By Ed Benkin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Even with Aaron Rodgers sidelined, the Eagles are preparing for a difficult test on Sunday.
The Eagles will face a Packers’ squad without their starting quarterback, but the Birds clearly are not taking Green Bay lightly. With Rodgers out with a broken collarbone, Chip Kelly expects to see a lot from the running back tandem of Eddie Lacy and James Starks.
“They’re two really big backs,” said Kelly. “They’re downhill runners and they’re physical, and it’s going to take a lot of guys to get them down. Very, very rarely is one guy getting to them. They’re running through arm tackles. I think you’ve got to get eleven guys to the ball. They made a concerted effort even before Aaron got hurt to run the ball, and they had been running the ball pretty effectively before Aaron got hurt.”
Linebacker DeMeco Ryans also expects the Packers to run the football, buy added backup quarterback Seneca Wallace has already proven he can be successful in the NFL.
“No week is easy,” said Ryans said. “Seneca has been in the league a long time. He’s a veteran quarterback and he’s played in a West Coast offense before.”
It’s hard for the Eagles to downplay the difference between Rodgers and Wallace, but Linebacker Trent Cole says there is an unknown with Wallace stepping in for Rodgers. Cole also understands Wallace’s height could be a factor.
“I don’t think they’re going to change much,” said Cole. “He needs to get out of the pocket because he’s short. He’s going to have to get outside to see downfield, and that could give us an advantage as far as turnovers.”
On the other side of the ball, the Packers are ranked fifth in the NFL in run defense. Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson knows he and his fellow lineman will have their hands full on Sunday.
“They’ve got a bunch of big guys in the middle,” Johnson said. “They have some injuries, but they are really athletic up front. Their big guys and outside linebackers are tough.”
Wide Receiver Riley Cooper was back at practice on Wednesday after missing Tuesday’s practice with an illness.