The Philadelphia Eagles' official injury report hit my inbox Friday, and the first thing I noticed was that Nick Cole did not practice. He is listed as probable (as are a handful of other guys), but it's never good when you're held out of the last real day of practice as Saturdays are usually nothing more than a walk-through.
"(Cole has) a little knee inflammation so I kept him off the turf today," head coach Andy Reid told the media Friday. :We still have him listed as probable and he did practice the last couple of days, but I just thought it was best to keep him out of there."
Reggie Wells, the newly-acquired guard from the Arizona Cardinals, took all the first-team reps on Friday and could be the guy to the right of Mike McGlynn on Sunday.
Reid did not trade for Wells so he could be a backup. He traded for him because Wells has a lot of starting experience and Cole is not a starter.
Cole has no feet and he's not good at picking up the blitz—two things that will absolutely destroy a pass-first team. He will take his first kick-step, but then his feet stop moving and he just begins lunging at guys.
At only six feet tall, Cole doesn't have the arm length to reach for guys successfully. Todd Herremans, at 6'6", can get away with that from time to time, but Cole has no chance to be a successful pass-blocker if he's not willing to use his feet.
Wells, on the other hand, has shown he's a more than capable pass-blocker and an overall better player than Cole. Reid recognizes that, and he will do everything he can to find an excuse to see how far along Wells really is with the playbook this week.
Cole will likely dress as the primary backup along the interior, but I would actually be surprised if he starts the game.
There will probably be a couple problems with the line calls due to the lack of continuity with Wells getting thrown in there, but there's no better time than now to work those things out.
Wells will eventually be the starter anyway—they're playing a subpar defense in the Jacksonville Jaguars, and it's already Week 3. Waiting any longer to insert Wells could prove to be a big mistake, so I think Reid is setting himself up for a reason to toss Wells in as the starter.
And if he doesn't play as well as Reid would like, he has an easy excuse to reinsert Cole in Week 4 simply by saying he's coming back from injury. Reid, as always, is covering himself just in case things don't go the way he has them planned.
I don't expect that to be necessary, however. Wells is the better player, and having him in the lineup will show that immediately. We'll see a lot less pressure coming up the middle from the 'A' gaps which will allow Michael Vick to stand in the pocket a little longer and give him extra time to find his receivers.
Cole is the weak link on that offensive line, and with him on the bench that will become obvious.