PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis said on Sunday that linebacker Kiko Alonzo is fine and is still undergoing the concussion protocol after sustaining the injury on Tuesday. Davis also touched on the Eagles new depth at inside linebacker, DeMeco Ryans ongoing recovery from last year’s torn Achilles injury, and the continuing progress of Nolan Carroll.
“I don’t think I’ve been through a training camp as a linebacker where the inside linebacker doesn’t get thin at some point,” Davis said. “I don’t know what it is about training camps. That happens. It’s nice to have the depth that we have. We also have a nice little pattern going both inside and outside linebackers. Whenever we get a little light at practice, we’ll just move a guy.”
Brad Jones and Brandon Hepburn are two linebackers that have gone both inside and outside. Emmanuel Acho has also been flexed inside and outside. Hepburn has been primarily outside, and with Travis Long gone for the season, outside linebacker depth is thinner. Davis said he would prefer to have four outside linebackers going into games this year.
“The rotation now gives guys a lot of reps. It helps them and it helps us, where the talent level is equal enough and there’s no dropoff,” Davis said. “I really like where DeMeco is. He’s out there getting team reps and 7-on-7 reps, and that’s really where you need to grow. He’s such a professional. He knows how to practice and still come back from an injury without going backwards without having something else give out on him. He still has a ways to go.
“I think the young guys [on the defensive line] haven’t got as much press as you would think. Our young defensive linemen and our second-year defensive linemen have really taken some big strides and I’m anxious to see them Sunday against the Colts.”
Davis said the Eagles will start breaking down the first and second teams after their second preseason game going into Green Bay. The Eagles, according to Davis, have gotten in 500 reps after the first week. He said there will be another 500 to 600 reps.
“My philosophy in the preseason is that’s the only time in the NFL that we can truly grow the young guys,” Davis said. “They get defensive reps and get to communicate with each other, and then the regular season starts. All of a sudden, week eight nine and 10, injuries pile up, it’s tougher for them to fill in a hole to get you through a game. The growth of the bottom of the roster is important.”
Davis has admitted earlier that he should have used Carroll more last year.
“Nolan Carroll took a huge step,” Davis said. “This is different than other places. Everyone kind of checks it out, and then they dive in. Nolan has completely bought in. He did a great job of learning the dime position. I liked him last year, I like him this year.”