Eagles Fans Should See the Injury Bug As Opportunity, Not Calamity

Lou DiPietroAnalyst IAugust 10, 2009

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 18:  Tight end Brent Celek #87 of the Philadelphia Eagles catches a six-yard touchdown in the third quarter during the NFC championship game against the Arizona Cardinals on January 18, 2009 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Last week, I told Eagles fans not to panic just because Stewart Bradley tore his ACL and was lost for the year.

And even though it seems as if a rash of injuries has befallen the Eagles since then, it’s still not time to panic. Instead, look at it as an opportunity for some new faces to shine.

At tight end, the loss of Cornelius Ingram to a torn ACL hurts. Having seen him at Florida, I can tell you that he would’ve been a great weapon for Donovan McNabb.

So now, behind Brent Celek, what you might see is an injured, ineffective veteran (Matt Schobel), a second-year man coming off a major injury (Rob Myers) and a rookie trying to convert from defensive end (Eugene Bright).

You know what I see? I see a position that’s okay.

For one, Celek has emerged and is a top 15 tight end,which may not seem like much at a position where most teams are lucky to have a capable starter, but he’s an important weapon. And besides, no one knew who HE was when he was second on the depth chart behind LJ Smith.

Behind that, yes, Schobel is hurt, but he’s a former NFL starter, a good blocker and a veteran who knows how to get the job done. And sure, Bright and Myers may be raw and untested, but having to be the second on the depth chart for the first preseason game will give them more of a chance to develop than any training camp drill ever would.

They also have Leonard Weaver, a fullback, who has volunteered to take reps at tight end since the Eagles don’t use a fullback much anyway. So at tight end, the Eagles are fine.

Defensive end Trent Cole’s sprained shoulder won’t kill the Eagles, either. He’s entrenched as the starter on the right side anyway, so as long as he can work himself into game shape by Sept. 13, he’ll be fine.

What his absence will do, however, is let Chris Clemons, Juqua Parker, Bryan Smith and Darren Howard show why they belong on the team. I say those four because somehow, Victor Abiamiri is listed at the top of the official depth chart at LDE.

But all of them will see significant action in the Eagles’ defensive line rotation, so the more reps they can get now the better.

And no, Eagles fans, even Kevin Kolb’s sprained knee won’t be a death knell.

Okay, so yes, it’s humorous that the Eagles had to sign Matt Nagy—who had been working as a coaching intern—to a contract to have three QBs heading into Thursday night.

But last I checked, teams only play one QB at a time—well, most teams, anyway—and the Birds’ top signal caller is still Donovan McNabb.

Not only that, but the de facto second stringer, A.J. Feeley, is a tenured Eagles veteran who, if you want to get technical, once quarterbacked the Birds to the playoffs.

And if you didn’t do your homework, you wouldn’t know that Nagy isn’t just an intern—he’s a former Arena League QB that was a third-team All-American at the University of Delaware. Not exactly the ball boy getting thrown out there.

Yes, it hurts Kolb’s development—man, that was hard to write with a straight face—but with McNabb and Feeley on the team, he’ll have plenty of time to catch up.

So again, the Eagles will be fine. At all three positions, and at receiver (where DeSean Jackson tweaked his knee but returned to practice within a day) and on the right side of the offensive line—where Shawn Andrews has been MIA due to a pulled back muscle—because of the versatility of Stacy Andrews and the experience of Nick Cole and Max-Jean Gilles.

Remember folks, it’s still the preseason. Exhibition games haven’t even begun yet.

At least wait for someone else to tear their ACL on Thursday before you panic.