Philadelphia Eagles: Ellis Hobbs Injured, Not Demoted Due to Performance

Bob CunninghamSenior Analyst INovember 3, 2010

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 24:  Kenny Britt #18 of the Tennessee Titans catches a touchdown pass while defended by Ellis Hobbs #31 of the Philadelphia Eagles during the NFL game at LP Field on October 24, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans won 37-19.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Anyone watching the Eagles-Titans Week 7 game—with or without a medical degree—could tell Ellis Hobbs was injured. His change of direction was that of the Tin Man pre-Dorothy and the physicality with which he usually plays was nowhere to be found.

What we didn't know, however, was that Hobbs has apparently been playing through a hip injury for some time. He claims he didn't tell the coaches or the media anything about it because he didn't think it was a big deal but, after getting torn apart against Tennessee, realized that it's clearly impeding his play.

That realization led him to disclose his injury to the team and led to a doctor's visit. What exactly the doctor told him hasn't been disclosed, but Hobbs describes himself as "day to day" even though head coach Andy Reid has said Hobbs will "struggle to get to the game."

Right now, I'm torn on what to think about Hobbs. I certainly understand and respect playing through an injury to help the team, but I also believe there's a point at which that player is hurting the team—and Hobbs clearly crossed that point.

Every player is going to believe his presence on the field gives his team the best chance to win because that's the mentality it takes to get to the NFL in the first place. But that is where the coach is supposed to come in. He gets paid to decide who plays and who doesn't and, along with the help of the team doctors, decides whether or not an injured player should play or not.

But Hobbs took that ability away from Reid when he decided not to even disclose the injury. Had Reid known about the severity of the injury, there's a good chance they would have A) not played him at all, or B) been more aware of the injury and replaced him at halftime or so of the Titans game.

That alone might have been enough to prevent Kenny Britt's huge day and could have given the Eagles offense a chance to pull out the win at the end of the game.

It appears as though Hobbs is definitely out for the Eagles Week 9 game against the Indianapolis Colts, which means the team will be going in at less than full strength against the best quarterback in the league and an impressive young group of receivers.

All in all, it smells like the makings of a disaster.

It will, however, tell us if Reid was being sincere when he said Patterson being inserted into the starting role was due to Hobbs' injury and not a performance-based demotion. The old adage says a player can't lose his spot due to injury, but Kevin Kolb would beg to differ.

Reid has shown he won't hesitate to go with the hot hand, so if Patterson has a miraculous game and is able to shut down Reggie Wayne (who he'll likely be covering along with free safety Nate Allen) it's likely he could be the starter until he falters.

Which, come to think of it, could be why Hobbs was hesitant to disclose his injury in the first place.