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By Joseph Santoliquito
Philadelphia, PA (CBS) — The Arizona Cardinals are 2-0 and much of that is because of their defense, and their defensive front that has seven sacks through the first two games this season.
Stopping them behind a revamped offensive line was the Eagles’ priority Wednesday as they prepared to visit the 2-0 Cardinals and their 3-4 defensive front of ends Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett and nose tackle Dan Williams.
“They have seven sacks in two games,” Eagles’ coach Andy Reid said. “They’re right up at the top in sacks in the league. They have a great pressure package is what they have. They’ll bring one or two extra guys. They do a lot of fire zone things, very similar to what [Pittsburgh defensive coordinator] Dick LeBeau did. I’m sure [Cardinals defensive coordinator] Ray [Horton] is probably getting tired of hearing that; it’s really what Ray does, but he came from that system and they’re doing it well. They have a lot of confidence and they have a lot of good athletes.”
Dallas Reynolds will replace Jason Kelce for the remainder of the season and Demetress Bell will likely be asked to step in for King Dunlap, who left Sunday’s 24-23 victory over Baltimore with a strained left hamstring.
Reid feels Reynolds will be prepared for the Cardinals’ quick, aggressive front.
“One of the things [offensive line coach] Howard [Mudd] has done is he’s given them opportunities to get in there during practice and literally practice with the ones,” Reid said. “Both [Reynolds] and [T Demetress] Bell and [T Dennis] Kelly have all done that.
“Once they got into the game, seamless is the word you used. I mean, it worked. I wouldn’t expect any different. He’s got a good player that he’s playing against and we’ll see how he does. I know he’ll be ready to go.”
Dunlap did not practice on Wednesday. Both Bell and Reynolds played well in their time during the Eagles’ second-half push against the Ravens. Bell has shown particular improvement, after losing the starting left tackle job during preseason.
“Listen, I’ve felt like the last two, three weeks here, he’s really got a pretty good grasp of things,” Reid said of Bell. “It looks like he feels more comfortable and that’s an important part of it. This gives him an opportunity to get in and possibly play. We’ll see how it all works with [T] King [Dunlap]. If he gets in, I have full trust that he’s going to do a great job. He’s going to take the practice snaps today and probably tomorrow and a pretty good chance on Friday. So, we’ll see how it all works.”
Injury Update: Dunlap, safety Colt Anderson (knee) and Jeremy Maclin (hip) did not practice on Wednesday. Dunlap is the biggest concern.
“I’d say he’s still sore,” Reid said. “He’s still sore, so we’ll see. I think it will be a stretch for him to make it. But he has made a little improvement in that time.”
Reid Remembers Steve Sabol: Before Andy Reid addressed the media after practice on Wednesday morning, he wanted to comment on the death of NFL Films’ Steve Sabol: “I just wanted to say a word about Steve Sabol. He was a good friend and we’re all going to miss him. What a great complement to the National Football League he was and a tribute to the National Football League that he was. Nobody did it better than him. I know his father is going to miss him dearly, along with the family. My heart goes out to him. He battled a tough battle with that brain cancer and he did it with a lot of pride and dignity. Again, the Philadelphia Eagles, myself, we’re thinking of him.”
Joseph Santoliquito is a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly.