By Kevin McGuire
For the second straight week the top four wide receivers for the Philadelphia Eagles are listed on the official team injury report following a not-so-kind week for injuries in Philadelphia.
Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin has been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the undefeated Arizona Cardinals, who return home after a big early-season win in New England. The Eagles will need their available wide receivers to be able to pull through after the Cardinals allowed 17 first downs through the air last week at New England.
In addition to the continuing depth concerns at receiver, the Eagles are also facing some questions on the offensive line. Center Jason Kelce was placed on the injured reserve list this week following an ACL injury suffered against the Baltimore Ravens. The Eagles moved Dallas Reynolds in to his place in the starting lineup and signed Steve Vallos to fill the extra roster spot on the offensive line. To make things worse on the line, starting tackle King Dunlap was ruled out for the game with a hamstring issue. He did not practice all week for the Eagles.
With two starting offensive linemen out and injury concerns at wide receiver, could this mean Andy Reid will shift his game plan a bit to focus more on the running game? If the past decade plus is any indication, probably not, but it will be critical to ensure quarterback Mike Vick is protected. Arizona’s defense already has seven sacks this season, third most in the NFL after two weeks.
Here is a rundown on the official Eagles injury updates:
Jeremy Maclin, Wide Receiver – Maclin did not practice on Wednesday or Friday, and thus was ruled out for this weekend’s game with his hip pointer injury still bothering him. Rookie Damarias Johnson could get the start in his place this weekend, with Jason Avant also considered an option if his wrist is not bothering him. Mardy Gilyard will be a worst-case scenario receiver but could see some minor playing time if needed.
Riley Cooper, Wide Receiver – Riley Cooper continues to work his way back on to the field as he heals his collarbone injury from training camp. The good news for the Eagles is Cooper was practicing this week, in limited fashion, and he continues to hope to get back to active status soon, perhaps even next week.
King Dunlap, Offensive Tackle – Offensive tackle King Dunlap did not practice at all this week while dealing with a hamstring concern. Demetress Bell will move up a spot on the depth chart for this weekend’s game and will be tasked with trying to slow down Arizona’s quality pass rush and protect Vick.
Wide receivers DeSean Jackson (hamstring) and Jason Avant (wrist) were able to participate in practices this week. Avant was reported to be active for full practices all week while Jackson was limited Wednesday and fully active in Thursday and Friday practices. With Maclin not available this weekend that should make Jackson the clear go-to wide receiver. Whether Avant starts or not on the other side of the field may not be a real concern, because he should still see plenty of plays on Sunday.
On the defensive side of the football, safety Colt Anderson looks to be ready to contribute if needed. Anderson’s knee injury has not kept him out of practices late this week, with the safety participating in full practices Thursday and Friday. Anderson remains second on the team’s depth chart behind Kurt Coleman. Corner back Curtis Marsh also should be good to go in a second-string role this weekend despite a hamstring injury. Marsh was involved in full practices all week and will continue to back up Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on Sunday.
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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.