Bay of Pain: Philadelphia Eagles Lose Jamaal Jackson, Leonard Weaver for Season?

Lou DiPietroAnalyst ISeptember 12, 2010

PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 08:  Leonard Weaver #43 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs the ball against the Dallas Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field on November 8, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Michael Vick almost led a heroic second half comeback for the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, but in the end, the Birds succumbed to the Green Bay Packers 27-20 in the 2010 opener.

Unfortunately, the loss on the field was just one of many for Philly on Sunday and is probably the easiest for the team to swallow going forward.

That's because in the loss to Green Bay, the Birds likely lost both starting center Jamaal Jackson and starting fullback Leonard Weaver—the highest paid fullback in NFL history—for the remainder of the season.

Weaver was injured midway through the second quarter on a hit that, according to FOX sideline reporter Pam Oliver, made at least one Eagle nauseous when replayed on the video board. Although the initial diagnosis was just a sprain, NBC Sports is reporting as of Sunday night that Weaver has suffered a torn ACL; if that's true (and it likely is, based on that video), he'll be out for 6-8 months and will be placed on Injured Reserve immediately.

Jackson, recovering from a torn ACL of his own, left the game a few plays later with an apparent elbow injury. Again, NBC Sports is reporting that later tests revealed that Jackson has a torn biceps muscle, an injury which could end his 2010 in the same manner as 2009.

Even with surgery tomorrow, it takes a good two months of physical therapy to regain strength and mobility in your arm after a torn biceps, meaning he’s out until at least Thanksgiving in the best-case scenario, especially since the injury is to his left (snapping) elbow. Even if the Birds knew he could come back before the end of the year, that’s a long time to wait, so Jackson will also likely be headed to IR for the second straight season.

As if that’s not bad enough, both Kevin Kolb and Stewart Bradley left the game with officially diagnosed concussions—meaning that for them to play, they will have to pas not only the tests of the team physicians but also of league-approved independent doctors as well.

While Eagles fans obviously hope both will be able to go as soon as next Sunday, concussions are a crapshoot, and there’s no brighter example of that than former Birds' great Brian Westbrook.

The Birds started the 2010 season with only 11 of the 2009 opening day starters in their same positions, and now it looks as if just one week in the season, they’ll have two to four replacements once again.

On paper, the latter two injuries are easy enough to work around, as is Jackson’s.

Andy Reid has said Kevin Kolb will go against Detroit next Sunday if healthy, but if he's not, he’ll be No. 3, with Michael Vick starting and rookie Mike Kafka moved up to No. 2. Likewise, Omar Gaither, who started at MIKE last season after Bradley was lost for the season, will temporarily step back into the middle if StewBrad is out.

As for Jackson, if and when he goes on IR, A.Q. Shipley will simply be signed off the practice squad. Whether he or Mike McGlynn gets the starting nod this week (and beyond) is on Reid, but McGlynn did do a nice job in relief against Green Bay. No matter what, it definitely won’t be Nick Cole, who is now entrenched at right guard.

But where does that leave Philly’s running back scenario?

Weaver, as I said earlier, is the highest-paid fullback in NFL history and was a 2009 Pro Bowler. He was a vital part of the backfield and will be tough to replace, but the Eagles do have several options.

Chief among them is Martell Mallett, currently on the practice squad. He was impressive in the preseason, and the Birds could opt for a straight four running back alignment with Mallett and Eldra Buckley “playing” the fullback.

They could also sign Garrett Mills off the practice squad, either converting the 235-pound tight end to fullback or moving dual-threat Clay Harbor there.

Looking externally, 2010 sixth-round pick Charles Scott is currently a free agent and could be re-signed. The former LSU bruiser was moved to fullback in the preseason before he was traded to Arizona for Jorrick Calvin and seemed to do okay. He was released by the Cards in their final cuts and is currently on the Giants’ practice squad, so he could return.

No matter who gets the nod, it’s likely that the Birds will move quickly to replace No. 43.

Now if they could only replace that stinker they laid for most of Sunday…