For Week Six, the Eagles inactives due to injury are Jason Peters, Brodrick Bunkley, Riley Cooper and Michael Vick (third QB). The rest include Clay Harbor, Trevard Lindley, Keenan Clayton and the newly-acquired Jerome Harrison.
But that's not the intriguing part. Most of those guys have either been inactive all season long or were expected to be inactive this week due to injury. The interesting part is looking at who is active today and could see time because of the amount of guys injured for this week's game.
For instance, Joique Bell will see time because Harrison is inactive. Daniel Te'o-Nesheim will see time because of the injury to Bunkley, and Austin Howard—the undrafted left tackle—is dressed and ready to go should something happen to King Dunlap.
Bell is active for his first NFL game and immediately becomes the backup to LeSean McCoy.
Eldra Buckley is likely listed as the official backup, but the team clearly views him as a special teams player and will likely give Bell at least a handful of carries. We obviously haven't seen a whole lot of the kid, but Buffalo was ready to revolt when they heard he was on the move.
Of course, Buffalo hasn't exactly been a hotbed of talent, but this Bell has to be a quick improvement over the Bell the Eagles had last week.
And don't be alarmed that Harrison is benched this week. It was unlikely that he would be able to pick up the offense in only a few days and have the coaching staff comfortable enough with him to put him on the field. Bell, on the other hand, has been learning the system for a few weeks now and should be good to go at this point.
Te'o-Nesheim, the Eagles' third-round pick, is also active for his first NFL game. He has been a monstrous disappointment to this point, but Andy Reid said he felt comfortable activating Te'o-Nesheim if the move was necessary, and obviously he wasn't kidding.
This is the move the Birds are making in lieu of promoting Jeff Owens from the practice squad or signing a veteran guy while Bunkley takes his time to recover. It's likely Bunkley could be back next week, so this is the most logical step rather than making a bunch of roster moves just to bring in someone to play for a week or two.
Te'o-Nesheim was touted as the "Darren Howard" type of slash defensive lineman, so I guess we'll see that on full display. Te'o-Nesheim will likely kick inside on obvious passing downs, and Antonio Dixon and Trevor Laws will rotate on other downs.
Expectations are high for this third-round pick, but to date, he hasn't given anyone a reason to believe he's anything but another Bryan Smith.
Austin Howard (everyone should be seeing a theme here) will also be active for his very first NFL game. If these three guys aren't a testament to the youth movement in Philadelphia, I'm not sure what is.
Howard astounded me at training camp. He was running with the third team for a while, and time after time he was man-handling guys from the first and second team. Everyone on the sidelines was forced to pull out their handy "Who Am I?" card and find out his name and where he came from.
Play after play his form was great, his technique was good, and the power was obvious. He could control defensive tackles, ends and linebackers at will. He had a couple of rookie moments, but they were definitely few and far between.
He was so good that a lot of people thought he should be the starter coming into Week Six. I'm not sure about that; I might be on board just because Dunlap makes me very nervous, but it shows the type of impact he made in the offseason.
While these guys are getting a great opportunity this week, it does show that there are a lot of pieces missing for this team. Most of the injured players are expected back next week, but getting through the NFC's best team (at this point) without some main pieces is going to be very difficult to say the least.
Well, we're about a half-hour from kickoff as I write this, so it's about time to continue jumping between pregame shows before the surround sound kicks on and the Eagles give my young heart its fifth heart attack of the season.
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