By Kevin McGuire
After being unable to practice all week, the Philadelphia Eagles will be without the services of one of their top defensive players this weekend in Los Angeles. Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox has officially been ruled out of action for Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers. With Cox out of the mix, the Eagles are now fairly shallow on the defensive line going into the West Coast road game.
Cox and Vaeao Both Ruled Out
Cox is being sidelined by a calf injury that has slowed him down. He did not practice with the team this week, and neither did Cox’s primary backup, Destiny Vaeao. Vaeao was also unavailable last week as he works through a wrist injury. With Cox and Vaeao each out, Beau Allen is expected to get the starting nod at the vacant defensive tackle position.
Eagles Thin in the Secondary
The Eagles will also once again be a bit thin in the secondary this week. Cornerback Ronald Darby remains out for a few more weeks with his ankle injury suffered in the season opener. Safeties Corey Graham and Jaylen Watkins will be sidelined this week with hamstring injuries, just as they were a week ago. Neither player participated in any practices this week, so their unavailability this weekend is not surprising.
Rodney McLeod Returns
Fortunately for the Eagles, the secondary will get one body back on the field with the return of safety Rodney McLeod. Though officially listed as questionable for this weekend, McLeod was a full practice participant this week as he comes off a hamstring injury, and the Eagles feel confident he will be good to go on Sunday. With McLeod likely back in action, Chris Maragos will once again be a top backup at the position in addition to focusing on his special teams duties.
One other Eagles player to keep an eye on this weekend might be linebacker Jordan Hicks. Hicks was not limited in practices this week, but he is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game due to an ankle injury. On the offensive side of the football, center Jason Kelce is listed on the injury report with a knee injury that limited him in practice on Wednesday, but he appears to be good to go.
Sproles Out for Season
Earlier in the week, it was learned the Eagles will be without running back Darren Sproles for the rest of the season due to a torn ACL and a broken arm. LeGarrette Blount will remain the primary running back, but the absence of Sproles should lead to more carries and snaps for Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement. Donnel Pumphrey remains buried on the depth chart at the running back position. This week, following the loss of Sproles, the Eagles signed former running back Kenjon Barner to the roster, but he may be used more on punt returns instead of as a running option once he is deemed ready to get on the field.
- LB Jordan Hicks (ankle)
- S McLeod (hamstring)
- DT Fletcher Cox (calf)
- CB Ronald Darby (ankle)
- S Corey Graham (hamstring)
- DT Destiny Vaeao (wrist)
- S Jaylen Watkins (hamstring)