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Eagles Shuffle Secondary, Stabilize Offensive Line Vs. Chiefs

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By Kevin McGuire

The Philadelphia Eagles will have all of their players available for Thursday night’s home game at Lincoln Financial Field against the Kansas City Chiefs. Well, sort of. On Wednesday, one day before playing their third game in 11 days, the Eagles placed corner back Brandon Hughes on the short-term injured reserve list with a hamstring injury. To fill his vacant roster spot the Eagles added Roc Carmichael, who had previously been listed on the practice squad for the Houston Texans. As for the rest of the team, players appear to be ready to go for the third game of the season against former Eagles head coach Andy Reid.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 15: Wide receiver DeSean Jackson #10 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates with teammate Riley Cooper #14 after scoring a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles in the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on September 15, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The San Diego Chargers won, 33-30. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Riley Cooper #14 and DeSean Jackson #10 (Credit, Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The Defense

It is not expected Carmichael will slide in to the mix right away in the Eagles secondary, but the Eagles will look forward to getting Bradley Fletcher back on the field. Fletcher sat out Sunday’s game against San Diego as he recovered from symptoms of a concussion, but he did participate in full practices with the team this week. The secondary was a sore spot for the Eagles in week two’s loss to the Chargers, but injuries were not to blame. No matter who lines up in the defensive backfield, coverage and tackling must improve this week. Perhaps having Fletcher back will help some, but look for players like Brandon Boykin and Earl Wolff to get their chances to make some things happen as well. Boykin is playing through a quadriceps injury but has participated in full practices this week.

Staying on the defensive side of the football, starting inside linebacker Mychal Kendricks is bothered by a mild groin injury, but is listed as probable for Thursday night. Kendricks did take part in full practices this week, but if the groin injury acts up his movement could be bothered on the field. In the 3-4 defense, the Eagles have options at linebacker but would be hurt by losing any one player. If Kendricks were to become unavailable, Casey Matthews or Jake Knott would likely be used in his place.

The Offense

The offensive line will throw offensive tackle Dennis Kelly back on the line Thursday night. Kelly sat out Sunday’s game against San Diego with a back injury but was hoping to be on track to play Thursday night. After being limited in practice last week, Kelly was available for full practices this week and is listed as probable. With Kelly available, look for him to return to the starting line up and Todd Herremans to move back to the second team. Center Jason Kelce has a mild thumb injury but it is nothing to be too concerned about heading in to Thursday night. Kelce was available for full practices this week, so the starting offensive line will be ready to take the field Thursday night.

Tight end Brent Celek has a shoulder injury but that has not held him out of practices. Celek should still get his usual start after taking part in full practices this week. If Celek is a little banged up though, rookie Zach Ertz appears to be making strides in contributing on offense in short time. If Celek needs a break, Ertz should be the top option.

Probable

CB Brandon Boykin (quadriceps)

TE Brent Celek (shoulder)

CB Bradley Fletcher (concussion)

C Jason Kelce (thumb)

OT Dennis Kelly (back)

LB Mychal Kendricks (groin)

Out

Bradley Hughes (hamstring) – added to injured reserve

For more Eagles news and updates, visit Eagles Central.

Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on Examiner.com.