Patterson seeks clearance from the Arizona doctor who untangled blood vessels in his brain. "I think that's going to be an extended time here. We just have to see how that goes, if he's able to go at all this year, we'll just have to see how that works out. We'll take checkups in increments here, but right now, that's going to be a while," Reid said. This was the first mention of any possibility Patterson might not play at all this season.
*Reid said the oddly timed release of rookie corner Cliff Harris Sunday was due to the fact that the team "couldn't get ahold of" Harris on Saturday, when 10 other cuts were announced. Reid said the move did not grow out of any off-the-field incidents. Harris's college career at Oregon ended early because of traffic arrests and drug difficulties. He was considered one of the most intriguing athletes in camp this year, and he picked off a pass Friday night at Cleveland.
*Reid said defensive end Jason Babin "has a good chance" of playing in the Sept. 9 season opener, as he recovers from a calf strain. Babin tweeted Sunday that he will play in the opener.
*Reid said WR Riley Cooper (collarbone) being available for the opener would "be a struggle."
*Reid said he thinks QB Mike Kafka (hand) might get full clearance Monday.
*LB Casey Matthews (high ankle) "stands a chance" for the opener, but that, too, will "be a struggle," Reid said.