PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The NFL is as much about staying healthy as it is executing on game days. The Eagles are getting an early taste of health issues on defense.
Last week, the Eagles beat the Giants despite having four key members of their secondary sidelined. During the game, the Eagles lost Linebacker Jordan Hicks and Defensive Tackle Fletcher Cox to injuries.
As the team prepares to head to the west coast, questions remain as to who will be in the lineup. One player who is expected to be back is McLeod, who appears to have completely recovered from a hamstring injury.
“I believe I’m 100 percent ready,” said McLeod. “I’ve been doing the treatments and the exercises. I’ve been doing everything. I’ve been literally bringing the training room home and just trying to get better and get out there for my team, but also being smart.”
Other Eagles may not be as fortunate. Hicks did return to practice this week and appears ready to go, but Cox is likely to miss Sunday’s game in Los Angeles.
Defensive Backs Corey Graham and Jaylen Watkins have also missed practice throughout the week and will likely be sidelined for the second straight week.
Meanwhile, McLeod will be happy to trade in his role of cheerleader last week to get back in the secondary.
“I was the same way I am on the field,” McLeod said. I was passionate and I was screaming my butt off. I was just trying to help those guys out in any way. That was my role that game.”
The loss of Cox could be particularly damaging as one of the best defensive lineman in the game will be unable to take the field. The Eagles’ front four has been dominating at times this season with Cox playing the role of the anchor in the middle.
For Defensive End Brandon Graham, the loss of Cox would mean the likes of himself and Defensive Tackle Tim Jernigan will have to raise their game to a higher level.
“It’s going to be big,” Graham said. “Me and Fletch have fun on our side. We’ve got good chemistry together and me and Timmy have been doing really good. If you’re on the same page with your tackle and your end on either side, you’re going to be good.”
Beau Allen will likely start in place of Cox. The defensive tackle got a late start to the preseason due to an injury, but was pressed into regular season duty last week when Cox was injured.
It would be too much to ask for Allen or any other replacement to fill the shoes of Cox, but Allen is focused on doing his part to slow down Quarterback Phillip Rivers and the Los Angeles Offense.
“There are a lot of different things you can do,” Allen said. “At the end of the day, you’ve got to get him off his timing. There’s a lot of different stuff that we can do. We’re just going to have to wait and see just like the Chargers.”