Philadelphia Eagles Defensive Depth To Be Tested Amid Injury Concerns
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The Philadelphia Eagles will head to Cleveland with some depth concerns at linebacker but for the most part should feel pretty good about their health heading in to week one against the Browns. As you get ready to adjust your fantasy football lineups, here is a rundown of the latest injury news regarding the Eagles.
Colt Anderson, Safety – Anderson continues to rehab his torn ACL form last December and was not expected to be back for week one. The team kept him out of practices the last few days after being ruled out for week one’s game at Cleveland. But the path to return to the team is underway after the team activated him from the physically unable to play list on Monday. Anderson is optimistic he will be able to play as early next week but the team will naturally be a little more hesitant to go by any similar timeline.
Riley Cooper, Wide Receiver – With a broken collarbone suffered at the beginning of training camp it was highly unlikely that Cooper would be available for the season opener, although he could be ready to go by the end of the month if the healing process stays on track. Without Cooper Andy Reid and his offense will go with four wide receivers with DeSean Jackson, Jason Avant, Jeremy Maclin and rookie Damarias Johnson stepping in to a key position.
Dion Lewis, Running Back – Lewis participated in full practices this week despite having a slight hamstring to take care of. For now Lewis could be able to play but the team will likely keep him limited at best behind LeSean McCoy at running back. If Lewis is unavailable for the game the back-up duties will be most likely to be placed in the hands of Kansas State rookie Bryce Brown. Brown played in just three games last season for the Wildcats and rushed for 16 yards before leaving the program to focus on entering the NFL amid controversy with ties to an impermissible benefits scandal investigation.
Nate Allen, Safety – A pair of hamstring injuries during the preseason may not be enough to keep Nate Allen form playing Sunday in Cleveland. Allen says his hamstring in at 100 percent and if that is the case he should be able to stay in the lineup as a starter at strong safety, with David Sims likely backing him up.
Jason Babin, Defensive End – Jason Babin participated in full practices this week and continues to battle back from a calf injury. Expect to see him start this weekend at Cleveland at left defensive end, with Brandon Graham possibly seeing some increased playing time to give Babin frequent and routine rest for good measure.
Fletcher Cox, Defensive Tackle – Rookie defensive tackle was limited in Thursday’s practice but was able to participate in a full practice Friday with knee inflammation. Cox was not likely to start in week one anyway but he will serve as a back-up behind Cullen Jenkins, but expect to see him seeing a good amount of playing time so he can get his feet wet in regular season play.
Casey Matthews, Linebacker – Linebacker depth could be a slight issue for the Eagles. Casey Matthews has been practicing in full practices this week but is bothered slightly by an ankle injury. Matthews is sitting behind free agent signing DeMeco Ryans on the depth chart in the middle of the linebackers, but if Ryans struggles or goes down with an injury, how quickly Matthews can adjust in the middle of the field could become an issue with the ankle.
Jamar Chaney, Linebacker – Adding to the linebacker depth concerns is Chaney, who has been working through a hamstring issue. Like Matthews though, Chaney has been participating in full practices this week and is being listed as probable as more of a concern than anything else. Chaney is backing up Mychal Kendricks on the strong side
Nate Menkin, Offensive Lineman – Philadelphia’s offensive line will mostly start the year healthy, with back-up center the only lineman listed on the injury report by the team. Menkin, a second-string center, participated in full practices on Wednesday and Friday (no status listed for Thursday) despite having a shoulder injury. The team seems to think he will be able to play though if needed to fill in for Jason Kelce.
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Kevin McGuire covers college football for Examiner.com and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow him on Twitter (@KevinOnCFB). His work can be found on Examiner.com.