Fletcher Cox was able to go through a full practice on Friday after a week in which he was banged up with a bum ankle. Cox sat out of practice on Wednesday because of the ankle injury and was limited in practice on Thursday before returning to a full practice on Friday. Cox was listed as questionable for this weekend’s game against Washington, and it looks as though he may be available to play on Sunday, which is good news for the Eagles defense.
Pay attention to how Cox handles the work on the defensive line. He is a key part of the defensive front with four sacks this season. Should he have to come out and rest his ankle at any point, that could lead to having to throw rookie Destiny Vaeao out of Washington State into action. Or, if head coach Doug Pederson and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz want to go with a little more experience at the position, Beau Allen could be called on. Allen has three tackles this season.
One defensive player appearing on the depth chart this weekend that may not be as likely to see the field is cornerback Leodis McKelvin. McKelvin is working through a hamstring injury, which also has a way of slowing a player down. The Eagles have been cautious with him this week in practices, with McKelvin not participating in practices on Wednesday or Thursday. He did return to the practice field on Friday, but he did so in a limited role. McKelvin has missed two games this season already due to the nagging hamstring injury. He returned to the field last week in Detroit, but his time was limited before re-aggravating his injury.
With McKelvin not likely to play, Jalen Mills will get a chance to play some more. Mills has 18 tackles this season and has been primarily filling in for the injured McKelvin.
Running back Ryan Mathews did not practice on Friday due to illness, Pederson explained. The good news is Mathews is not expected to miss playing time on Sunday, unless his illness lingers and holds him back. Players get sick all the time, so this is hardly something major to be concerned about for the Eagles offense. Mathews will be itching to get back on the field, in all likelihood, because it was his fumble on Sunday that helped lead to a loss in Detroit last week.
Should the Eagles not be able to rely on Mathews as much as the offense would prefer, that could mean more reps for Kenjon Barner or Wendell Smallwood. Pederson may not have much reason to change his offensive game plan regardless of Mathews’ availability and health.
- Fletcher Cox, DT (ankle)
- Leodis McKelvin, CB (hamstring)